In the past, he was cruelly mocked and taunted by American fans but Scottish golf legend Colin Montgomerie has somehow become a fan favourite on the Champions Tour.
Montgomerie, one of the leading golfers on the over-50 Champions Tour, said Wednesday that he’ll be in the field again this year at Canyon Meadows for the Shaw Charity Classic.
“As long as I’m a player on the Champions Tour, I’ll be playing in the Shaw Charity Classic,” Montgomerie said on a conference call Tuesday.
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. Still, he has a spot in Golf’s Hall of Fame.
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.
Last year he contended at the Shaw Charity Classic, and the memory of being jeered by spectators seemed well in the past. Montgomerie said that the attitude of fans has changed since he joined the over-50 set.
Calling himself surprised by the transition, he admitted part of the difference is the way he’s interacted with spectators.
“It is very different since I’ve joined the Champions Tour,” he said. “I’ve engaged with the fans and they’ve seen that and engaged back. It has worked both ways.”
Montgomerie, who grew up on the west coast of Scotland, said the proliferation of Scots at the tournament led to a lot of support.
“I think there are more Scots in Canada than there are in Scotland,” he joked.
Montgomerie said the course where the tournament is played, Canyon Meadows, is one of the lures. He called it one of the best they play on the Champions Tour.
“It is an excellent golf course,” he said, commenting the final holes are both challenging and intriguing, leading to an interesting conclusion for the tournament.
Last year Montgomerie seemed destined to win the Shaw Charity Classic, but he faltered on the home stretch, leaving Jeff Maggert to hold onto a four-shot victory.
Montgomerie is the latest golf star to announce they are coming to Calgary, alongside top Champions Tour player Bernhard Langer, and golf legend Tom Watson.