Monty: My Autobiography By Colin Montgomerie
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Every golfer alive revisits shots, both good and bad. For every lucky chip in and self-congratulatory down-the-middle drive, there’s an unbelievably poor shanked five iron and, invariably, a simple missed putt from inside two feet. Amateur hackers frequently experience the highs of satisfaction and the deep lows of despair during the same round, whereas professionals eliminate them because they know how to.
One professional familiar with eliminating errors from his game is Colin Montgomerie. Good enough to have won a golfing scholarship to university in the US, Monty turned professional in 1987 with the golf world at his feet. Over the next two decades, the Scot won more than forty international tournaments, remained undefeated in Ryder Cup singles matches and claimed an unprecedented eight European Order of Merit titles. Yet he remains known as the best golfer never to win a major crown.
How he didn’t is a mystery and, as he reveals in an often candid, amusing and extremely readable autobiography, when presented with his greatest opportunity, he blew it.
That opportunity arrived in the 2006 US Open at Winged Foot. It is, writes Montgomerie, “the major near miss which can still wake me up in the middle of the night.”
As Monty seemed destined to break his major duck, it is still incredible to recall how he missed out. After playing a perfect drive on the final hole, which was so good it won the European Tour’s Shot of the Month award, the Scot needed only to chip a seven iron onto an inviting green and, at worst, two-putt to claim the title.
Forced to wait 15 minutes as his playing opponent, Vijay Singh, searched for a lost ball, doubts permeated Monty’s mind. Should he take a seven? Perhaps a six? Has the wind direction changed? “He who hesitates is lost,” he writes and in the split second it takes to strike a golf ball, he knew instantly that the shot was heavy – he landed in the rough to the side of the putting surface and finished with a double-bogey six.
Montgomerie is mindful that he’ll be forever remembered for that one lousy shot, but it would be wrong were it to define his career. A determined perfectionist who, since retiring from the full-time professional ranks has become one of the best golfing commentators around, his autobiography proves he does , like every golfer, actually possess a sense of humour.
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How many times did Colin Montgomerie finish second in a golf ‘major’?