Montgomerie didn't need to shoot 84 as he did at last year's Open to knock himself out of contention in the one tournament he is desperate to win. He managed this time by tripping in the rain and hurting his wrist and knees on his way to breakfast Thursday.
His coach advised him not to play, but Montgomerie got in seven holes anyway. That was enough to convince him it wasn't worth it to keep going.
'It is very painful,' he said of his right wrist. 'The rough didn't help and, even on the (driving) range, I was having trouble and they're all flat lies.'
Montgomerie was 4 over when he withdrew, citing a swollen right wrist and bruised knees caused when he tried to break his fall.
The Scot who has carried the weight of British hopes since Nick Faldo's play faded, was driven off the Royal St. George's links for an X-ray while playing partners Brad Faxon and Steve Elkington carried on.
Montgomerie, who was having a miserable year even before he fell, double bogeyed the par-3 sixth just before he quit.
'When I shanked my 3-iron off the tee at the sixth I realized then that I should not continue,' Montgomerie said. 'I tried to hit my second shot and it went about 2 yards because it was so painful to come through the ball.'
He has now played 14 British Opens and failed to make the weekend in six of them.
'Because it was the British Open and because of my competitive nature, I wanted to give it a go,' Montgomerie said. 'It was no good, though. I couldn't strike the ball with any authority.'
Montgomerie was confident going into the Open, even suggesting that he was one of the pre-tournament favorites.
It had been unseasonably warm and dry in the days leading up to the first round, and Montgomerie said he was taken aback when he saw rain while coming out of his hotel.
'I couldn't believe it was raining and, as I looked up, I tripped over a step and fell nastily,' Montgomerie said. 'I just hope it's not broken.'
The sight of Montgomerie dropping out on the opening day was another sad chapter to his grim record at the Open.
His best performance in 13 previous visits was when he tied for eighth at Turnberry in 1994. He gave British fans some hope last year with a second-round 64 at Muirfield, then followed it with an 84 that quickly dashed their hopes.
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