Monty pleads for end to Jakarta furore

How many times can a man say sorry? Colin Montgomerie did so for at least the third time here on the eve of the Wales Open yesterday before making an impassioned plea for a definitive, giant black line to be drawn under the affair that has become known simply as "Jakartagate" on the European Tour.

How many times can a man say sorry? Colin Montgomerie did so for at least the third time here on the eve of the Wales Open yesterday before making an impassioned plea for a definitive, giant black line to be drawn under the affair that has become known simply as "Jakartagate" on the European Tour.

However, as the whispers continued to wend their way from the locker-room in the wake of Gary Evans all but accusing the Scot of being a cheat, this seemed more than a tad hopeful, even though the words of the chairman of the powerful tournament committee had earlier poured a huge bucket of water on the flames threatening to engulf one the game's most glittering careers.

By declaring that Evans - who yesterday pulled out of this week's tournament with a bad back - did not have to apologise for his inflammatory comments on Montgomerie's infamous "wrong drop" in Indonesia, and would not therefore be liable to the fine that the George O'Grady, the European Tour's furious chief executive, hinted would be coming the journeyman's way, Jamie Spence quite cleverly took the sting out of the situation.

"I spoke at length with Gary on Tuesday, he didn't apologise and I didn't expect him to," said Spence, so defusing any of the fall-out that a few fellow professionals of Evans had, off-the-record, promised should the 36-year-old face censure. "It's a free world. I want the members to be able to say what they want, but say it to us or George."

If Evans had indeed marched into the board-room at Wentworth last Saturday, instead of the media room, where, among other things, he declared that "there's been smoke around Monty before" and that "98 per cent" of the pros were not happy that Montgomerie had escaped sanction for replacing his ball in an obviously advantageous position after a weather suspension, then the resulting furore might have been averted.

"The timing of Gary's comments was very poor but I don't think he fully understood the issues involved," Spence said. "I think the players feel we should have taken some action but there is no action to take. Colin broke a rule and the referee at the time agreed he didn't incur a penalty. It's a misconception that he could disqualify himself after the event - he can't. Colin felt it was a nice gesture to donate his prize-money [£24,000] to charity but I don't think he was admitting any guilt. We put ourselves on a high moral ground as golfers and it's difficult to live up to."

At least Montgomerie was trying to yesterday. "I made a mistake and I acknowledge that fact," he said. But he would not go so far as to state that he would have disqualified himself and so hand back the world ranking points that ultimately allowed him to scrape into the world's top 50 in time to qualify for this month's US Open.

John Paramor, the Tour's chief referee, did reveal, however, that he had to tell Montgomerie that the result would stand whatever he did, which suggested that the 41-year-old was indeed considering such a course. "It was not an option," Montgomerie said.

Whether the Tour's rules will ever be altered to allow such a move remains a doubt, although Spence confessed that the Tour will be pressing the Royal and Ancient, the game's rule-makers, to amend their laws in one respect because of this unseemly rumpus. "The biggest mistake Colin made was not marking his ball," he said. "But I find it incredible that in a lightning delay that you don't have to mark it. Now I understand if someone hits a 300-yard drive and there is lightning around you don't want to run down there, but if you are standing next to your ball, our committee feels very strongly this should be a rule of golf."

Unsurprisingly, Montgomerie lent his support to that, before issuing his cry for peace. "Can I just ask one thing more?" he said. "Can we finally, finally draw a line under this and get on with what we all do best?"

No, he did not mean bickering, as Spence signified with one last warning. "This is the end of it for me and the committee," Spence said. "If the players feel they can do better, they can take my job."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Parker says: 'I once had a taster use the phrase 'smells like the sex glands of a lemming'. Who in the world can relate to that?'
food + drinkRobert Parker's 100-point scale is a benchmark of achievement for wine-makers everywhere
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing