WATCH: The Shaw Charity Classic is quickly approaching, and on Tuesday another name was added to the list of big names headed to the event. Global’s Lisa MacGregor reports.
In the past he was cruelly mocked by American fans that called him “Mrs. Doubtfire,” but Scottish golf legend Colin Montgomerie is enjoying his reception and a career resurrection on the Champions Tour. Montgomerie, the leading golfer on the over-50 Champions Tour, said today that he will be in the field next month at Canyon Meadows for the Shaw Charity Classic.
“Last year I was playing here in Europe and I was hearing how good the tournament is and I hear it in No. 1 on the list,” Montgomerie said.
“I look forward to coming to Calgary and participating. I look forward to everything that is going to happen from Calgary.”
Though he didn’t win a major championship during his lengthy career, Montgomerie is regarded as one of the all-time greats in Europe. He established himself as a fierce competitor in the Ryder Cup, and statisticians recently proclaimed him as the best Ryder Cup player in the event’s history. While he won eight money titles on the European Tour, he never managed to land a coveted major championship, finishing as runner-up five times.
However, on the Champions Tour it has been a different story. He’s won the Senior PGA Championship twice, and the U.S. Senior Open as well. He played at the U.S. Open in June, making the cut at Chambers Bay, and will play at the PGA Championship next month at Whistling Straits.
Throughout it all the notoriously uptight Montgomerie seems more comfortable in his role as one of the game’s elder statesmen. He admits to enjoying the more relaxed atmosphere on the Champions Tour, and his game has improved as well.
“It is very different, the Champions Tour,” Montgomerie said. “Everyone said to me when I started playing on the Champions Tour that I’d find it the best tour—and they were right. It is more relaxed than the PGA Tour. There’s no great egos out there or great envy. Everyone has been successful enough—that’s why they are out there. Although it is ultra-competitive on the course, it is a lovely place to be off it.”
This week Montgomerie is spending time at the British Open at St. Andrews. Montgomerie grew up as the son of the secretary at Royal Troon, and the British Open is a special tournament for him. He flew to the UK from the U.S. to try to qualify for this year’s championship, but fell short.
“It is disappointing in many ways, because in St. Andrews I know my way around more than most,” he explains. “It is one of those courses I can play. Any champion who has played there and walked across the Swilcan Burn at 18—it is a phenomenal place. There’s an aura about St. Andrews, the way you start in the town and finish in the town.”
Who does he like this week? Tiger Woods for one.
“It was his first bogey-free round since 2013 and he’s talking well, isn’t Tiger?” Montgomerie says. “Now of course he always does, doesn’t Tiger? I think he could contend this week. The course is fairly wide open off the tee and if he gets his putting going he’ll be great.”
Interestingly, throughout his career Montgomerie was known as either being charming or petulant. American golf fans had a lot of fun at his expense, thus the “Mrs. Doubtfire,” nickname, a reference to his ample frame.
Now on the Champions Tour Montgomerie seems to have come to terms with the American fans.
“I blame myself in many ways,” he says. I didn’t give to the American audience when I was under pressure trying to win majors. Now I’m giving and so are the fans. We’re embracing each other and I really do enjoy it.”