Monty's Senior PGA win illustrates confidence
Splendid as Adam Scott’s win was and as exhilarating as it was to see Rory McIlroy storm from behind and capture the BMW PGA Championship at a venue, Wentworth, that has not been nice to him, Colin Montgomerie’s triumph in the PGA Seniors generated a feeling of nostalgia.
Ah, those days when the Sour Scotsman played the game marvelously, was a fixture inside the top 10 and seemingly showed up at every major championship as a bona fide favorite. That he never captured one remains one of golf’s great mysteries, but Montgomerie never disappointed – especially in the interview.
Colleagues who were there still revel in an old exchange between Montgomerie and Jim Murray, the late and great Los Angeles Times columnist. Seizing upon the storyline that Montgomerie had threatened to win a few majors in America, the exchange was classic in the days before the 1998 U.S. Open at The Olympic Club:
Murray: I had the feeling that you had, to the contrary, have done very well in the majors here. Have I not got it right, weren't you close at Pebble Beach at the Open (in 1992)?
Murray: (And) at the PGA at Riviera (the 1995 PGA)?
Montgomerie: Well, yeah.
Murray: And at Washington (the ’97 U.S. Open)?
Montgomerie: Quite close there. Sorry, what are you trying . . .
Murray: Why have you done so well in those majors?
Montgomerie: Well, I am quite good.
Montgomerie: That is why I am here, you know. I don't know why I have done so well. I am obviously quite talented and quite good at my job, you know.
Later, Murray penned a column in his inimitable style that captured Montgomerie’s unique personality.
“The thing about Colin Montgomerie is, his disposition would have to be improved to be considered merely irascible. ‘Cantankerous’ comes to mind. You might say he has the outlook on life that's a cross between a pit bull and a traffic cop whose corns hurt.”
Murray and others of that era made much of the fact that Montgomerie won often in Europe but never in America and sure enough, when the Scotsman held off Bernhard Langer at Harbor Shores, it was mentioned that it was his first win here.
Montgomerie won on American soil back in January of 1998, beating Davis Love 2 up in a 36-hole final to the Andersen Consulting World Championship of Golf at Grayhawk Golf Club’s Raptor Course in Scottsdale, Ariz.
It was the culmination of a 32-man tournament that was the immediate predecessor to the Match Play Championship that kicked off the WGC era in 1999. But while Montgomerie didn’t get credit for a WGC win or a PGA Tour triumph at Grayhawk, he did earn a $1 million pay day and prove that as the No. 5 player in the world he was, as he told Murray, “quite good.”