Colin Montgomerie (pictured by Kevin Murray), one of the most successful golfers in European Tour history, will achieve another significant milestone this week when he makes his 600th Tour appearance in the Turkish Airlines Open by the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
Fittingly, the latest landmark in a glittering career comes at a course which carries his name, The Montgomerie Maxx Royal, host venue for this week’s US$7 million tournament.
Montgomerie was presented with a silver scroll, detailing his most noteworthy achievements across a European Tour career which spans 28 years, by Tournament Director Miguel Vidaor on the eve of the Turkish Airlines Open by the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
Montgomerie said: “It’s a fantastic milestone. It’s also an awful long walk! I think Barry Lane worked out that over the course of 600 tournaments, you’d walk the whole way round the world and then onto Singapore. So that’s an achievement in itself. It’s been some journey so far, and I’m still really enjoying it. If I had my time over again, I don’t think I’d change too many things and I’m very proud of that, because not too many people can say that.
“To have represented The European Tour, which is such a fantastic Tour and has become like an extended family, for this length of time is an honour and a privilege, and hopefully I’ve got a few years left in me yet. I still remember my first tournament, and I’m sure I’ll also remember my 600th for the rest of my life. To reach the landmark on a course I designed and at one of the premier events on The European Tour makes it even more special, and I’m very grateful to everyone who has helped me along the way.”
Since making his European Tour debut as a fresh-faced amateur in the Car Care Plan International in 1986, Montgomerie has amassed 31 titles, won the Harry Vardon Trophy a record eight times, been named Golfer of the Year on four occasions, set 13 course records and finished in the top ten of the Money List 14 times.
Other notable achievements include becoming the only player to win the BMW PGA Championship three years in a row, recording eight holes in one, registering 184 top ten finishes and capturing European Tour titles in ten successive seasons, between 1993 and 2002.
Montgomerie’s first paycheque was for €1,905, courtesy of a tied 45th finish in the German Masters in 1987. Since then, the Scot has collected a further €24,547,785 in official earnings, having finished in the money in 480 of the 599 tournaments in which he has competed to date.
His largest prize on The European Tour was the €662,415 he earned for winning the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in 2005 – the same year he shot the lowest round of his career, a 60 in the Indonesia Open. Two years later he captured the last of his 31 European Tour titles, in the European Open.
Upon turning 50 last year, he embarked on a Senior Tour career which has this far yielded a further five victories including, most memorably, back-to-back Senior Major triumphs in the 2014 US Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid and the US Senior Open.
As a result, Montgomerie has long since wrapped up the European Senior Tour Order of Merit, with record earnings of €607,477 and counting.
But it is perhaps chiefly for his outstanding Ryder Cup record, rather than any individual achievements, that Montgomerie will be remembered.
In eight Ryder Cup appearances as a player, Montgomerie amassed 23½ points, winning golf’s greatest team event five times. Famously, he remained unbeaten in the Singles, winning six and halving two matches.
Montgomerie further enhanced his Ryder Cup record by guiding Europe to victory as captain in 2010, subsequently labelling it the “proudest moment of my career”.
He now becomes only the seventh player in history to reach 600 appearances on The European Tour, following in the footsteps of Sam Torrance (706), Barry Lane (684), Miguel Angel Jiménez (641), Roger Chapman (619), Eamonn Darcy (610) and Malcolm Mackenzie (605).
Source: European Tour