2004: British Open - Monty survives playoff, returns to Troon

Sunningdale, England

Ian Woosnam, Bernhard Langer, Jesper Parnevik, Jose Maria Olazabal and Justin Rose will miss this year’s British Open Championship at Royal Troon after they failed to advance in International Final Qualifying June 28 at Sunningdale’s Old and New courses. Colin Montgomerie, however, made it – barely.

More than 50 tournament winners and three major champions – Woosnam, Olazabal and Langer – tried for the 17 available spots, making it one of the strongest fields in Europe this year.

Eleven players at 7-under-par 136 or better got places in the British Open, while 12 players at 6 under played off for the remaining six spots.

Ryder Cup player Paul McGinley earned one of the automatic spots along with four-time European Tour winner Paul Broadhurst.

Montgomerie survived the playoff and will tee it up at Royal Troon, returning to the club where his father was secretary for many years.

“It’s fine now,” Montgomerie said. “I’m through even if it was through the back door. It’s the first decent thing that’s happened to me for a while. After missing the U.S. OpenI did not want to miss the (British) Open. I now have a chance to do well there.”

Montgomerie’s hopes of qualifying were almost mysteriously derailed when he was distracted on the ninth tee during his second round. Montgomerie was visibly upset by someone’s presence in the gallery. He was heard to say to his caddie, “I can’t believe he’s out here watching. That’s unbelievable.”

The Scot made bogey on the hole but refused to talk about the incident afterward. “You know my life has changed, OK?” he said, referring to his pending divorce. “I’m sorry. Thank you very much.”

The seven-time European Order of Merit winner pulled his drive into the trees at the par-5 18th hole, throwing away a chance at making birdie and avoiding the playoff.

Rose, who led the field after a morning round of 65, should have qualified with ease. He was 8 under standing on the 12th tee, but made a triple-bogey 7 that helped ruin his chances. “It all came down to my triple bogey at 12,” Rose said. “I had it in my hands, and I’ve only got myself to blame really.”

Woosnam, the 1991 Masters winner, complained of slow greens in shooting 71-69 and missing the mark by three shots. “I’ll just have to go and win a tournament or qualify some other way,” he said.

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