MONTY AIMS FOR MORE CLASSIC MOMENTS


Anyone lucky enough to split the 18th fairway at the stunning Emirates golf club in Dubai should take a good look at the landing area – and not just to avoid becoming fixated by the huge lake guarding the green.

Set into the fairway is a plaque commemorating one of the most famous shots in golf, the majestic 240 yards approach hit by Colin Montgomerie to set up the birdie that earned him the 1996 Dubai Desert Classic crown.

With the title on the line, Montgomerie decided he could not afford to lay-up short of the lake. So he took a driver from the fairway, possibly the hardest shot in golf to execute perfectly. But he played it so well that he was left with a routine two putt for the birdie that gave him a one-shot victory over Ernie Els. It also won him the 1996 European Tour shot of the year award.

That underlined what a truly great ball-striker Monty is. That Desert Classic win is one of an amazing 40 career victories, and it came in the middle of a remarkable run that saw him win the European Tour Order of Merit a record seven years in a row from 1993-1999. He again finished as European number one in 2005, and as he looks forward to representing Europe as a playing Captain for the second time at the Fifth Edition of the Royal Trophy, Monty insists there will be plenty more memorable moments before he puts away his clubs for the last time.

He commented: “That shot at the Emirates was one I will always be proud of – and if I didn’t believe I could still conjure up many more moments of magic like that, I wouldn’t bother playing any more.

“But trust me. Even though I’m 47 now, there is still a great deal I want to accomplish in the game, starting with a successful defense of the Royal Trophy in 2011.

“When I think back to that shot in Dubai, it is with a great sense of pride and satisfaction. You have to bear in mind that hitting a driver from a tight lie has always been one of the hardest shots to pull off. And it was made even more difficult on that occasion because that shot was going to decide the outcome of the championship, one way or the other.

“You must also remember that in those days, club and ball technology was a lot less advanced than it is now. The ball did not travel anything like as far, and we were using a lot more club to get the sort of distances players now achieve with long irons and hybrids. But the fact that modern technology makes it so much easier to play these par fives now makes me even more proud of the fact that I was able to take on a great hole playing its full length, and played it as well as I could possibly have hoped to.

“That is a wonderful feeling, and I want to experience it many more times, which is why I am setting myself some lofty goals for the next few years.

“My big ambition is to play in one more Ryder Cup, now that I have enjoyed the thrill of captaining a winning European team in addition to playing eight times so far.

“The Royal Trophy is a big step towards that – and of course it is a hugely significant Competition in its own right.”

Montgomerie would re-write the history books, and turn the formbook upside down, if he could resume his Ryder Cup playing career in 2012. But he certainly has the right sort of motivation. It will be played in his native country, Scotland, and the host course, Gleneagles, is a short drive from his home in Perth.

Monty admits that he has not been able to play as much tournament golf as he would have wished while dedicating himself to helping Europe win back the Ryder Cup from the Americans at Celtic Manor in October. That was a mission he accomplished in thrilling fashion, and since then there have been clear signs the Scottish star still has plenty to offer as a player. In his most recent outing, at the hotly-contested Hong Kong Open, he produced four successive rounds in the 60s.

Spectators attending the Royal Trophy can expect to see a highly-motivated and determined Montgomerie – and this not going to change any time soon.

“Colin Montgomerie is a remarkable player and captain. His achievements speak for themselves;” stated Lincoln Venancio, the Royal Trophy Managing Director.

“The extremely tight victory the Europeans secured on the final hole of the final match at the fourth edition of the Royal Trophy, under Colin’s captaincy, will be remembered for a very long time;” added Lincoln Venancio.

“It will be very interesting to see how he will guide his players this time and if he can lead them to hold off this extremely strong Asian Team;” concluded Lincoln Venancio.

The Fifth Edition of the Royal Trophy will be held on 7-9 January 2011 at the magnificent Black Mountain Golf Club in the coastal town of Hua Hin, Thailand.

The Royal Trophy is co-organized by the Sports Authority of Thailand, the Prachuap Khirikhan Province, the Hua Hin Municipality and Entertainment and Sports Co., Ltd. The Championship is promoted internationally by Entertainment Group Limited.

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