Colin Montgomerie will defend a Major title for the first time in his long career when he plays the 2015 Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid this week, and he is relishing the challenge which French Lick in Indiana presents.
The European Senior Tour season tees off this week and there is no fitting way to kick things off than for the 2014 John Jacobs Trophy winner return to the event which ended a career-long wait for a Major title.
The Scot was five times a runner-up in regular Major Championships throughout a hugely successful career during which he dominated European golf for many years, finishing as The European Tour’s Number One player no less than eight times, including seven in a row from 1993-1999.
But his wait ended last year at Harbour Shores in Michigan and Montgomerie is honoured and delighted to be defending the prestigious title this week.
“I haven’t retained this yet and I would love to do that,” said the victorious 2010 Ryder Cup Captain. “I liked having it and would like to hold on to it. I don’t want to give it up.
“It felt very much like a Major Championship (last year), I had a very similar feeling walking up the fairway at Harbour Shores. Looking at the leaderboard, it wasn’t very much different to the regular Majors.
“Langer was there, there was Couples, there was Perry, there was Watson on the leaderboard so there was a Major Championship feel to it. It has really put those doubts to rest and opened a new door. There is no other sport where you can open up a new chapter at 50 and start again.”
The 51 year old is fascinated by this week’s course, although he was surprised by the weather he has experienced there thus far.
“I’ve played a lot of Pete Dye courses, but this is right up there,” said the man they call Monty. “It’s right up there with the best of them. This golf course is a championship golf course in every way you could imagine.
“This is a terrific, terrific venue. There’s not a weak hole on the course. There’s a bunch of good ones but not a weak one out here. I’m thrilled to be here in Indiana.”
“It’s a wee bit colder than I thought it would be,” he said with a chuckle. “I haven’t been to Indiana before … but I look forward to returning in four weeks.”
Montgomerie is joined by numerous Europeans, including three-time Senior Major winner Bernhard Langer and Welshman Ian Woosnam, who claimed his maiden US Champion Tour title earlier this month to earn a place at French Lick.