Colin Montgomerie targets USPGA Championship

“It felt like a major,” Montgomerie said. “The course made it that way as did
the Michigan crowd. They were superb, turned out in droves. I am excited,
but I’m probably more relieved than anything. You know that monkey’s been on
my back a long, long time. With my caddie, Alistair [McLean], we’ve been
coming to the US since 1992 for major championship golf. And we’ve tried.
God have we tried.

“Pebble Beach was my first and I very nearly won that US
and there have been close calls since. Hopefully, I can build
on this and move forward, knowing that I can do this. It only gives you more
confidence, the self-esteem levels rise. I look forward to the next major
that we play.” That is the Senior Players Championship in Pittsburgh next
month, by which time he will have spent a few weeks at home with his wife,
Gaynor, and their collective tribe of seven children, and will have turned
51. In July, there is the US Seniors Open and then two weeks later the
Senior Open at Royal Porthcawl. The
Championship takes place in Hoylake in between but for the
first time since the Eighties, he will not try to qualify.

Quite simply there are too many opportunities in the States, a statement which
would have once sounded absurd if it was applied to Montgomerie. But he has
warmed to America and America has warmed to Montgomerie and do not
underestimate the influence this had on his Starred and Striped
breakthrough. If only this had happened three decades ago. There would have
been no “Mrs Doubtfire”, no heckles on his backswing, no ugly animosity
which had such a destructive effect on his ambitions.

“I guess we’ve all matured,” Montgomerie said with a smirk. “I’ve been made to
feel so welcome since I joined the Champions Tour last year and feel that
has plenty to do with this success. The galleries were fantastic to me and
made it seem all the more special. I’m a major champion and will treat it as
such. It might have a ‘senior’ connotation to it, but it is a major that has
been going for 75 years. I’m proud to be part of that history.”

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