Montgomerie revealed the troubling story in his book, The Real Monty: The Autobiography of Colin Montgomerie. The separation changed him from a man whose life was centered totally on golf to the person he is today, focused on family first and career second.
Montgomerie describes himself as a selfish man as he entered 1998, the year of Eimears 30th birthday. There was very little communication between the two of us, he wrote. If Eimear had a problem, I would brush it off with a suggestion that we deal with it later, maybe after the end of that week's tournament. I loathed anything in the way of confrontation.
By May of 2000, the situation had deteriorated dramatically. He tells of the Benson & Hedges tournament when Eimear and the children drove to the Belfry the final day. Montgomerie played poorly and refused to be consoled by any in his family, driving home alone. The following week, Monty asked his wife to return home during the third round of the Volvo PGA, claiming she and the children were a distraction. That was hugely upsetting for her, he remembers.
The breakdown finally came to a head during the week of the British Open. We were unpacking when Eimear broke our silence to draw attention to a dinner invitation we had received from close friends at home. Did I think I would want to go? Montgomerie writes. I said that I was not prepared to think about it. I haven't got a clue, I said, irritated.
A little later, when Eimear dared to broach the subject again and got a similarly unhelpful response, she snapped. Eyeing me with a cold contempt, she announced that she had finally had enough. Golf, she pronounced, had taken over my life to the point where I would do better on my own. The marriage might as well be over. In fact, it was over in her eyes. Having said as much, she walked from the room.
Montgomerie at first felt wronged and self-righteous. He tells of finishing the tournament in a daze, breaking down in tears once on the final day on the 12th green. Shortly thereafter, he moved out of his home and into the Hilton Hotel in the Chelsea Harbor section of London. His first night there, he said, was fitful. As I lay there, the success I had had in golf and such adulation as had come my way suddenly seemed so meaningless, he wrote.
Then began the days in Harrods and the lonely ramblings at night. His tormented existence continued until he took the children for a weekend in the fall. It was full of fatherly things and ended with Eimear sending him a message - 'Thanks for giving them a good time.'
The weekend had worked from another point of view, he said. It was not until I had the three of them to myself for those two days that I began to understand the accusations that Eimear had been leveling at me. I saw then that we had not been like a normal family doing normal things. My contribution was nowhere near what it should have been. She was right in what she had said about golf meaning too much to me.
Eimear and he began exchanging messages on a regular basis. She and the children were to go on vacation over the New Years to Barbados, a trip that had been planned as a family outing before the separation. They did go and Montgomerie was in a state of high anticipation until the phone call came from Eimear, telling him the family had arrived safely.
Montgomerie asked about the welfare of the children. Eimear suddenly answered, 'The children need a father and I need a husband. You'd better get out here.'
That was the invitation he needed. He hurriedly threw some clothes in a suitcase and left London on the spur of the moment. Upon arrival in Barbados, Monty took a cab to the house, walked through the unlocked door and found her and the children on the beach.
It was some moment, and the start of our new life together, he wrote.