Monty Covers the Spectrum of Emotion

By Associated PressJuly 13, 2005, 4:00 pm
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- One moment he's laughing, the next he's pouting. One moment he's choking, the next he's being accused of cheating.
 
When Americans need someone to heckle he's there, and when the British need someone to give them hope and then ultimately fail, he's up to that task, too.
 
Colin Montgomerie
Colin Montgomerie shares a smile during Wednesday's practice round.
Through it all, Colin Montgomerie's life as told through the prism of this country's tabloid writers seems like something out of a strangely cast soap opera. You know, the one with the ruddy faced leading man who gets his woman but inevitably fails with her, too.
 
Montgomerie is at it again this week, stirring hearts among his countrymen even though they know deep down he'll surely break them once again. The Open is back in his native Scotland, and the home fans want to believe.
 
They want to believe when Montgomerie says he's rounding back into form, even as his own form shrinks thanks to a new diet. They want to believe he can win the tournament he so desperately wants even though more cerebral thinkers -- that would be the British bookies -- make him a 60-1 underdog.
 
They want to believe even though Montgomerie pretends he doesn't really know what all the fuss is about.
 
'I don't have a widespread fascination by this event,' he told the press this week. 'You guys seem to do with me.'
 
Yeah, but it's hard not to when Montgomerie does everything but tape a 'kick me' note to his back and invite the tabloids to whale away.
 
Besides, you've got to love good theater, and the Scot provides it at nearly every turn. He does it without really trying because, it turns out, the Open really does mean that much to him.
 
Montgomerie tees off Thursday on the Old Course, trying for the 16th time to win the engraved claret jug they give to Open winners. He hasn't had much success in his first 15 forays, with only one top 10 finish to show for his efforts.
 
That won't stop the home fans from pleading at every turn, on every green, for their man to finally triumph even against long odds.
 
'C'mon Monty,' they'll call out. 'Go Monty. Go.'
 
It won't help. Their Monty may tease them, like he did with a pair of 69s to open with last year at Royal Troon, or the 65 he shot four years ago for the early lead at Royal Lytham.
 
But reality will eventually set in, as it always does, and he'll either fade or spectacularly implode like he did three years ago at Muirfield when he followed a second round 64 with a third round 84. Indeed, while Montgomerie's record in the Open may be miserable, some of the moments are memorable.
 
Some are even comical, like when he injured himself in a fall two years ago on his way to breakfast before the first round and quit after scoring 4-over for the first seven holes.
 
Staying upright can be tough, of course, when you're always carrying baggage.
 
It 1997 it was the expectations of one of the game's top players returning to the course where he honed his game at Royal Troon, only to shoot himself out of it with a 76 in the opening round.
 
Last year, it was the nastiness of a very public divorce that Montgomerie had to face questions about at every turn. And this year, it's the allegation that he cheated to make the cut at a European Tour event in Indonesia.
 
The divorce is now final and Montgomerie tried to distance himself from the cheating allegation again this week, saying it had been 'put to bed months ago.'
 
But, for those who missed it, let's recap.
 
Montgomerie failed to mark his ball during a rain delay in the second round of the Indonesian Open, then replaced his ball the next morning in a better position. Weeks later, after some other players made a fuss about it, he conceded it was a bad drop and donated his $40,000 prize money to tsunami relief.
 
Montgomerie ended up shooting 60 in the final round, which was just enough to move him up in the world rankings and get him an invite to the U.S. Open.
 
Even the dubious invite couldn't help Montgomerie snap a winless streak in major championships that's now at 54. He's 42, hasn't won anywhere this year, and only now seems to be realizing that time is running out.
 
'If I stop here and don't win a major, and the odds are going against it, we have to be realistic here,' Montgomerie said, 'I'll look back on the years I was No. 1 in Europe and the seven Ryder Cups I've played in and think, OK, well, that was quite successful, thank you very much.'
 
To which golf fans could reply, thank you Monty, for at least putting on a show.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - 134th Open Champoinship
  • Daily Photo Gallery
  • Open Championship Trivia Challenge
     
    Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Getty Images

    Rose (64) peaking just ahead of the U.S. Open

    By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 8:40 pm

    A former U.S. Open champion appears to be finding his form just three weeks ahead of the year's second major.

    Justin Rose ascended to the top of the leaderboard Friday at the Fort Worth Invitational, with rounds of 66-64 pushing him to 10 under par for the week.

