Perhaps with hindsight we should have taken the margin of Monty’s first professional victory as a statement of serious intent for the near-total domination he would go on to inflict on his European Tour colleagues for much of the next 15 years.
Having turned pro in 1987 and found his European Tour feet nicely in 1988, he recorded his maiden win in the Portuguese Open TPC at the end of the following year, lapping the field en route to an 11-stroke victory. Four years later, he was No.1 in Europe, where he would stay for six more years, recording an impressive five tournament victories in 1999, the last of his seven straight years atop the European Tour Order of Merit. He added an eighth crown for good measure in 2005, aided by his best ever showing in The Open, finishing 2nd to Tiger, albeit five shots adrift
Yet for all his unprecedented achievements and domination, Monty’s career has also thrown up some curious conundrums – no PGA Tour victories, no WGC victories and, most importantly of all, no Major victories. This has put him firmly in the frame for golf’s most unwanted moniker, BPNTWAM – Best Player Never to Win a Major.
There were several agonising near-misses, most memorably in the 2006 US Open where he stood over a simple 7-iron needing par for victory and made double, and also in the 1995 USPGA. But he was rarely a contender in the other two Majors, that runner-up finish at St Andrews one of just two top-tens in The Open.
Despite those CV omissions, Monty has been a money-making machine for over 30 years, with the Bank of Monty still receiving very hefty and regular deposits via his new and hugely successful career as a Champions Tour senior. Since joining the over-50s in 2013, Monty has banked just shy of $10million in America alone and notched seven senior victories there, plus a further six in Europe. He has also got the Major monkey off his back, claiming, in his first couple of years on the circuit, three senior editions of the titles that eluded him throughout his main tour career.
We caught up with one of Europe’s most prolific winners to get his take on how the game is doing and to find out more about that successful career as a senior…
Tell us your views on the state of the game right now – where’s it doing well, where’s it struggling?
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