Colin Montgomerie will utilise the delights of home comfort when he attempts to enter the record books with a fourth victory in the BMW Championship – the PGA Championship - at Wentworth Club, Surrey, England, from May 26-29.
Only Nick Faldo has the honour of claiming The European Tour’s flagship event on four occasions and the 41 year old Scot would like nothing better than to match the Englishman with a fourth success of his own, to sit alongside his three victories in a row from 1998-2000, and in the process claim the first prize of €666,660 from the record prize fund of €4,000,000.
A major ally in the Scot’s quest will be his familiarity with all things surrounding the West Course and Wentworth Club in general, a venue which he made virtually his own at the end of the 20th century with the three victories in the PGA Championship in addition to his win in the 1999 World Match Play Championship.
“I have said in the past that I feel like I grow a couple of inches in height when I drive through the gates,” he said. “I stand on the first tee and I feel somehow one up because I am very confident on the golf course. On some golf courses you aren’t, but at Wentworth I am very confident of what I can score on any particular day.
“Apart from feeling at home on the golf course, I am literally at home during the week too which I relish. I can sleep in my own bed and I get in my own car in the mornings and drive to the course which is great. I just love the place.”
Part of the reason for that is the immaculate condition in which the West Course is always presented which draws praise year in, year out, from the world’s top players who flock to compete in the event.
“Chris Kennedy and his team at Wentworth are superb and always get the course in great condition,” said Montgomerie. “He somehow manages to bring the course on early, which is not the easiest of things to do, and it all adds to the challenge.”
During his three consecutive victories, Montgomerie produced some stunning golf to thrill the large and appreciative galleries, none more so than in the final round in 1999 when he carded a final round 64 to triumph by five shots. Indeed, such was the Scot’s dominance that day, he admitted taking his foot off the gas in the closing stages.
“After the 12th hole Alastair, my caddie, said to me, ‘You are five shots clear now, just play for the middle of the greens,’ and that is exactly what I did. I perhaps regret it a little now because the course record is only 63 and if I had attacked I maybe could have beaten that, but hey, I was trying to win the tournament and I did, which is all anyone remembers.”
With such talent and determination allied to home comfort and local knowledge, no-one should be surprised if the new trophy presented by tournament partner BMW travels the short distance home in the back of Montgomerie’s car come Sunday May 29.
The corporate automotive brand BMW and The European Tour announced their new partnership in the BMW Championship in January, and tickets for the 156-strong, 72 hole stroke play event are available both online (www.ticketmaster.co.uk), and via the ticket hotline +44 (0) 1782 742998. The phone lines will be open from 09.00 to 17.00, Monday to Friday.