    Through 36 at Colonial, Rose has marked 12 birdies against just two bogeys.

    "Yeah, I did a lot of good things today," Rose said. "I think, you know, the end of my round got a little scrappy, but until the last three holes it was pretty flawless. I think I hit every fairway pretty much and obviously every green to that point. ...

    "Yeah, the way I played through, I guess through my first 15 holes today, was about as good as I've played in a long time."


    Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

    Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


    Rose won in back-to-back weeks last fall, stunning Dustin Johnson at the WGC-HSBC Championship and riding that victory right into another at the Turkish Airlines Open.

    Now the 2013 U.S. Open winner at Merion feels himself once again rounding into form ahead of this year's Open at Shinnecock. A final-round 66 at The Players gave Rose something to focus on in his recent practice sessions with swing coach Sean Foley, as the two work to shore up the timing of Rose's transition into the downswing.

    As for his decision to tee it up at Colonial for the first time since 2010, "It was more the run of form really," Rose explained. "I feel like if I didn't play here it was going to be a little spotty going into the U.S. Open. I felt like I wanted to play enough golf where I would have a good read on my game going into Shinnecock.

    "So rather than the venue it was more the timing, but it's obviously it's just such a bonus to be on a great layout like this."

    For whatever reason, Rose does tend to play his best golf at iconic venues, having won PGA Tour events at Muirfield Village, Aronimink, Cog Hill, Doral, Merion and Congressional.

    Getty Images

    Koepka (63): Two wrist dislocations in two months

    By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 8:19 pm

    Brook Koepka's journey back from a wrist injury that kept him out four months hasn't been totally smooth sailing, even if his play has suggested otherwise.

    Koepka on Friday fired a 7-under 63 to move up the leaderboard into a tie for third, three shots behind leader Justin Rose through the end of the morning wave at the Fort Worth Invitational.

    After a slow start Thursday saw him play his first 13 holes 3 over, Koepka is 10 under with 11 birdies in his last 23 holes at Colonial.

    "It doesn't matter to me. I could care less. I'm still going to try as hard as I can," Koepka said. "I don't care how many over or how many under I am. Still going to fight through it."


    Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

    Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


    Just like he's been fighting his wrist the last two months or so. Koepka reinjured his wrist the Wednesday of The Players when he was practicing on the range and had to halt mid-swing after a golf cart drove in front of him. He nonetheless managed to finish T-11.

    And that's not the only issue he's had with that wrist during his return.

    "We had a bone pop out of place. I didn't tell anybody, but, yeah, they popped it back in," Koepka admitted Friday. "Luckily enough we kind of popped it back into place right away so it wasn't stiff and I didn't have too, too many problems.

    "Yeah. I mean, I've dislocated my wrist twice in the last two months. You know, different spots, but, I mean, it's fun. I'll be all right."

    Getty Images

    Twitter spat turns into fundraising opportunity

    By Rex HoggardMay 25, 2018, 6:30 pm

    Country music star Jake Owen, along with Brandt Snedeker, has turned a spat on Twitter into a fundraising campaign that will support Snedeker’s foundation.

    On Thursday, Owen was criticized during the opening round of the Web.com Tour’s Nashville Golf Open, which benefits the Snedeker Foundation, for his poor play after opening with an 86.

    In response, Snedeker and country singer Chris Young pledged $5,000 for every birdie that Owen makes on Friday in a campaign called NGO Birdies for Kids

    Although Owen, who is playing the event on a sponsor exemption, doesn’t tee off for Round 2 in Nashville until 2 p.m. (CT), the campaign has already generated interest, with NBC Sports/Golf Channel analyst Peter Jacobsen along with Web.com Tour player Zac Blair both pledging $100 for every birdie Owen makes.

    Getty Images

    Noren so impressed by Rory: 'I'm about to quit golf'

    By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 5:33 pm

    Alex Noren won the BMW PGA Championship last year, one of his nine career European Tour victories.

    He opened his title defense at Wentworth Club in 68-69 and is tied for fourth through two rounds. Unfortunately, he's five back of leader Rory McIlroy. And after playing the first two days alongside McIlroy, Noren, currently ranked 19th in the world, doesn't seem to like his chances of back-to-back wins.

    McIlroy opened in 67 and then shot a bogey-free 65 in second round, which included pars on the pair of par-5 finishing holes. Noren walked away left in awe.

    "That's the best round I've ever seen," Noren said. "I'm about to quit golf, I think."

    Check out the full interview below: