Monty overdoes the death stare as his game deserts him

Scotsman scowls and growls his way round links in vain search for vintage form

If looks could kill, by lunchtime yesterday there would have been bodies strewn across this lovely stretch of Ayrshire links land; the corpses of photographers, journalists, marshals, caddies and indeed spectators.

Colin Montgomerie had just signed for a 74 to leave him outside the projected 36-hole cut at five over par, and in the untidy process of assembling it he spared hardly anyone his notorious death stare. It was a good job Sandy Lyle didn't cross his path.

By reheating the old allegations that Monty cheated at the Indonesian Open four years ago, Lyle, bitter at being gazumped for the Ryder Cup captaincy, has given the drama of this championship an intriguing subplot. Following yesterday's round Montgomerie again cited the controversy as an extremely unhelpful distraction, adding that he'd heard Lyle expressing the hope that the comments hadn't jeopardised his, Lyle's, chance of being appointed Ryder Cup vice-captain. "I thought that was very, very funny," Monty said, flashing one of his Colgate smiles but actually looking about as amused as a man with chronic toothache.

It is just as well that Montgomerie has the Ryder Cup and other people's golf games to think about, because his own game is in a dreadful slump. He hasn't had a top-10 finish for more than a year, and there is a gloomy possibility that the short putt with which he completed a bogey five at the 18th yesterday could be his valedictory blow in an Open Championship. He qualified to play here by just sneaking into the top-30 money-winners on the 2008 European Tour. But he is nowhere near the top 30 this year, which reduces the routes to St Andrews for the 2010 Open. Someone should suggest, standing well back of course, that if he wants to be there he might consider taking a job as a photographer.

There is, in fact, more chance of Prince Charles designing a futuristic chrome office block with its plumbing on the outside. Photographers are a reviled species to Monty, who on the ninth tee took exception to a snapper lying prostrate and motionless in the official vantage point. Nobody else over the course of the first two days here had been troubled, as was intrepidly pointed out by a woman holding a "Quiet Please" sign. "It was all right for Tiger Woods yesterday," she dared to tell Monty. A scowl was her reward.

It remains one of the mysteries of golf that a man capable of such beguiling charm off the course can be so spectacularly charmless on it. Monty smashed his tee shot on the ninth into deep rough, so deep that at first neither he, his caddie, nor the marshals, could find it. The spectators watched the search sympathetically from the other side of the ropes.

Monty glared at them. "You can help if you'd like to," he said, the implication being that they didn't have to stand there being quite so useless. A few minutes later he galumphed off the green with a six on his card, and as he made his way to the next tee, a man called out, plainly in a spirit of encouragement rather than provocation, "Well done, Colin". Rather like a juggernaut, Montgomerie came to a juddering halt. His eyes bored into the hapless spectator. "I've just double-bogeyed the hole, mate," he snapped back. Rarely did anyone feel less like Monty's mate.

A fellow named Lyle notwithstanding, Montgomerie is truly his own worst enemy. His drive on the 12th found a bunker, and his escape shot found another bunker. He watched in stupefaction. "Unbelievable," he muttered, but it's a fair bet that what he couldn't believe was not the inadequacy of his own shots but the audacity of the bunkers for getting in the way. On the 17th tee he ventured to the caddie of his American playing partner, Zach Johnson, that the blustery wind with which they had had to contend all the way round, had now dropped. "Unbelievable," he said again. Then, just before he addressed his ball, an over-enthusiastic marshal yelled at the crowd to stand still. Another glare from Monty, and a little shake of the head, as if scarcely able to comprehend the myriad ways in which the human race conspires to make his life more difficult.

In an episode of Fawlty Towers, Sybil Fawlty once referred to her mother's many irrational fears: "Vans, rats, door knobs, birds, heights, open spaces, confined spaces... footballs, bicycles, cows... men following her..."

Thus it is with the things sent by the forces of evil to disturb Monty's concentration. "People, aeroplanes, wind, rain, sand, loud noises, soft noises ... vans, rats, door knobs, birds..." In some ways it seems like an act of mercy that the 36-hole cut has put him out of his misery.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
music

News
Russell Brand at an anti-austerity march in June
peopleActor and comedian says 'there's no point doing it if you're not'
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
News
i100
Voices
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Arts and Entertainment
Sister Cristina Scuccia sings 'Like a Virgin' in Venice
music

Like Madonna, Sister Cristina Scuccia's video is also set in Venice

Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

Life and Style
The Tinder app has around 10 million users worldwide

techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say

News
news

Endangered species spotted in a creek in the Qinling mountains

News
peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album