Written under the nom de plume, M.L. Gneier
Of course, I have to start out by saying that I have always wanted to heckle Colin Montgomery. I am almost embarrassed to admit that, but not quite. The man who has been called Mrs Doubtfire by a fellow member of the European Tour is simply the perfect target of derision and sarcasm. Now that he and I are both getting a little older I became concerned that I might never get the chance or, worse, that he would suddenly become a mature adult.
I needn't have worried.
I went to the US Open on Friday and once the course started to get crowded I set out in search of interesting groups, but ones that may not be around for the weekend. Monty, David Toms and Rory Sabbatini were together and Rory was putting a nice round together. I saw them tee off on a par 4 and Sabbatini put the ball in the deep rough with his 3 wood. It was a nasty lie and the marshalls had to drop the yellow gallery rope to give him a free swipe at it. All the while, Monty stood with a borderline glare on his always less than sanguine face. Once Sabbatini hit, the marshall made the mistake of taking no more than 20 seconds getting the steel rods that support the yellow rope back in place. Monty's semi-glare bloomed into the full Montyesque glare that we have always hoped he reserved for the most vociferous and inebriated hecklers.
The marshall was just about done when Monty finally shakes his head ruefully and then calls out, "OK, laddie. That's fine. You've done enough. You're done." The guy looked up, and knowing that the rod was still not in place, meekly held it up while Monty addressed his approach. Once he a hit, I could not help but say, "Wow, only two minutes with Monty and he's already been an asshole to a volunteer. Is that a record?" With that, another guy calls out, "Hey Monty. Have a safe trip home."
Now, this was really pretty funny. It really made the trip to Torrey worth it al by itself. But after a while I began to reflect on a professional athlete who needed to behave this way despite his talent, wealth and age. The man simply cannot be all there. His expression was one that shifted from bemusement to outright annoyance. He would talk to Toms and Sabbatini, but would never look at anyone in the decidedly laid back SoCal gallery.
Golf has always had its share of jerks and surely not all of them have been found inside the ropes. The problem is that Monty pretty much seems to have given up. He's definitely given up on being the kind of player that the golf lovers of the world would like him to be. But, it seems that he has also given up on his physical condition and the best parts of his game. Sure, he was 10 over but so was most of the field. It was no excuse for his attitude or his uninspired, John Daly After a Bender style of play.
In the end, I was almost sorry to have seen Monty. I would have rather lived having never watched him play in person than to have my darkest suspicions about his character confirmed so quickly and so totally.
You almost have to pity the guy, but not quite.