Monty Ready to Lead Team

By Mercer BaggsSeptember 25, 2002, 4:00 pm
SUTTON COLDFIELD, England ' Three years and over 3,000 miles removed from Brookline, Mass., the sounds are as clear as ever.
He can still hear the taunts, the jeers; the personal degradations that drove his father out of the gallery, but drove him exceed his expectations.
Colin Montgomerie has long been the target of American insults. Its a cycle. People push, he complains. Then they push harder. And sometimes a push isnt even needed.
But even his most staunch of opponents cringe at the way the robust, but thin-skinned Scot was treated in the last Ryder Cup.
Unruly American fans heckled Montgomerie incessantly over those three days of competition. He responded, not by trading verbal jabs, but by winning 3 points for his team.
When Im in that position, I fight like I never have before, I suppose, he said Wednesday. I holed putts I wouldnt normally have.
The more that was said, the better I became.
Not all of his Brookline memories are negative, however. Montgomerie recalled his Sunday singles match against the late Payne Stewart, when, after the U.S. had clinched victory, Stewart forfeited a chance at a halve in his match and awarded Montgomerie the victory.
When he won the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, the first thing he said was he was thrilled to be on the Ryder Cup team, Montgomerie said. It meant so much to him to represent his country. And to have drawn against me, if you like, of all people, in the singles match was ' Im sure that it hurt his game, as well as it did my own.
And it was a shame the way it finished. Hed had enough; Id had enough, and he picked my ball up at the last, Ill never forget that.
This week is Montgomerie's sixth tenure as a European Ryder Cupper, but his first in nearly a decade that he hasnt been his teams top player.
The 39-year-old has yet to win anywhere around the world in 2002; he has multiple European Tour victories each of the last nine years. Hes dropped to 17th in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Some of his problems have been physical. A bad back has twice forced him to withdraw from a tournament; it almost cost him a chance to compete this week.
There have been times over the last two months where I really thought I wasnt going to ' I was going to have to take the rest of the year off. There were times I didnt think I was going to play, he said.
But play he will, and likely in all five matches. Montgomerie has played in every match each of the past four Ryder Cups. He has a career record of 12-7-4, going 3-0-2 in the singles.
I like match play; I like a one-on-one situation, he said. I like to see my opponent playing alongside me as opposed to 150 other guys spread all over the course. I prefer that idea.
Over the first two practice days, Montgomerie has been paired with Englishman Lee Westwood. Westwood usurped the Scot at the top of the Order of Merit (money list) in 2000, ending his seven-year reign as Europes best.
But the 29-year-old from Worksop has fallen on hard times over the last two years. Winless since 2000, he has dropped from fifth to 148th in the world rankings.
Lee Westwood has played very, very well the last two days, and hes very confident and I would take him as a partner. Id be very happy to have him as a partner, Montgomerie said.
Ive had a few battles with him over the years in European tournaments, and I can vouch for him in a strong way.
Montgomerie is one of only two players (Bernhard Langer) who competed in the last Ryder Cup at The Belfry, in 1993. And with four first-timers on the team, he has taken a leadership role.
Its a nice position to be in, he said. Its a position that I like and thrive on, if you like. Rookies have come up to me already and asked certain questions and certain ideas about whats what.
It might be a little bit frightening to ask certain questions, but they could ask me and I could relate to whatever. So I feel I have that sort of on-course role. Obviously not an off-course role because thats down to the captain.
This Ryder Cup will be different for Montgomerie, a far cry from the last. Jeers will turn into cheers; provocations into praise.
And for the first time in a long time, the No. 1 target is off his back.
The first time since we came here in 93 that I havent had that position when Im playing in the Ryder Cup. And I think it does bring its pressure on, being the No. 1 player in Europe, he said.
If youre expected to do something, its always quite difficult to achieve. Its always putting more pressure on ones self.
And now I dont have that pressure, if you like, and stress, and Im more relaxed because of that.
Coming off a Ryder Cup in which he played his best golf ever in America, and suffered his worst experience at the same time, Montgomerie has plenty of motivation to keep the Cup on the continent.
But if he needs one more bit of inspiration, he need only look to his captain.
'I think it would be nice to sort of finish Sam Torrance's career, if you like,' Montgomerie said. 'It means an awful lot to him. He's a very emotional man, and I know him very well. He's from the same - not just the same country as me, but the same county as me in Scotland.
'It would be nice to finish off his career with a win, for his sake.'
Full coverage of the 34th Ryder Cup Matches
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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

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Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm