Monty May Respond to Home Sweet Home

By George WhiteJuly 13, 2004, 4:00 pm
Its been 37 years now since Colin Montgomerie first trundled out to play golf at Royal Troon. He was four years old then, and of course he didnt play on the big layout. He grabbed a little iron and swatted the ball around a childrens course at the club. It was, as Montgomerie said, just holiday golf.
 
The Montgomeries lived in northern England where Colins father, James, was president of Fox Biscuits. But the family had a summer home in Troon, and little Colin would pass the time flailing away while his parents actually played. Life is so simple when youre a sub-teen, you know.
 
Montgomerie is 41 now, a man who plays golf for a living. Colin would win the European Tours money title seven consecutive years. He has known the highest of highs since he started. But this year he has also experienced the lowest of lows ' the breakup of his marriage to wife Eimear. As he met the media at Royal Troon prior to this years edition of the British Open, he says he finally has come to grips with the split.
 
Professionally, though, its been difficult getting back to Troon. Montgomerie had to go through qualifying for the championship for the first time since the beginning of his career.
 
But it was worth it to be here, he said of the qualifying experience at Sunningdale outside London.
 
He isnt the favorite this time around ' far from it. British bookies peg him at 80-to-1. Monty says theyre probably right, although he hopes for a surprise or two. We've had some nonfavorites winning this tournament before, he reminds, so who knows? Who knows?
 
He would seem to have an enormous advantage, playing at the course where his father became secretary (general manager). Montgomerie would move to the town with his family in his teens and live until he went away to America to go to college at Houston Baptist.
 
I've definitely played this course more than anyone else in the field, he said. I'm the only member playing, I think. I don't know how many times one plays a golf course. Hundreds and hundreds of times, I suppose.

Monty wasnt allowed to play the big course until he passed the age restriction at 16. He played the childrens course at Troon, graduated to the shorter Portland course at 12. But when he was old enough to play the tournament course, he was a constant fixture until he left for America.
 
He contemplated sneaking onto the big course, but never had the nerve to try. The secretary at the time, Colin recalls, was a real hard nut. You never break rules around these type of places, and I wasn't prepared to do it either. ... I had to wait until 16 before I was able to play.
 
Montgomerie was 11 when Tom Watson won at Troon. By the time Mark Calcavecchia won here in 1989, Montgomerie was 25 and well into his professional career. After his return from a four-year stint at Houston Baptist, Montgomerie had at first considered going to work for sports-agent giant IMG. However, the job interview was conducted during a round of golf. Monty was 6-under after 10 holes, and the IMG personnel had seen enough.
 
You shouldnt be working for us, they said. We should be working for you.
 
That was in 1987. Montgomerie took their advice and turned pro, and by 89 he was winning tournaments. In 1993 he had advanced to become the leading European Tour money winner, a title he held until 2000.
 
But injuries began to take their toll, and so did an unrelenting personality that left him unable to deal with being runner-up. The quest for perfection finally led to the shattered marriage this year. Montgomerie sank to No. 28 on the European money list last year and this year is still only 27th - a far cry from the golfer who won all those Order of Merits in succession.
 
But maybe he can resurrect something this week on Royal Troon, a course he knows so intimately. He shot 68-69 in Open qualifying June 28, the first decent thing that happened to me on a golf course for a long time. And that was a big day for me and I feel that I've relaxed since then.
 
So, is this the week for a major upset ' Montgomerie as the British Open champion? Monty is OK with the thought ' not just earning a top-10 finish, but carting off the claret jug.
 
The reason I'm here is because I think I can still win, said a resolute Montgomerie. And that's why I'm here. That's why I entered, that's why I qualified - because I feel that I can still win. If I didn't feel that way I wouldn't be here.
 
So although my expectations are lower personally than they were, say, in '97, having been one of the favorites, I still feel deep down there's an opportunity to be here. And that goes for any tournament I enter.
 
Spoken like the pugnacious one. Monty may not be as good as he once was in the 90s, but dont bother trying to tell him. Hes at his old home in Troon, hes out on the golf course, and he finally has a sliver of self-confidence. Whos going to say, You cant?
 
Related Links:
  • TV Airtimes

  • British Open Photo Gallery

  • Full Coverage - 133rd Open Championship
     
    Email your thoughts to George White
  • Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

    Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

    With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

    Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

    The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

    Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

    In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

    Getty Images

    Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

    By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

    After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

     There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.



    It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

    It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

    “The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

    In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.



    Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

    Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

    “You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

    Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.



    Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

    If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

    For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

    Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.



    Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

    While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

    When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

    Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.



    After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

    The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

    That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

    The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

    While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.



    Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

    Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

    “We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

    The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

    Getty Images

    Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

    John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

    That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

    Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

    Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

    Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.


    Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


    Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

    World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

    Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.