Golf Tidbits: Winning majors now old hat for Monty

Philadelphia, PA ( - There have been plenty of players that made up for lost time on the Champions Tour. It is tough to lump Colin Montgomerie into that category, but he is winning majors on the senior circuit, which is one thing he hadn't done before.

The Scotsman played 72 majors on the PGA Tour and never won. He finished second five times, including on three occasions at the U.S. Open.

In 10 Champions Tour majors, Montgomerie has won three titles, including last week's Senior PGA Championship, and finished second in another.

Though he never won a major on the regular tour, Montgomerie was dominant on the European Tour for years. He won a record eight Order of Merit titles thanks in part to his 31 tour wins. He stands fourth on the European Tour all- time wins list and has the most victories for a British player in tour history.

Montgomerie has taken a liking to the Champions Tour and the European Senior Tour, where he has continued his winning ways. His three major wins on the Champions Tour are his only victories on that circuit, but he also has six wins on the European Senior Tour in just 12 starts.

In 38 Champions Tour starts, he has posted seven top-3 finishes and has been in the top-10 20 times. Those results nearly match his totals from the PGA Tour, where he had 10 top-3s and 24 top-10s in 139 career events played.

Those totals are impressive, and what has been more impressive is Monty's interaction with the fans.

"The American crowd have embraced me and I've embraced them," he said Sunday at the trophy presentation.

That is the biggest upset of them all. While on the PGA Tour, Montgomerie was heckled, mercilessly at times, by the crowds in the United States. And he made it worse by acknowledging it.

Now, with a change in attitude, he interacts well with fans and plays to the crowd at times. Montgomerie's work on the Golf Channel has probably helped American fans see there is more to him than just a tough Scot.

The American fans turnaround is surprising from one aspect. Montgomerie crushed the United States in the Ryder Cup. As a player, he went 20-9-7, with a 6-0-2 record in singles. He was also the captain for the victorious 2010 European Ryder Cup team.

Fans have looked past those details and have gotten in Monty's corner.

Now, he's making up for lost time in winning majors and the fans have grown to appreciate one of the top players of the last few decades.


Chris Kirk is far from a household name as a PGA Tour player, but his win at Colonial was his third in the last three seasons on tour.

He is one of five players that has won at least once in the last three campaigns. Two other players that have yet to win this season have won in each of the previous three seasons as well.

Kirk rallied with a final-round 66 to beat three players, including Masters champion Jordan Spieth, by one stroke. The biggest of his four tour wins came last year when he won the second FedExCup playoff event, the Deutsche Bank Championship.

With his latest victory, Kirk has soared to fourth on the Presidents Cup points list. He hasn't locked up a spot on that team quite yet with three more majors and another World Golf Championship event to go this summer.

The increased points at those events will likely move others ahead of Kirk, unless he keeps up his winning ways.

Kirk helped the University of Georgia to an NCAA title in 2005, along with teammates and fellow PGA Tour pros Kevin Kisner and Brendon Todd.

Following his senior campaign, Kirk was awarded the Ben Hogan award, which is given annually to the college player that best combines academic and golfing excellence. Kirk became the first player to win that award and win the title at Colonial as a professional.

His name may not be known to the casual golf fan, but he has plenty of game and more people should take notice.


* Jarrod Lyle, who has twice beaten leukemia, announced he is taking a leave from the PGA Tour for the remainder of the season. He insisted the leave is not health related, he just wants to work on his game. In 10 PGA Tour starts this season, Lyle has made just three cuts and his best finish was a tie for 31st in his first start back in October.

* Padraig Harrington withdrew from the BMW PGA Championship last week with a frozen shoulder. It marked the first time in 375 career European Tour starts that he withdrew from an event due to injury.