Monty Bows Out of The Open with a Smile on his Face
Colin Montgomerie bowed out of The 145th Open this morning with a smile on his face but still ruing what might have been.
Exactly 2 hours 50 minutes after starting out with a marker in the first match at 7.40am, the veteran Scot holed out for a 76 on the 18th green and then spent almost 20 minutes talking to the media about what may be his last experience of playing in the Championship.
I’m leader in the clubhouse,” he joked. “If everything goes really well, you never know. They say it’s never finished until the last putt goes in. We’ll have to wait and see.”
The former European Ryder Cup captain had been in a disconsolate mood after carding an eight over par 79 in the third round but 24 hours later he’d come to terms with his performance in front of his hometown fans.
“I said at the start of the week my goal was to play on Sunday and that anything would be bonus.
“That was being realistic. When I saw the course in practice, and how long it was playing, I knew I’d struggle to compete with the younger guys. It took it out of my hands, I’m afraid. I was hitting 3-irons into greens where the younger guys were going with 8-9 irons.
“That’s a big different, especially with the Open pins stuck behind bunkers and stuff. As soon as I saw the conditions, I knew I was up against it.”
Montgomerie was also battling an errant long which has cost him a couple of victories on this year’s Champions Tour in the States
“To be honest, I haven’t played very well this week,” he admitted. “I haven’t played well all year. I’ve been struggling pulling the ball. The ball has been going left and, when you’re set up for a fade, that is doubly bad.
“I’ve got to sort it out,” he added. “I’ve been speaking to Butch Harmon in the Sky studio and he’s given me a couple of thing to work on, but you can’t do that here. I’ve got to go away and work on it and try to get ready for The Senior Open Championship at Carnoustie.
“The good news is I found something out there on the 13th hole this morning, believe it or not. It might have been 66 holes late, but I found it. I played the last six holes in level and I could sell that to the leaders this afternoon, I assure you.”
Winning a Senior Open Championship would offer Montgomerie a way back into The Open but he’s realistic enough to know this might be his swansong.
You’ve got to be realistic and say this might be the last time I’m here playing at an Open,” he said. “I’d love to think it won’t be, but it might well be.
WIf so, it’s good to finish with six pars. It’s good to hit a nice 4-iron to the last hole and have a chance of birdie. It’s just a shame it was so early, with so few people about. I got a nice ovation but I would have loved to have finished in the middle of the pack when the stands were starting to fill up. Sadly, though, it wasn’t to be.”