Golf: Montgomerie fined

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COLIN MONTGOMERIE was fined pounds 1,000 by the European Tour yesterday and warned that if there were further displays of 'petulance' the penalty would be doubled. The fine was imposed after Montgomerie criticised the Moroccan Open, in which he finished joint 20th last weekend.

Montgomerie shot 77 in the second round and described the event as an 'amateur sham.' A Moroccan amateur scored 101 in the first round and there were several other scores of 98. 'A tournament like this shouldn't count towards Ryder Cup points,' Montgomerie said.

The Scotsman, who will be 30 in June and has established himself as one of the leading money winners in Europe, has often been a bridesmaid in the last 12 months, just missing out on winning leading tournaments. At the Caledonian Club in London yesterday Ken Schofield, the executive director of the Tour, threw Montgomerie a bouquet of barbed wire.

'I was in Morocco at the weekend and I was quite upset by Colin's remarks regarding the tournament,' Schofield, a Scotsman, said. 'Every player has the right to criticise the Tour but we are sensitive to criticism of sponsors and our golf courses, particularly so when they shoot 77 on a windy day. If he continues in this light we'll double the fine.

'It is disappointing when you have a player like Colin who has reached the level of Ryder Cup and is a major contender. It is time for his on-course and off-course conduct to match his golf and it doesn't' Montgomerie, whose behaviour at times has been described by colleagues as akin to 'throwing teddy out of the pram', was fined the maximum amount for a minor breach.

The Moroccan Open was lost to the calendar for a couple of years and was held for the first time last week at King Hassan's private course, Royal De Agadir. Apart from the King and his sons, hardly anybody plays the course.

'It was in immaculate condition,' Schofield said, 'but I accept it could have been frustrating. When you have 40mph winds and severe greens you're going to get high scores. When you try new venues our leading players have got to show they can take it on the chin.

'I spoke to Colin about his conduct in 1991 when we were hoping his maturity would match his golf. In fining him we have not taken account of one thing. There comes a moment when everybody loses patience. We've lost patience.

'There was pounds 375,000 in prize money in Morocco and that is certainly not amateurish. The quality of the play and the quality of the course was outstanding. We want Colin to be talked about and written about for his golf not his petulance. We've had enough. We tried the lenient way. He should have dinner with Sandy Lyle. Look at what he's gone through and the way he's behaved.'

Montgomerie, whose father is secretary at Royal Troon, won more than pounds 250,000 last year to finish third in the Order of Merit. He is managed by the International Management Group who were informed of the fine yesterday.

In 20 years' time, Montgomerie will be eligible for service on the Seniors Tour which, in its second year in Europe, has 12 tournaments and pounds 800,000 in prize money. Tony Jacklin, 49 in July, cannot wait for his 50th birthday, which will give him the key to the seniors' locker-room. 'When I stopped playing the regular tour I wasn't very enthusiastic about the seniors,' Jacklin said.

'I could not understand why people wanted to watch a load of old geezers hitting a golf ball about. I had it completely wrong. The fact is old names stick in people's minds and they want to stand in line to see old geezers hit the ball.'

Before playing on the European Seniors Tour next year, Jacklin, the former Open and US Open champion, will attempt to gain his card on the American old geezers tour, which is worth dollars 25m ( pounds 17.5m) 'I'd been doing it from the age of 18-40 and I got tired,' Jacklin said. 'I'm hungry again.'

A conversation with Jim Colbert, an old American pro, might have had something to do with it. Colbert told Jacklin that he won so much money last season he paid his caddie pounds 140,000. For driving the golf cart.

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