Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Monty Soap Opera Has Happy Ending for Once

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Monty Soap Opera Has Happy Ending for Once

Article excerpt


COLIN MONTGOMERIE'S life has been one long soap opera this year.

Today, he invited us into his own Troon backyard and offered a fourhour reflection of those ups and downs in another wonderful episode of 'a round with Monty'.

He beamed, he scowled, he played some sublime stuff and some ropey stuff. He felt he was losing the plot and then rediscovered it. And, naturally, he had a bit of a rant at one point - even if it was only aimed at himself. And at the end of this most compelling performance? Well, he actually ended up smiling.

For only the third time in 15 Opens, Montgomerie had recorded an underpar opening round. A two-under 69 was finally eked out after all the roller-coaster fun, a score which was likely to look a lot better by the end of a day in which the wind was only gradually beginning to bear its teeth at the later starters.

Yet there had been a moment, the local hero confessed afterwards, when the only thing that kept him going was the passionate wave of support from the Scottish galleries who treat him like the English treat their nearly-man Timmy at Wimbledon.

It was at the railway holes just after the turn that a potentially excellent round seemed on the verge of completely disintegrating. At three under par, Monty got a bit unlucky with an approach that squirted off the 10th green and he played two duff chips which resulted in a double bogey.

Then at the next, he carted his drive into gorse, got an unplayable lie, was forced to take a penalty drop and, though he escaped with just a bogey, he found all his good work undone in just two holes as he was back to level par.

As he stalked off that green with a face like thunder, you could only recall his own joke about why the motto of Royal Troon "Tam Arte Quam Marte" did not actually mean 'As much by strength as skill'. Rather, the real definition was "If you're not three under by the turn, God help you.' Suddenly, they felt like what they are - the most difficult inward nine holes on the Open rota.

"I was losing it," Monty conceded. "And if it hadn't been for the crowd's tremendous support, it could have got a lot worse. …

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