Montgomerie turns back the clock
Colin Montgomerie during a media interaction at the Emirates Golf Club in Dubai.
Dubai - Montgomerie was last here in 2014 when the event celebrated its 25th anniversary
By James Jose
Published: Tue 23 Jan 2018, 8:23 PM
Last updated: Sun 28 Jan 2018, 1:40 PM
Colin Montgomerie made the long-haul trip from Los Angeles to Dubai but he didn't change the time on his watch. Perhaps, it was a bit of nostalgia for the Scotsman as he returned to the place where he made the most appearances since the inaugural edition when the Omega Dubai Desert Classic was known as the Karl Litten Classic. In a way, it was turning back the clock as Montgomerie, now 54, made his way to the Majlis Course on Tuesday.
The record eight-time European Tour Order of Merit winner made 24 appearances and won the tournament in 1996. His other best finishes include second to Fred Couples in 1995 and four top-10 finishes. A lot has changed since then.
"Yeah, people seem to recognise me. I don't know, caddies wearing shorts, can't recognise anybody, even Niall Horan. Terrible, isn't it. Niall Horan, he has more Twitter followers than I have for sure," Montgomerie joked.
"Yeah, it's a nice place to come, Dubai. It's always been a special special place this, for me on a personal front, and back, well, 22 years ago now, when I won here, but the times that I did come here, you know, and contend here, I really enjoyed it. I think the course has stood the test of time terrifically well over the years. Very few courses have had as little change as this one and stood the test of time. Karl Litten did a fantastic job in the design and the vision to make this place what it is. Superb, and it's great this year. Particularly, there's a very strong field, very, very strong field, as strong a field as I haven't witnessed for many, many years here in the Dubai Desert Classic, so everyone's excited about it," he added.
Montgomerie was last here in 2014 when the event celebrated its 25th anniversary. "I played here on the 25th anniversary. They invited the past winners back here. They give me a watch, so it's worth the trip (laughter). Didn't have to change it," said Montgomerie.
Montgomerie, who now plays on the PGA Tour Champions, arrived after competing in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai in Hawaii, where he also encountered, of all things a missile threat, which later turned out to be a false alarm.
"Of all places to land, you know, you could pick anywhere, couldn't you, really, and yet we picked the one place that was a missile threat. It was a weird sort of thing, because people were going down manholes and stuff. I mean, what the hell, that's no use. If I was going to sort of know it's going to end, I'd just about order a drink and sit on the beach and watch it happen, really. Because if you're going anyway, so you might as well just go out in style, other than down a bloody manhole. That's not the way to go, is it," he quipped.