Colin Montgomerie on how he'd like to sign off and life on the PGA Tour Champions, where he's just claimed his seventh victory
Even at the age of 56 Colin Montgomerie is still winning. At the weekend he edged out Bernhard Langer in a play-off to go into this week’s season-ender on the PGA Tour Champions in fourth spot on the money list.
For all the modern-day talk of gym bunnies, swing speeds, power moves and smash factors the Scot is still doing it his own way – at Sherwood Country Club he closed with a nine-under 63.
What a finish for @MontgomerieFDN!
— PGA TOUR Champions (@ChampionsTour) November 3, 2019
The perception is the seniors play on genteel courses of around 6,500 yards. The reality is a very different story and, in among all the bonhomie, the competition remains fierce.
“You think that the courses are 6,600 yards but we don’t play a course under 7,000 and that’s generally to a par 70 or 71. If you don’t score 67 on the first day you can forget it, you’ve got to get out the blocks quickly,” explained Monty on a recent sponsor day for Loch Lomond Whiskies, the Official Spirit of The Open, at Kingsbarns.
This week 36 players will tee it up in Phoenix at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship – Montgomerie is sandwiched between Bernhard Langer and Retief Goosen with Scott McCarron leading the way.
“It’s like the FedEx Cup but smaller with a three-stage play-off. It’s great competition, Davis Love III has just joined, Ernie Els is now 50 and, next year, Jim Furyk and Phil Mickelson are eligible. I’m close to Phil alphabetically so we’ve always been next to each other in the locker room – he kept calling me Chris for years, I never quite got it, eventually I called him Frank.
“There are some great stories and there is a lot of mutual respect. Everyone is very glad for everyone else’s success which might not be the case on the main tours. There might be no cut but, when the gun goes, it’s game on and all want to beat each other.”
And given what part of the world we are in, talk soon turns to his home country.
“I’m a very proud Scot, to travel the world and talk about being Scottish brings a smile to your face. We’re possibly the only nation that can call golf as our national sport, no other country can say that.
“It’s on everyone’s bucket list to play in Scotland and particularly at St Andrews. Most people love Kingsbarns, it has a number of signature holes which very few courses can say and to bring that into the Fife area is incredible.”
But it’s the Old Course which really takes Montgomerie to his happy place.
“Even the St Andrews signpost has connotations of being a very special place. The golf goes into the town and vice versa, the West Sands, the whole thing is really most iconic. You can’t replicate it anywhere, you couldn’t.
“The drive at the 18th is unique but the second shot is one of the most special in golf. If I had one last shot I would love it to be the second to the 18th. It’s the whole scene, the clubhouse, Hamilton Halls, you think of everyone who has done it over the years, the walk over that bridge and to be able to hole a 30-footer on that green, you never forget that feeling.”
Colin Montgomerie is an ambassador for Loch Lomond Whiskies, The official spirit of The Open. You can purchase the Loch Lomond Whiskies Open Special Edition single malt here.