MONTY HAS MAJOR HANG-UP

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Seven months on and Colin Montgomerie still cannot get the United States Open out of his head.

Seven months on and Colin Montgomerie still cannot get the United States Open out of his head.
The Masters at Augusta in April will be Montgomerie’s 63rd attempt to land a major crown, but if the final hole at Winged Foot last June had not been made a mess of he would no longer be answering questions about his “Nearly Man” tag.
A par four would have given him the title he craves so much. A bogey would have put him into a play-off with Geoff Ogilvy but a double-bogey six meant he merely created history with a fifth runners-up finish in majors.
After a long wait to deal with playing partner Vijay Singh’s drive hooked into the hospitality tents, Montgomerie, his mind going “10 to the dozen”, shoved a seven-iron into rough, hacked on and three-putted.
“I will think about it until I win one,” said the 43-year-old today as he signed a new “long-term” deal with Aberdeen Asset Management, previous sponsors of his fellow Scot Paul Lawrie.
“I am convinced that if I had been able to walk up to the ball and hit the second shot in the time I usually take I would have found the middle of the green and would have been okay.”
The eight-time European number one still believes he can achieve his dream and the fact Singh won the US Tour’s season-opening event on Sunday just a month away from his 44th birthday deepens Montgomerie’s belief that all is not lost for himself yet.
“It’s always good when you see somebody from the ‘Over-40s Club’ winning. It gives you a bit of confidence,” he said.
“Every round of golf you learn. I learnt from the Open at St Andrews (he was second to Tiger Woods there two years ago) and from Winged Foot.
“Hopefully when I am in that position again I will take something from those experiences.
“I see myself being in contention at least once this season and I hope one day that door will open.
“I closed it on myself at Winged Foot. On the other occasions I’ve been runner-up (the 1994 and 1997 US Opens won by Ernie Els and the 1995 US PGA where Steve Elkington birdied the first play-off hole) it’s been closed on me.
“This time it could have been me. It should have been me.
“I’m supposed to be the best player not to win a major and I don’t mind that at all – it’s better than being the second best player.
“It (winning a major at long last) is not going to change me as it would a younger player, but I would just like to get it out of the way and of course it’s a motivating factor.
“I’m not picky any more. I’ll take any of them. But if I had to pick one it would be the Open and an Open in Scotland.”
This July it returns to Carnoustie, where he is the course record-holder with 64 and where Lawrie was the last European to win a major eight years ago.
Mark Garrod, PA Sport Golf Correspondent

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