Montgomerie with the Ryder Cup in St. Andrews during Dunhill Links
Love him or hate him, Colin Montgomerie is one of the five players who carried the European Tour to victory in multiple Ryder Cups and who stayed in Europe for his career to give support to that tour. He’s been a polarizing force among fans, media and sometimes within the player ranks. But that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be in the World Golf Hall of Fame.
The eight biggest reasons Montgomerie deserves a place in the World Golf Hall are his eight Order of Merit titles on a Tour that, at the time, did not include all the current profusion of tournaments in the Middle East and Asia.
"This is top of the tree," Montgomerie said about the upcoming induction. "There's no higher honor. So I sit here very humbled and very proud of the position I sit in here, very much so.”
Monty, as he is often called, won it the hard way. He has “Open” titles in Portugal, Spain, Germany, France, Ireland, Hong Kong and has won the European Open.
He has 31 tournament titles in Europe, Asia and a later one in the Middle East. For much of his career, he battled Nick Faldo, Ian Woosnam, Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle or Seve Ballesteros to win them.
He is fourth on the all-time European Tour winners list, after Ballesteros, Langer and Tiger Woods. He is one victory ahead of Nick Faldo in Europe.
After all of the trophies are displayed and dusted off time and again, perhaps Montgomerie will be best remembered for his performance in the Ryder Cup, a contest he—like current-day Ian Poulter—dearly loves. He was on eight teams, five of them winning ones. His Ryder Cup record is an amazing 20-9-7, and his win percentage is just slightly better than that of Ballesteros and two hundredths behind Faldo.
Montgomerie said his future includes more golf.
“I'm looking forward to not just going over there (United States) in May but starting a possible new career over in America. There's a chance I might play in a few of their senior events, their Champions Tour events over there, anyway, so it's the perfect time to be inducted into the Hall of Fame just before I start on a possible new career over in America, along with the European Senior Tour here,” he explained. He turns 50 in 2013.
Unlike a lot of the inductees, Montgomerie has visited the Hall of Fame. It came after a missed cut when the PGA Tour pre-Masters schedule included Bay Hill and The Players at the end of March.
“Had Saturday, Sunday off before the Bay Hill event down the road in Orlando and stopped off at the World Golf Hall of Fame and walked around and visited,” he recalled. “Was in awe of what I saw then. And it's a grander place now than it was then, and I never dreamt in my wildest dreams that I would ever be inducted into this fabulous family of Hall of Famers.”
Montgomerie has five seconds in majors, the most famous one being at Oakmont in 1994 when he was in a US Open playoff against Ernie Els and Loren Roberts. But he was also in a playoff in the 1995 PGA Championship at Riviera which Steve Elkington won.
In addition, Montgomerie represented Scotland in World Cup play 10 times, winning the individual trophy once and the team trophy once.
David Feherty, always quick with the quip, dubbed him Mrs. Doubtfire, for his resemblance a movie character played by Robin Williams, and unfortunately, the name stuck. His relationship with US fans once got so bad that Golf Digest once created "Be Nice to Monty" buttons. Montgomerie now has the last laugh.
Kathy Bissell is a Golf Writer for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand or from official interview materials from the USGA, PGA Tour or PGA of America.