GOLF: Horton praises Monty's reign

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COLIN MONTGOMERIE goes for a sixth successive Order of Merit title in Spain this week with words of praise from another golfer who knows all about staying at the top.

Tommy Horton - who has just won the European Seniors Tour for the past three seasons - said: "Proud as I am of what I've achieved, Monty's reign on the main circuit is quite extraordinary. When Peter Oosterhuis won it four times in a row [from 1971 to 1974] we thought it would never happen again.

"The competition has become so much tougher, yet Monty matched Oosty's feat two years ago, then beat it last season and now has the chance to make it six.

"At one stage this season you'd have thought he was having a dreadful year, judging by what he was saying. But whatever he says he is the best putter on the tour and he deserves his success because he works at it. He practises three-foot putts like nobody else."

The best that Horton did on the Order of Merit during a tour career that lasted from 1959 to 1994 was second to Malcolm Gregson 21 years ago. In that season Horton earned pounds 3,089, but his Seniors Tour winnings have now reached more than pounds 625,000 after three more victories this year took his total in seven years to 20.

"At 57, though, I know it's not going to get any easier from now on," he said after finishing 13th in this weekend's Tournament of Champions, which was won by another former Ryder Cup player, John Garner. Horton topped the Order of Merit with pounds 127,656.