Et tu, Monty? First Tiger. Now Colin Montgomerie. The Fleet Street tabs are atwitter over word that the European Ryder Cup captain has confessed to cheating on his wife with his ex-lover Joanne Baldwin. According to the Mirror:
Monty, 47, has now ended the relationship in a desperate attempt to ensure his wife Gaynor Knowles stays with him. He said in a statement last night: “I have put my marriage under considerable strain but we are working through these problems. I am very sorry for the hurt I have caused to the ones I love so much. I would ask that my family and I are given the space and privacy to continue trying to resolve the issues. I will be making no further comment.”
If this an elaborate ploy by Monty to take attention off his players in the run-up to the Ryder Cup, kudos to el capitan. Though we're guessing not. More likely is that he has yet to read Paul Azinger's new book on Ryder Cup strategy, in particular Chapter 12: Don't Cheat on Your Wife Four Months Before the Ryder Cup (Especially If She Helped You Pick Out Your Uniforms). Still, Montgomerie's indiscretion does inject some additional drama into the event, as we'll now obsess over both his captain's picks … and his date. Cutthroat golf Down UnderIf the PGA Tour's regimented, grind-it-out format has you clicking over to Man vs. Food reruns on Saturday afternoons, a new tournament sanctioned by the Australian PGA Tour may be more your style. Dubbed the Surfcoast Knockout — which kicks the pants off, say, the St. Jude Classic presented by Smith & Nephew — the cutthroat event will be held Jan. 20-23 just outside Melbourne, reports the Herald Sun.
A full field will play traditional stroke play for the first three rounds, including a halfway cut, before the event's revolutionary selling points. A second cut will be made after 54 holes, reducing the field to 32 and setting the stage for knockout matchplay on Sunday. These matches will be played over just six holes with sudden-death playoffs to split ties. PGA officials have also arranged course routing — the challenging six-hole out-and-back loop of holes 10, 11, 12, 16, 17 and 18 — to maximize crowd involvement and set up for another first with prime-time TV coverage of the semi-finals and final.
Tough to speculate how the pros will react to the format — my guess is they'll love it — but the tournament has already attracted some big names. Among those Aussies already committed to play: Stuart Appleby, Peter Lonard, Craig Parry, Stephen Leaney and Peter Senior. It's 10 o'clock. Do you know where your American LPGA stars are?For all the hype surrounding the surge of lethal 20-something Americans on the PGA Tour, the LPGA — as if we need another reminder — can't buy a U.S. star. Kevin Currie of The Sports Network spells out Mike Whan's headache:
The LPGA Tour is one-third of the way through its season, and there has only been one American winner, with that lone victory coming in an unofficial event. The perception is that there are more quality American women golfers then ever, yet a quick glance at the top of the Women's World Golf Rankings, and you will find just 20 Americans among the top-100. In that group are Michelle Wie, Paula Creamer and Natalie Gulbis – huge names to be sure – but that fame hasn't translated to a lot of titles lately. Wie owns the last win by an American, last November, which was 10 official tour events ago. Creamer is easily the most accomplished of the above trio, with eight LPGA Tour titles, but has basically missed the entire season after withdrawing from the first event with an injury. In the midst of her ninth season, Gulbis has been the poster girl for the tour since her first appearance. However, she has won just one event thus far.
But, hey, look at the bright side: Christina Kim wrote a book! Calc looks forward to "screwing up" on senior circuitWith the list of Champions Tour newbees (F. Couples, M. O'Meara, B. Langher, T. Lehman) starting to resemble a PGA Tour leader board from 1994, the geezer circuit is becoming an increasingly attractive product — to both fans and media alike. The next big-name rook to joins the ranks? Mark Calcavecchia, who turns 50 on June 12 and is sure to draw crowds on the senior loop, if not on the course then certainly in the interview room. Calc's long been one of the best quotes in golf, and he gave the Canadian Press some gems this week:
"It's a great change of pace," he said [of the Champions Tour]. "New courses, new towns, new holes to screw up. I'm tried of screwing up the same holes every year." The Memorial will be his 737th PGA Tour event. He's won 13 times and made 516 cuts while cashing almost US$24 million in cheques. Those stats speak to his longevity, his talent and his competitiveness.
Memorial gallery reprimands 6-year-oldFinally, a cute story yesterday from The Memorial, where Tiger Woods' approach to the sixth green doinked a sprinkler head and bounded over the green. According to a Columbus Dispatch dispatch, when the ball came to rest in the gallery, 6-year-old Kaleb Hoch dashed over and picked it up, much to the dismay of his fellow fans.
They yelled for the boy to drop it, grandfather Tony Bonfiglio said. His mother Andrea Hoch said that Kaleb was on model behavior before he "ran to the ball like a rabbit." Woods asked for a ruling, but because the marshal did not see the original lie, it was ruled a drop. Woods went on to bogey on the par-4 hole. "You wouldn't do something like that again would you?" Bonfiglio asked his grandson. Kaleb shook his head no.
New Rule: If you're under 10 years old and you find a ball a PGA Tour event, it's yours to keep.