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Final Shot

Monty Misses the Major Point a number of courses in China. So he can hardly be surprised that as his career enters its twilight years, he finds himself competing with the likes of Liang and others for invites to the big tournaments. And even if other factors are taken into account, it is no different as to why the burly Scot is still asked to play in Asian tournaments despite his recent decline. It cuts both ways and his reaction to his Masters snub could be described as hypocritical at best. But from a merely sporting point of view, his comments by Nick Wong also seem a little misplaced. True, it could be argued they were olin Montgomerie courted controversy ahead of borne out by the fact Liang missed the cut and Prayad withdrew the recent US Masters after the Scot blasted the due to injury. But most players struggle on their first visit to the tournament organisers for handing invites to China's intimidating Augusta layout. Even the mighty Tiger Woods only Liang Wen-chong, Indian Jeev Milkha Singh and managed a tie for 41st and a missed cut in his first two appearances. Prayad Marksaeng of Thailand while he was left to The impressive Singh, on the other hand, actually improved on put his feet up and watch the season's first major from his 2007 debut by 12 places after finishing in a tie for 25th. Liang became only the second Chinese golfer to feature at the Masters the comfort of his own home. The 44-year-old, not unaccustomed to speaking his mind but his inclusion was more than a novelty, he deserved his place at times, felt he had been overlooked for a place at Augusta in on merit. He became only the second player from the mainland favour of the Asian trio purely on commercial grounds rather to win a European Tour event when he triumphed in last year's Singapore Masters and the first to lead the Asian Tour's Order of than sporting talent. “If I were the only person in the country, a la China, I might Merit when he topped the money list the same year. This term, he get in,” he told reporters in Munich while promoting June's BMW has enjoyed top 10 finishes in Indonesia and at the Volvo China International Open ahead of the Masters. "It's a strange way to make Open and ended in a tie for 14th at the BMW Asian Open, while the 30-year-old has consistently led the Asian challenge whether on up a field for a major championship - TV rights. “They are quite open about why, just as they were when the European, Asian or Japanese tours in recent times. Montgomerie, by contrast, has found it tougher and tougher I missed out last time in 2005, when they picked Shingo Katayama, then 67th in the world. I was 51st at the time. They to compete and although his world ranking may currently be higher than Liang’s, it is only a matter of time before the latter picked him over me for the Japanese TV rights. “Let me tell you, I am not the only one who feels this way. In overtakes the former. Masters chairman Billy Payne was in no doubt he had made or not, I would be saying the same thing. “It is the only one [of the four majors] you can get invited to - you the right decision. “These three individuals are successful, don't get an invite to The Open or the China’s Liang Wen-chong in action accomplished and talented golfers deserving US Open or the US PGA. You have to at the 2007 UBS HK Open of a Masters invitation,” Payne said. “They qualify. But the Masters has its own rules. are outstanding representatives of their It would be easier to swallow if no one respective countries. There remains, we was invited and the entry list was based on believe, an untapped opportunity in Asia sporting and not commercial criteria.” where amateur golf has its greatest growth Now Montgomerie may feel he has potential. earned the right to air his views as an “We want to pursue the development eight-time winner of the European of amateur golf for the purpose of Order of Merit and a player widely creating heroes and legends among the regarded as the best never to win a major representative countries, establishing championship. But his remarks seem at role models who attract other kids to odds with the fact that the former Hong the game.” Kong Open, Singapore Masters, Macau Golf is rapidly becoming a global sport Open and TCL Classic winner is regularly and Montgomerie has contributed greatly invited to compete in Asian tournaments, to the development of the game in Asia. often with the lure of a financial incentive, He has thrilled crowds all over the region and his presence has done as much as and undoubtedly inspired more than one anyone to boost the profile of the game in youngster to pick up a set of clubs. So it this part of the world. would be a shame if he were to continue Indeed golf is one of the fastestto tarnish that legacy as his own great growing sports in the region, something career draws to a close. Monty clearly recognises having designed

“Montgomerie has contributed greatly to the development of the game in Asia… it would be a shame if he were to continue to tarnish that legacy as his own great career draws to a close.”

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HK GOLFER・MAY/JUNE 2008

Gareth Jones

C

WWW.HKGA.COM

WWW.HKGA.COM

HK GOLFER・MAY/JUNE 2008

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0805MontyMissesThePoint  

Final Shot “Montgomerie has contributed greatly to the development of the game in Asia… it would be a shame if he were to continue to tarnis...

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