CARNOUSTIE, Scotland — The Colin Montgomerie Comedy Show, the traditional entertainment on the eve of the Open, was its usual sold-out, standing-room-only hit.
For a guy who has frequent run-ins with clicking photographers and spectators who exhale at the wrong time, Monty was asked how he felt about mobile phones being banned for the first time at the British Open. With a chuckle and a glint in his eye, he delivered his punch line with understated, self-deprecating timing.
“Oh, I’m fine with mobile phones going off and photographers on the course,” he said. “It’s the other players that the ban was brought in for. The likes of Retief (Goosen). People like that, who get really upset over these types of things. I’m fine.”
His adoring fans — sorry, the reporters — gave him a big laugh. Of course, we could all get the stomping, grumpy, not-now Monty if he shoots 74 tomorrow. He would settle for a replica of his Carnoustie course record — a 64 in the Scottish Open in 1995 when it played as a par 72.
Monty says he is hitting the ball as well as he has in years, and he believes his knowledge of the course could give him his best chance to finally win a major.
“People say that coming up to 44 is seniors golf,” he said. “Well, that doesn’t interest me. I’m still in my prime. I just won 10 days ago (at the European Open).
“I’ve just beaten 155 other competitors. It’s not a bad effort.”
But then Monty admitted that he has never considered himself a world-beater, despite his Ryder Cup record and eight European Order of Merit titles.
“A world-beater wins many majors, and I haven’t,” he said. “I’ve done OK, I’ve come close with five second places. But I never classified myself as a world-beater.”
Blunt honesty from the world No. 33. Monty played the 18th late on Tuesday night with a drive and a 3-wood to 10 feet.
“That was world-beating,” he said. He didn’t even bother to putt out. And what does he remember about that course record?
“A 64 was bloody good.” He paused for comedic effect. “World-beating, in fact.”
The last laugh went to Monty. But if his temperamental putter fails him on Thursday, it’ll be no laughing matter for anyone who crosses his path.