Colin Montgomerie Returns to Home of First Victory on American Soil
There’s just something about Harbor Shores and Colin Montgomerie.
And now the two-time KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship winner is hoping for more success on Lake Michigan this week.
Montgomerie’s 2014 KitchenAid Senior Championship victory at Harbor Shores was his first win in America.
“It was a big deal,” he said. “Played with Bernard Langer all four days and managed just to come out on top which was great. And loved it ever since.”
Montgomerie went back-to-back, winning the 2015 edition of the KitchenAid Senior PGA as well. He finished runner-up in 2016 when the Championship returned to Harbor Shores.
“It’s got 18 very, very strong holes and very few golf courses you can say that about. Some of the best courses in the world have weaker holes or weak holes. This doesn’t. It has 18 very, very strong golf holes,” said Montgomerie.
Montgomerie, who has won seven times on PGA Tour Champions, comes into the KitchenAid Senior PGA having notched back-to-back top-20 finishes for the first time this season. He’s been working at home in London and said he’s “getting somewhere.” He feels like he’s in a better place with his golf game than he has for the last three or four years, and now it’s about putting the scores together.
The biggest key for Montgomerie, he said, is making what he calls the “momentum putts.” Those seven or eight-footers that come up throughout the round that you really need.
“That’s what you’ve got to do to win,” he said.
Montgomerie is 58 and said, in the four years since PGA Tour Champions has come to Harbor Shores, the Tour has become “very, very strong.”
He points to Padraig Harrington (“Who can compete on the main tour regularly”), Jim Furyk, Retief Goosen, Ernie Els, and even K.J. Choi and Mike Weir who have immediately started to compete and contend on PGA Tour Champions once they turn 50.
With a laugh he said he watched David Duval on the driving range for an hour on Tuesday – while he had something to eat.
“Fantastic to see,” said Montgomerie. “Fantastic to see that commitment still and that position to try to win, to try to do well, to try and compete again and contend again. Fantastic.
“It’s a very, very strong Tour and getting stronger every year.”
Montgomerie said PGA Tour Champions has been “very fortunate” with the weather any time they’ve descended on Harbor Shores. The golf course, he explained, is strong but playable.
“It’s a matter of finding the fairways first and controlling those iron-shot distances into the pins. It’s a unique golf course that way,” said Montgomerie. “But I’m not surprised at the low scoring because of the weather conditions. If you get favorable weather around anywhere in the world, you can score.”
As Montgomerie inches towards 60, what keeps him motivated? Why keep trying to shoot those scores and take on these difficult golf courses?
“Not competing in the event but contending in the event… there’s a big difference. I do this to try and contend,” he said. “When that goes, when that opportunity or when that perception goes, then it’s time to buy the Labradors and start walking the dogs on the beach. Until that time, and I’m not there yet, but until that time, I’m here to contend.”
To close, Montgomerie was asked to pit his victory at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship win up against his Ryder Cup-clinching putt in 2004 in terms of which was a better moment for him in the state of Michigan. Being totally biased, he admitted, the win at the KitchenAid Senior PGA was the topper.
“Only had to beat one guy (at the Ryder Cup) in a match-play sense,” he said. “But to beat 155 guys over the week on a superb golf course is probably the best performance I’ve had in Michigan, and I look forward to trying to emulate it.”