Colin Montgomerie refuses to call time on his Open career
COLIN MONTGOMERIE refused to call time on his Open Championship career after signing off at Royal Troon.
The veteran Scot finished on 17 over par for the tournament after shooting a final-round 76 on his home links in South Ayrshire. It has been a poignant week for Montgomerie, with the event taking place just a few minutes' walk from his childhood home and with the 53-year-old being granted the honour of hitting the first shot.
But after coming through qualifying to secure a first Open appearance in six years, there have been suggestions it could be his last on this stage. Montgomerie, who has famously never won a major despite dominating the European golfing scene in the 1990s, accepts time is not on his side but he will not give up.
He said: "You've got to be realistic and think that it might well be the last time I'm here at an Open - I'd love to think it won't be. I've always loved playing in this championship.
"My Open record isn't that great really. I haven't really performed that well, but at the same time I've always enjoyed the whole theatre of the thing and hopefully this won't be my last. I'd love to think that I can do this again and try and qualify again."
Montgomerie's championship looked to be over after he finished on Friday but, as others struggled in poor weather later in the day, his four-over-par total made the cut. His extra two rounds did not go according to plan, but he was pleased with the way he finished with six successive pars on Sunday having been the first man out.
His fine approach to the 18th earned him a good ovation from the few fans to have taken their seats early as he walked up to the green, but he was unable to end with a birdie. He was all smiles as he tapped in and retained his good humour as he conducted media interviews.
"I'm the leader in the clubhouse again, for the second time this week," he joked.
"So if everything goes really badly... you never know. They say it's not finished until the last putt is holed! It was just a shame the stands were empty, it was a pity. I'd love to play in the middle of the pack where the stands are beginning to become full. That would have been more emotional but I got a good ovation anyway."
Montgomerie also took a swipe at some of the slow play at the championship this week. Playing only with a marker, Montgomerie breezed through his final round in less than three hours and claimed that was not even quick.
He said: "Two hours 50 minutes and I don't feel as though I was rushing. The old boys get round in three hours.
"Why four-and-a-half hours has become the norm, five hours in major play, I don't know. The sooner we get back to trying to play this game at a sensible pace the better."