Apparently Tiger Woods is not a fan of the Be Nice to Monty
campaign. Recently, a U.S. golf magazine has taken up Colin
Montgomerie's cause, writing an editorial and passing out
buttons in a preachy attempt to shape gallery behavior at the
upcoming U.S. Open. Montgomerie would benefit more from a
crusade to instill a little compassion in Woods, whose hazing
has been far more devastating than the occasional boo-bird.
A 26-time winner on the European tour, Montgomerie, 38, has
famously never prevailed at a tournament in which Woods was in
the field, and the dispiriting streak continued at the Deutsche
Bank-SAP Open in Heidelberg, Germany. Watching Monty lose to
Woods on the third hole of a Monday playoff--the tournament had
begun on Friday to take advantage of a bank holiday--it must
have been hard for Monty's critics to muster their old
antipathy. The supercilious Scot, once an annual threat to blow
major championships down the stretch, now suffers from a balky
back, a shaky putting stroke and an excess of cerebral scar
tissue. Rarely a contender anymore, Monty is so damaged he
talked himself out of winning before this tournament even began.
Four million dollars had been spent revamping St. Leon-Rot, but
Monty saw a conspiracy in the longer, tougher setup. "You don't
have to be a rocket scientist to work out who is going to
benefit most," he said on Thursday. "They clearly believe if he
keeps winning, Tiger will feel obliged to keep coming back to
defend the title."
This was indeed Woods's fourth straight appearance at the
Deutsche Bank. He was given a reported $2 million appearance fee
to defend his crown, which was probably a bargain for the
tournament as nearly 100,000 fans turned out and 450 media
credentials were issued.
May 26, 2002
Montgomerie made news before the tournament even started,
pulling out of the Thursday pro-am after 11 holes when he felt a
twinge in his back. He recovered to shoot 66-68 once play began,
seizing a share of the midway lead with Alex Cejka. Woods was
lurking two strokes back.
The third round was one for the ages. Woods surged into the lead
early, going five under on the first five holes. Monty gamely
battled back, shooting a 65 to Woods's 64 to maintain a perilous
one-stroke lead. Their Monday pairing was their first
competitive round together since Saturday at the 1997 Masters.
On that fateful day Woods shot a bogeyless 65 to Montgomerie's
74, and Monty has been a beaten man ever since. On Sunday
evening he was already playing possum. "I need to get some
flexibility into my back if I want to have a chance of competing
tomorrow," he said, not exactly sounding like a guy who was 17
Tiger was all but licking the blood from his whiskers looking
ahead to the final round. "It's going to be a lot of fun going
out to compete with Colin," he said. "He's a friend of mine, and
I thoroughly enjoy playing with him and competing against him."
No wonder. Monty played well for most of the final
round--including birdies on the first three holes--but made a
fatal error in sudden death, hitting a half-shank out of a
fairway bunker into a pond while playing the St. Leon-Rot's 18th
hole for a fourth time on Monday. His playoff record is now a
combined 0-9 on the U.S. and European tours.
Afterward Woods was gracious in victory, saying of Monty, "He is
a great champion, whether he has a major or not." Of course, he
didn't really mean it. He was just being nice.
Nick Price's victory at the Colonial was the perfect rebuttal to
the need for the Majors tour. Put a wily fortysomething like
Price on the right course, and he can still beat the best in the
world--in a meaningful tournament.
The 25th annual Alex Alexander PGA Tour Caddie Tournament was
held on May 13 in Fort Worth, Texas, attracting more than 60
loopers to Squaw Creek Golf Club as well as a decent-sized
gallery that included Sergio Garcia. Corby Segal (who packs for
Brent Geiberger) and Alan Kopplin (J.L. Lewis) both shot
even-par 72s, with Segal winning the playoff to take the $1,800
first-place check. The $16,000 purse was contributed by Tour
players and various equipment companies. "I wish I knew we were
playing for that much money," said Kopplin, who won $1,200. "I
was drinking beer all day, and he was drinking Diet Coke."
David Frost and his eponymous wine label provided the vino--a
1999 cabernet and a 2000 chardonnay--for the Wednesday-night
champions' dinner at the Colonial, but the gracious vintner
couldn't help but uncork a few zingers about the tastes of his
fellow players. Said Frost, the '97 Colonial champ, "Blaine
McCallister always wants to know when I'm going to put a screw
top on the bottle."
Catrin Nilsmark created quite a stir with her arrival on the
driving range last Friday afternoon at the Asahi Championship. A
onetime runway model, the 5'11" Nilsmark was wearing a pair of
barely-there plaid shorts. "I wonder where she puts her tees?"
one player asked, inspiring a colleague to respond, "You don't
want to know."
Wondering why Retief Goosen's scoring has been so sluggish of
late? The Deutsche Bank, in which he finished 60th, was his 37th
appearance worldwide since he won the 2001 U.S. Open.
Tour bad boy Garrett Willis was DQ'd from the Colonial for
failing to sign his scorecard on Friday. Following a 3 1/2-hour
rain delay, Willis was six over par playing the 18th hole, and
after he drove into the trees, the horn sounded, signaling the
end of play due to darkness. His playing partners Robert Allenby
and Scott Verplank finished out the hole, as is their
perogative, but Willis headed straight for the clubhouse,
abandoning his drive. A volunteer picked up the ball as a
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