Colin Montgomerie Profile
|Born||Jun 23, 1963|
Hero to European Ryder Cup fans and bogeyman to their American counterparts, Colin Montgomerie tasted outrageous success across the world, but cruelly never in the Major Championships.
A legend of modern golf, Colin Montgomerie dominated the European Tour in the 1990s, claiming seven consecutive European Tour Order of Merit titles between 1993 and 1999.
His 31 European Tour tournament victories make him the most successful British player in the circuit's history and places him fourth on the all-time list.
He is perhaps the best player never to have won a Major, but he did finish second no less than five times.
Montgomerie won the Volvo PGA Championship at Wentworth, the European Tour's flagship event, in three successive seasons between 1998 and 2000.
He joined the Champions Tour in 2013 and has achieved great success among the seniors, most notably in winning three of the circuit's Majors.
In a career that has spanned more than three decades, Montgomerie has claimed 54 professional victories.
He has also proudly and brilliantly represented Europe in eight Ryder Cups and a ninth as non-playing captain in 2010.
In his prime, Montgomerie was among the world's best drivers and his iron game was just about peerless in both Europe and the United States.
Having grown up in Scotland and Yorkshire, Montgomerie learned the game at Ilkley Golf Club under the tutelage of club professional Bill Ferguson.
In 1983, at the age of 15, Montgomerie won the Scottish Youths Championship.
The following year he made his first appearance for Great Britain and Ireland in the Eisenhower Trophy.
He won the 1985 Scottish Stroke Play Championship and would go on to claim the Scottish Amateur Championship in 1987. Montgomerie was also part of Scotland's European Amateur Team Championship-winning side in 1985.
Montgomerie played twice in both the Eisenhower Trophy and the Walker Cup, bringing him to the attention of college scouts in the United States. He was among the first Brits to cross the pond to play collegiate golf when he attended Houston Baptist University.
He briefly considered a career in sports management before ultimately deciding to turn professional ahead of the 1988 season - indeed, it was whilst discussing such a move on the golf course that his prospective employers told him to stick to competing.
Montgomerie's debut campaign on the European Tour reiterated that his employment decision had been correct as he was awarded the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year trophy.
The following season, Montgomerie notched his first European Tour victory at the Portuguese Open TPC, winning by the astonishing margin of 11 shots.
His second win would not arrive for another two years, but a statement victory over a star-studded field at the 1991 Scandinavian Masters in Sweden heralded a decade of success and vaulted him into a Ryder Cup debut towards the end of the year.
Two victories in 1993 marked something of a turning point because the last of them came in the season-ending Volvo Masters, allowing him to top the European Tour Order of Merit for the first time.
King of the European Tour
Montgomerie was a dominant force on the European Tour for the remainder of the decade.
By the end of 1999, he had won 22 European Tour events and claimed the Order of Merit seven times. During this period, Montgomerie reached the top 10 of the official world golf rankings and would stay there for an incredible 400 weeks.
He claimed the Volvo Bonus Pool, an extra cache of prize money awarded after the conclusion of the European Tour season, from 1993 to 1998, when it was discontinued.
During his dominant period, Montgomerie was also named the European Tour's Player of the Year on four occasions (1995, 1996, 1997 and 1999).
He won a hat trick of Volvo PGA Championships at Wentworth, starting in 1998, and this perhaps ranks as his greatest individual triumph.
Montgomerie was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen's 2004 New Year's Honours list and would win a record eighth European Tour Order of Merit in 2005.
His final win on his home circuit came in the 2007 European Open and later that year he added World Cup triumph for Scotland alongside Marc Warren.
The quest for Major glory
While Montgomerie was dominant in Europe, his form and results on the PGA Tour and in the Majors consistently came up agonizingly short, if at times by the slenderest of margins.
Montgomerie recorded no less than five second-place finishes in Major Championships, including being a US Open runner-up on three occasions. He was also third at the 1992 US Open when it briefly looked like he had set an unbeatable clubhouse target.
Even at his home major, the British Open, Montgomerie was unable to get over the line.
It was maybe that 1992 US Open at Pebble Beach which set the tone for his Major career.
With lightning-fast greens and blustery wind, scores were sky-high and when Montgomerie carded a final round 2-under-par 70 he was congratulated by no less a figure than Jack Nicklaus.
It was to prove a premature salute because Montgomerie was ultimately passed by both eventual winner Tom Kite and runner-up Jeff Sluman.
In the 1994 US Open, and then again at the 1995 PGA Championship, Montgomerie endured the pain of playoff defeat.
In the 1997 US Open at Congressional CC he was left to rue a catastrophic second round 76 having comfortably out-scored the rest of the field over the other 54 holes.
Despite being perhaps past his peak, Montgomerie would challenge for major honors again in the mid-2000s, albeit losing the 2005 British Open to an in-the-zone Tiger Woods.
In 2006, at the age of 43, he earned a magnificent chance to end his Major hoodoo, yet again in the US Open, this time at Winged Foot.
He drained a huge birdie putt on the 17th green in the final round to join the lead and had only 7-iron from the middle of the fairway at the last.
Par there would actually have won him the much-coveted title. Bogey would have earned a playoff.
Alas, Montgomerie duffed his approach, found sand, and three-putted.
To date, only two men, Lee Westwood and Jay Haas, have entered more Major Championships than Montgomerie without claiming a win.
The Ryder Cup
European golf has been blessed with a remarkable number of Ryder Cup superstars since 1983, but Montgomerie deserves to be viewed with the very best of them.
His introduction to the match was at the fractious 1991 Kiawah Island match, dubbed 'The War on the Shore'. It was the first time he would encounter vilification by American galleries.
The worst of that would rear its ugly head at Brookline in 1999, so much so that his opponent in the singles, Payne Stewart, had to identify culprits to have them removed from the course.
In truth, the nastiness revealed what a threat Montgomerie represented. The American fans were afraid of him..
If his putting seemed a little tight in strokeplay, it was freed up by Ryder Cup matchplay.
Equally, his slightly gauche manner was transformed when unequivocally loved by his team-mates for the week of the match.
He shares the record for the most singles matches won (six) and most singles points reaped (seven).
He is the only European to have twice claimed the winning point (in 1997 and 2004) and he lies third in the list for all-time points.
Colin Montgomerie's personal life
Born in Glasgow, Montgomerie grew up in Yorkshire in the North of England where his father worked as Managing Director of Fox's Biscuits.
While there, Montgomerie developed an affinity for soccer team Leeds United, who he still supports alongside his beloved Glasgow Rangers.
As a promising amateur, Montgomerie met his future wife Eimear Wilson at Troon. The couple would go on to have three children but split in 2006, four years after she had given him an ultimatum to choose between his marriage and golf.
Eimear claimed that Montgomerie's obsession with the sport had left her suffering from anxiety and depression.
Following the separation, Montgomerie engaged in a handful of relationships, eventually marrying Scottish millionairess Gaynor Knowles in 2008.
His second marriage would also end in divorce when split from Knowles in 2017.
Colin Montgomerie's net worth
The latest estimates put Montgomerie's net worth at around $55million, but the Scot is notoriously secretive when it comes to his money.
At the peak of his career, Montgomerie was taking home more than $8million per year, including appearance fees and other income.
One of golf's most articulate men, Montgomerie was employed as a magazine and newspaper columnist even before he began winding down his playing career.
He is an official representative of Turnberry golf resort in Scotland, which is the location of the Colin Montgomerie Golf Academy.
He continues to accumulate on-course earnings with his highly successful career on the PGA Champions Tour.