Its Monty Again - Is He Serious This Time

By George WhiteMarch 23, 2004, 5:00 pm
Weve been here before, you know. Colin Montgomerie gets hot for one or two days and wins a tournament in Asia. He will get excited the next week. Then ' poof! ' its gone all the hard work suddenly scratched, the optimism bursts, and hes right back where he started. One has to wonder if his train has already left the station with him still standing on the platform.
 
Sunday, it was in Singapore. Monty started the day at the Caltex Masters four shots off the lead. But then he charged through the ranks with a 65 and won by three. In so doing, he leaped nine places up the World Rankings to a spot inside the top 50, becoming eligible to play in this weeks Players Championship.
 
It sounds a little like the same ol Monty. But ' there are a few eyebrow-arching signs that maybe this isnt the same star-crossed guy. After all, this is the man that has finished in the top 16 in every tournament this year. This is the same man who beat Nick Price and Stewart Cink at the Accenture Match Play event at LaCosta.
 
Montgomerie, of course, led the European Tour in money earned for seven straight seasons in the 90s. Twice he lost in playoffs for major championships, once in the U.S. Open, once in the PGA Championship.
 
But it isnt the 90s anymore. Standout performances in that decade are long gone. Now, at age 40, he has to do it in 2004. Montgomerie noted all this Sunday.
 
This means an awful lot to me - it means confidence. I lost it last year and I have it back now,' he said. 'I know I can do this and I can keep doing this.
 
'I know I am good enough to perform and it's always nice when you prove that to yourself. I hadn't won on the European Tour for almost a year-and-a-half and it's a long time.
 
It was only a month ago, at the Accenture, that he wasnt sure if he ever would see a Monty victory celebration again. So much has happened to him in the last five years. He last won the European money title in 1999. Hes had a series of incidents with boorish fans in America. He has suffered physically with a bad back. He has suffered marital strife. But he has not achieved the same level of play that he last did in 99 when he won the Order of Merit.
 
Yeah, last year was particularly bad, and I dropped out of the league, if you like, he said at LaCosta before the tournament began.
 
Over the last two years ' Im not complaining about it, Im not going, God, I should be higher (than 57th) ' no. I just have to address the situation and do something about it. I think its actually fair. Im about that, unfortunately.
 
Montgomerie was No. 2 or No. 3 in the world behind Greg Norman for much of the mid- to late-90s. He actually had a chance to be No. 1 in the summer of 97 after he won the Irish Open. The following week he played in the Scottish Open in Loch Lomond. Had he won the Scottish and Norman simultaneously missed the cut in America, Monty would have been No. 1.
 
Of course, it didnt happen.
 
He didnt miss the cut, sighed Monty, I didnt win, and the gap widened. And then a Mr. Woods entered the fray, stopped everything.
 
Montgomerie actually has won an event somewhere in the world every year since 1993. Last year it was the Macaw Open. In the world-class arena, he has been competitive mainly in the Ryder Cup. In the 2002 edition, he was unbeaten, posting a 4-0-2 record.
 
Last year the back was a mystifying problem, though. This year he has changed clubs. And all the while, the years kept ticking by, one by one by one
 
The constant world travel that the European Tour subjects one to has taken its toll ' though Monty disputes that. Australia, Asia, South Africa, the Middle East - as well as Europe - are all waypoints which comprise the tour. Montgomerie has played them all, on a yearly basis. So many frequent flier miles does neither the back, nor the golf, any good.
 
For example, since the start of the year, he has been the same old globetrotter, going from South Africa to Malaysia to the Match Play in California to the tournament in Dubai. And from there he continued on to Singapore.
 
But it just wasnt just Dubai-to-Singapore. It was Dubai, THEN to Bahrain for two days of business, then home to London for a day or two, then off to Singapore.
 
And then ' this!
 
This justifies all that trouble. People thought I was mad coming over here. After Dubai, I went home and had to come out here again. It's very warm and I don't seem to mind the heat. It justifies all the trouble of having to travel around the world,' said Montgomerie.
 
He was at it again this week, of course. He spent the night at his home in Surry, England, before continuing to Florida Tuesday for the Players.
 
Is there cause for optimism? Of course there is, he says.
 
Im as ambitious as ever, Monty insists. I still want it as much, and I dont feel the age is a factor. My back is fine now. Theres no worries there. Ive exercised well over the winter months and Im fine in that way, so theres no worries.
 
Montgomerie is ebullient again. His mood is bright now, his worries are gone. Er, for the moment, at least.
 
Email your thoughts to George White

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.

Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan

By Randall MellNovember 23, 2017, 2:54 pm

Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.

Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.

Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:

“Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”

Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.

“When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”

Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.

“Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”

In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.

“Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”

Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.

“The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”

Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.

“Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to GolfChannel.com.

Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:

Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:

Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:

Christina Kim:

LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:

LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:

LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:

LPGA pro Jennie Lee:

Fitzpatrick one back in 2018 Euro Tour opener

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 1:37 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia had six birdies and a bogey Thursday for a 5-under 65 and a one-stroke lead at the Hong Kong Open, the first event of the 2018 European Tour season.

Playing in sunny but breezy conditions at the Hong Kong Golf Club, the greens had the players struggling to gauge the approach.

''Very tough conditions today,'' Chawrasia said. ''It's very firm greens, to be honest. I'm just trying to hit the second shot on the green and trying to make it like a two-putt.''


Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


Shubhankar Sharma and Matthew Fitzpatrick (both 66) were one shot behind, while seven others were tied for fourth a further stroke behind.

''Hit it great tee to green,'' Fitzpatrick said. ''I think I had like seven or eight chances inside 15 feet, and on a day like today when it's so windy and such a tough golf course, with how tight it is, yeah, it was a good day.''

Justin Rose, who won the title in 2015, shot was 2 under with five birdies and three bogeys.

''I think the course played a couple shots harder than it typically does,'' Rose said. ''I like this course. I think it offers plenty of birdie opportunities.''

Masters champion Sergio GarciaRafa Cabrera Bello and defending champion Sam Brazel (69) were in a group of 16 at 1 under.

Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

What it means: Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday.