Montgomerie ready to face Olympic trial
Scot to make case to the IOC for sport's inclusion in 2016 Games
Saturday 06 June 2009
Colin Montgomerie comfortably made the cut in the Wales Open here yesterday and then revealed how he will be leading his sport's bid to make a rather more important one in 10 days' time. If Monty thought the Ryder Cup captaincy had rested plenty on those broad and occasionally slumped shoulders of his, that is nothing to the weight that may well rest on his words at the International Olympic Committee a week on Monday.
It is in Lausanne where the IOC will eliminate at least two of the seven candidates chasing the two spots in the 2016 Games and this is where the Scot will voice the case for golf's inclusion. As Montgomerie, himself, put it: "This is a very, very important meeting for our global game." No pressure, then, although surely he will be reading from a set script? "Yeah, they are going to prepare something," he said, with a twinkle in his eye. "And then I'm going to Montify it."
Golf can only pray that the big man is in one of his good moods, because when he is very little can stop him when a microphone is in his hand. If only the same had been true, of late, of a seven-iron.
A loss of form has seen the eight-time Order of Merit winner tumble so quickly down the rankings that he is barely clinging on inside the top 200. This is why he will find himself in Switzerland rather than on Long Island. Montgomerie did not qualify for the US Open, which takes place at Bethpage in the same week as the IOC pow-wow, and, realising that one of the most high, profile pros was free then Peter Dawson, the R&A's chief executive, and Tim Finchem, the PGA Tour's commissioner, quickly picked up the phone and said: "Your sport needs you."
In fact, the Wales Open needs him this weekend as a comeback win for the 45-year-old would afford this event the publicity it deserves. At four-under, Montgomerie is certainly close enough if still good enough. He is three behind a countryman in Richie Ramsay, on seven-under after a 67, and two off English duo Ross Fisher and Robert Rock.
And what of Corey Pavin, the American Ryder Cup captain? At two-over he came perilously close to missing the cut. In fact, Pavin suspected he had failed to make the weekend and had planned to take in the Welsh sights instead. When told this, Monty said: "I wish Corey well. I haven't seen the sights myself so I can't offer any tips. I'll be trying to win this weekend."
How this man loves to have a rival in his sights. Baseball, karate, squash, softball, rollersports, rugby sevens... you have been warned.
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