The Open Diary: Montgomerie ready to walk the plank
Monday 19 July 2010
There was no stopping for Colin Montgomerie on the Swilcan Bridge here yesterday; no emotional turn and wave to the crowd behind the 17th green, no teary, smiley poses for the bank of photographers taking their snaps for posterity.
Monty admitted this was almost certainly his last Open at The Home of Golf, but stressed he was not entitled to milk the moment.
"I'll never pause on the bridge – that is only for winners," said the eight-time European No 1, whose best Open came five years ago, when runner-up to Tiger Woods. "There is sort of a plank on the right-hand side and I should walk across that and not use the bridge. I'll be 52 when it comes back here. Having to go down to Sunningdale again and qualify at that age would be a better effort than doing it at 47."
So, with that, he was off, not so much bowing out as the home hero who has contested 21 consecutive Opens, but slunking off as another could-have-been. But Monty is and always has been more than that. The headlines have followed him in bigger numbers than most champions. And, as Ryder Cup captain, they will continue to.
All week, the BBC have been reporting that the big Scot "has plenty on his mind" and they are believed not to be talking about the match at Celtic Manor in three months' time. Last month, he was revealed to have had an affair not even a year after getting married for a second time and he confessed his marriage was under "considerable pressure". Has the load lifted?
But, for now, he does have plenty to concern him as the biennial dust-up with the US looms. Tomorrow, he will announce three, maybe four, assistant captains. Thomas Bjorn and Paul McGinley are definites; Philip Price a strong probability and Bernard Langer an intriguing possibility. In truth, he will need their help. There are so many treacherous waters to negotiate. Indeed, that bridge, if not the plank, would come in useful.
Drivers at dawn
Who's the biggest of them all? It's a debate in golf which is no closer to being solved. In one corner is the Spanish slugger, Alvaro Quiros; in the other, Dustin Johnson from South Carolina. The Europeans say the former, the Americans say the latter. The stats sheet says "hmmmmmmm." Up until Saturday afternoon, there was a half yard between their averages, with Alvaro nudging it on 331 yards. But then, Dustin busted a 380-yarder down the 14th and pulled clear. So the fight for them continues...
Sing as you're swinging
It's not quite Eurovision. There is no poll to decide the official Ryder Cup song – but there is a petition. Martyn Joseph, the singer/songwriter who has had five top 50 singles, has recorded "On This Celtic Morning". It has caused enough of a reaction for a petition to be launched to make it "official". Its backers include Berhard Langer and the former First Minister Rhodri Morgan. The petition can be found at www.ipetitions.com .
Tiger punchlines abound
Tweet of the day – if not, the tournament; if not, the year – came from legendary American writer Dan Jenkins yesterday: "Tiger went back to his old putter after three rounds with the new one. Another short romance." Golf is all about subtlety, as Jenkins could no doubt teach Five Live's Clare Balding. Reporting the same putter switch yesterday, Balding said: "Has Tiger Woods forgotten how to use his magic wand?"
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