Open Diary: Monty takes aim
Monday 22 July 2002
*The relationship between Colin Montgomerie and the golf journalists has always been like your average marriage – sometimes they argue, sometimes they just don't speak – but the Scot has taken the relationship to a new level of disaffection. On Saturday – after an 84 that rivalled George Orwell's for drama – the press gathered around the recorder's hut to get a word with the Disgruntled One. There he was spotted, peeking through the window and, on seeing Tiger Woods giving his conference, he nipped out the back door and trotted to the nearby Greywalls Hotel. The press officer had asked Montgomerie for a few words but he refused. Why on earth would they be interested in someone who had gone round in 20 shots worse than his previous day's score? It beat Monty. "I would have spoken yesterday but you were more interested in Tiger Woods," he said. "I'm very disappointed at the way you [the press] keep on trying to believe that I have a bad temper. I haven't show a sign of temper on a golf course for five years," he told the gob-smacked throng. "I'm really hurt by it. I've pulled out of golf tournaments for the next two weeks. I can't handle it any more." Cue headlines today which will read 'Monty on the verge of quitting' etc. The man just cannot stop providing good copy.
*Tiger Woods' Open victory at St Andrews in 2000 was widely credited with the fact that he never went in a bunker during the 72 holes. How many bunkers must he have visited this week at Muirfield then, so far did he finish down the field? The answer is, uh, one. But he did take two to get out of the 14th on Saturday, his 50th hole. The Welshman David Park could only dream of such a success rate. He found a bunker at the par-three 13th which he took eight to get out of before ending up with an 11.
*Hacks have been lining up all week to lambast the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, custodians of Muirfield, for their Victorian attitude. One of the most vehement of these came from the recently-appointed chief sports writer of one of Britain's most popular tabloids. His rant ridiculed the members for attempting to defend their refusal to allow women to become members. It was interesting therefore that on the very day this article was published, this journalist accepted an invitation to join the British Boxing Writers' Club, a society which, lo and behold, does not allow women to become members. Call that honourable?
*The Honourable Company is believed to make up a large proportion of the Scottish capital's legal profession. One of these, a high-ranking judge, got carried away one afternoon, downing nine gins and tonics (which the Diary can reveal are on the large side). Zig-zagging his car home, the judge was stopped by the police. When asked to blow in to a bag the judge, resigned to his fate, complied, but was then stunned to hear that he had passed comfortably. After his initial relief he thought about what had happened, turned his car around, headed back to the clubhouse where he dismissed the bar steward on the spot. "You've been watering the bloody gin," he told him.
The number of shots America's Scott Hoch dropped on his first five holes of the first round in Thursday's benign conditions. Yesterday he shot a 66 to finish close up on four-under. He was nine under for the final 65 holes.
The drams of whisky that the Famous Grouse tent served during the winds and rains of Saturday. They also sold 1,000 beef sandwiches.
The number of shots needed by the Welshman David Park to clear the short 13th in his closing round of 80. Park played no fewer than eight shots in a deep greenside bunker, trying various ways to get out before he finally made it to the cheers of the crowd.
The total prize-money, in pounds, on offer at this year's Open, £700,000 of which goes to the winner. The figure represents an increase of £457,250 on last year's total.
The number of times Muirfield has hosted the Open, although it is still a distant third behind Prestwick (24) and St Andrews (26) in the list of most popular venues for the tournament. After Muirfield come Sandwich (12), Hoylake (10), Royal Lytham (9), Royal Birkdale (8) and Royal Troon (7).
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