The NCG team's favourite golf memories continue as Alex Perry recalls an entertaining encounter with European Tour legend Colin Montgomerie
I’ve had some memorable moments in 15 years of working in golf. I could tell you the story of my very first interview – a 10-minute sit down with Tom Watson that lasted half an hour as he, much to the frustration of his PR representative, insisted on answering every question on my overly-prepared notepad.
Or the time Ian Poulter said “Are you f***ing kidding me?” when I asked the Ryder Cup legend if he would be prepared to do snow angels in a bunker for a photoshoot.
Then there was the time I played in a pro-am with David Howell who, within five minutes of shaking hands on the first tee, asked me if I, ahem, “prefer” Kylie or Dannii Minogue.
But in all those instances that’s really the whole story.
So instead I’m going to recall my, to date, only encounter with Colin Montgomerie. (I bet you thought it would be the tale of meeting Jordan Spieth – but I’ve already done that.)
It was ahead of the 2012 Open at Royal Lytham. I, like a handful of others in the media, had been invited to a shindig with Monty up the road at Heron’s Reach.
He wasn’t playing in the Open that year – remember that fact, it’s important later on – but was an ambassador for the resort, so was hosting a clinic for a handful of punters before sitting down for a interviews.
As is often the case with these days, they’re running late and it’s starting to frustrate. I had one of several hundred meetings that for some reason can only be done in Open week to attend.
Eventually a PR type wearing a suit far too big for him fetches me from the bar and takes me to my man, who is now having lunch in the very busy hotel restaurant. “Strictly five minutes,” the PR tells me, in a stern voice I’m pretty sure he’d spent all morning practising in the mirror.
So I get through the small talk in a matter of seconds and hit record. The first question starts spilling out of my mouth when Colin says “Gavin! Over here!” I turn and am suddenly in the shadow of Scotland rugby legend Gavin Hastings.
“I’m just doing an interview,” Colin says, and Gavin puts a giant hand on my shoulder. “Being nice, I hope?” he says and I make a strange squeaking noise that I haven’t heard before or, indeed, since.
He strides off to get a coffee. “Sorry about that, go on,” Colin says.
I still can’t get my first question out when a woman appears from over my shoulder. “Sorry to bother you, Colin,” she says. ‘And me,’ I think.
“I’ve got Damien here, he’s a huge fan of yours.” (I don’t think the kid’s name is actually Damien, but it seems quite apt as they chat my allotted minutes away.)
I’m watching the time tick over on my dictaphone when the kid finally gets his autograph. “Thanks Monty!” he yelps as he bounds back over to his family. “Good luck in the Open!”
Monty looks at me, shakes his head, and smiles. “Obviously not that huge a fan then.”
I got my five minutes.
Have you had a particularly interesting encounter with a golfer? Let me know in the comments below or you can tweet me.