NCG meets: The world according to… Colin MontgomerieJanuary 9, 2017 News & Tour
Steve Carroll found the record breaking Order of Merit winner in talkative mood as he discusses the Champions Tour, beating Bernhard Langer and keeping dress codes…
“I think he hasn’t had the exposure that he might have had.
“I can’t see the discipline dropping. If there was one word to describe him, you would say – disciplined. That isn’t going to go away, the ambition isn’t going to go away, the drive and I don’t think his golf game is going to go away either.
“So I have to improve. I have to get to his standard. I can’t be hoping that he comes down to mine. Provided I am healthy, there’s no reason why I can’t be can’t be playing at that level at 59 and 60. In fact, I’d be hoping I would be better than that at 59 and 60. I’d have to say that. Otherwise what’s the point in going on? I’d have to say I am going to improve.’
“We have a certain etiquette of the game and I was in a way sad to see the collared shirt go. Nike have now brought out something that’s collarless and you think ‘hang on a minute, where are we going here?’
“Now the European Tour is allowing shorts in practice rounds and pro-ams and I am not quite sure about that. I am probably speaking (as an) over 50 here so I am probably way off.
“You speak to someone under 20 and you might get a different view. I’d like to see the professionalism and the etiquette of the game sustained. I am not sure about the high-top stuff going on and I don’t think you’d find me (wearing them). Not for me.
“Shirts, obviously tucked in, collars – we have got to keep a certain etiquette of the game otherwise we go down quite a slippery slope eventually. Yes, we want to be trendy and attract but what’s wrong with attracting etiquette?”
“Keith Pelley is looking for ways to try and keep our top Europeans playing in Europe. He’s got the Rolex Series and it is to be seen and proven whether the top Europeans play in those events. He’s hoping that they all come back and play. The trouble is: what happens to the other events? What are they now?
“You have got to be careful what events are Rolex events and what aren’t. He’s trying his damnedest to get top Europeans to play in Europe.
“Matt Fitzpatrick (won the DP World Tour Championship) says ‘Oh well, I’m off to America now.’ Well, hang on a minute. There’s a few others – Thomas Pieters, I believe.
“Beef. He’s a character but he has got to prove it on the golf course as well. He has got to sustain that brand that he has got himself into. It’s not easy to keep the top Europeans in Europe and he has got to think of ideas.
“The Grove situation, when they had the night games. There were a lot of people attended. It was well supported. Let’s hope we can have more of that and keep our top Europeans playing in Europe, which they used to do.
“In my day, very few went to America full time. When you talk about Faldo, Lyle, Woosnam, Langer, Seve, Olazabal, myself, Rafferty – those among the top ranked players at the time – I don’t think there was anybody who was full-time in America.
“Yes, we went to America. We played in the Majors, the TPC and that type of thing but we didn’t join the Tour full time. No. This has changed and we have got to get it back to the top Europeans playing in Europe. We have got to try.”
“The proudest moment of my playing career was winning our flagship event – the BMW PGA Championship – three times in a row. It had never been done before and it was something I was very honoured to do in 1998, 99 and 2000.
“That’s playing and then, of course, you think about the Ryder Cup and being captain of the team was an honour and captaining a team to win was great.
“But I suppose the opportunity of holing the winning putt was something. An opportunity is one thing but taking it is another. I did that, in 2004, under my good friend Bernhard Langer’s captaincy.
“It was only the width of the table. In about 10 years it will be the length of the table. We all know, missable – very missable – at any stage and it was nice for it to go in and get the victory for us.”
“We didn’t have world events when I was winning the Order of Merit. The Majors counted but the world events didn’t. Now seven world events and Majors outside Europe are counting for the Race to Dubai, and you can do it through there.
“Rory won his outside Europe, really. I was glad to see Stenson winning having won the Open.”
“If someone wins seven in a row – Stenson is on his way and if he can win the next six in a row I would be the first to shake his hand. I was always very proud, a special trophy was made by Ken Schofield, and I will never forget the saying on top of it. It said ‘A record that will forever remain unique’. It was engraved on the top of this magnificent bowl and it takes centre stage.
“If somebody does beat that record, I will be the first to shake their hand because I know how difficult it was (to achieve).
“There was always somebody who was in the way. Whether – at the start – it was a Faldo or a Langer, Seve and Olazabal and then it came into the Harrington, Clarke, Westwood era at the end and it was getting more and more difficult to stay on top.
“Every year I felt that to stay on top I had to improve – to stay number one. In any business, you can’t sit still. That’s what I was finding. I had to improve through those years.”
“I have been a loyal supporter of the European Tour and I have done my bit for the European Senior Tour as well.
“It’s a shame it hasn’t gone forward. It needed the five guys who really ruled the roost when we were playing – Seve, Faldo, Langer, Lyle and Woosnam. It needed that five to grow the European Senior Tour and, unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
“That’s why it’s not the strength that it could well be. Let’s hope it will be in the future.”
Colin Montgomerie is a Skechers ambassador. Visit www.skechers.com/en-gb/ for more information.