Monty Making His Masters Push

By Golf Channel NewsroomMarch 14, 2005, 5:00 pm
European TourThe European Tour, along with Scotland's Colin Montgomerie, head back into China for the inaugural TCL Classic, the third of five events the nation will host this season.
 
Although the event has been played before in China, this marks the first year it will be co-sanctioned by both the European Tour and the Asian PGA Tour. Montgomerie has already notched a title here in 2002, though it was prior to the event being a part of the European Tour.
 
Montgomerie, who currently resides in the 14th spot on the tour's Order of Merit list, is hoping for a repeat of his 2002 performance here as he makes his final push to make the field for both PGA Tour's Players Championship and The Masters, an event he has played in the every year since 1992.
 
Monty at the moment finds himself on the outside looking in for entry into both the TPC at Sawgrass and Augusta. Ranked 56th in the world, the 41-year-old Scotsman needs to crack the top 50 in order to make it into either field and feels his recent play has got him back into that position.
 
'I'm very excited about my form. I feel if I get into the field I have a good chance as I have in the last 20 years of winning either TPC or the Masters,' said Montgomerie. 'Scoring the best score of the day in Riviera (Nissan Open) has given me huge confidence and that's the lowest score (64) I've ever had in the States.'
 
Monty, who went through a well-publicized divorce last year as well as enduring a tough year on the course, has indeed started the 2005 season well. He had a runner-up finish in late January at the Heineken Classic and placed fourth in the Dubai Desert Classic two weeks ago.
 
'The last four events have been super, and as I say, go from there and go to TCL and try to get some more points. It's given me huge confidence to build on and I look forward to trying if I can get in, obviously, and competing,' said Monty on his suddenly enticing prospects. 'So that's the first thing, I have to get in the bloody thing. So if I'm in the TPC, hopefully I'll get in the Masters, but TPC is the first goal.
 
'I think I'm more relaxed than I ever have been,' continued the 7-time Order of Merit winner. 'I think my back is better than it's ever been, and I have confidence with Alastair on the back of the bag with the way we work, and I'm happy, actually.'
 
Also joining Montgomerie in the field is 2006 European Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam, Thomas Bjorn, Michael Campbell and Paul Casey.
 
Casey, who has come under intense scrutiny after some disparaging remarks about America in the past several months, has had a rough start thus far in 2005. He missed the cut in two of his first three PGA Tour events in addition to pulling out of two others.
 
He did, however, have a strong showing at the Ford Championship at Doral, finishing in a tie for 16th.
 
The purse for the TCL Classic is $1 million and will be played at the Yalong Bay Golf Club in Sanya on Hainan Island, China.
 
China has already hosted the Volvo China Open and the Omega Hong Kong Open, won by Stephen Dodd and Miguel Angel Jimenez respectively. The BMW Asian Open and the Johnnie Walker Classic will be contested in the upcoming months.
 
The Madeira Island Open was originally scheduled to be played this week but was moved back to April 7-10 to make room for this event.
 
Related links:
  • TGC Airtimes

  • Full Coverage - TCL Classic
  • Getty Images

    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

    Getty Images

    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

    Getty Images

    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

    Getty Images

    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.