Golf: Annual award goes to Monty

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The Independent Online

Colin Montgomerie has been named the Johnnie Walker er of the Year for 1995. Montgomerie won the Volvo Tour Order of Merit for a third successive season, was a member of the victorious European Ryder Cup side, helped Scotland lift the Alfred Dunhill Cup and equalled the lowest total in a major championship before losing a play-off for the US PGA title to the Australian, Steve Elkington.

"I am absolutely delighted with the year I've had and to have this recognition from Johnnie Walker and the golf writers is the icing on the cake," Montgomerie said yesterday.

"People rightly questioned my decision at the end of last year to change the clubs I was playing with [he switched from Wilson to Callaway], but I knew what I was doing and it's nice to have the results to prove it. OK, I didn't accomplish my top target for the year - a major - but I could not get any closer. Hopefully, it's just a matter of time."

He spared a thought for Sam Torrance, the man he pipped for topping the money list by one stroke - a three-foot putt he holed to finish second in the season-ending Volvo Masters at Valderrama. "Sam and I had a fabulous competition all year. I enjoyed the contest and I've huge respect for him. He had a hell of a year and was unlucky not to win the Order of Merit. He shot the best round on the last day of the season, finished third and made me fight all the way."

Torrance, 42 and in his 25th season on the circuit, had three victories to Montgomerie's two in the Order of Merit race, but Montgomerie also had four runners-up finishes and in his 20 counting tournaments earned no fewer than 14 top-10 cheques. Torrance played in six more events and was runner-up each time Montgomerie won, but had two fewer top-10 finishes. The pair dominated the season - Montgomerie finishing with nearly pounds 1.4m worldwide and Torrance more than pounds 1.1m.

The last player to win the Order of Merit three years in a row was Seve Ballesteros, from 1976-78. The only player to win four times in a row was Peter Oosterhuis, from 1971-74.