Proud Montgomerie welcomes world to family home at Troon
TROON, Scotland (AP) — The latest from the British Open (all times local to Scotland):
Colin Montgomerie will wake at 4.30 a.m. on Thursday, make the short trip in the dark to Royal Troon and welcome the golfing world to his family home.
In front of his 86-year-old father, Montgomerie will hit the first shot at the 145th — and possibly his last — British Open and then walk the links course he calls his own.
Montgomerie says “this is where I started playing. This is home.”
The 53-year-old Montgomerie is playing in his first Open Championship in six years after getting through qualifying. He has said he won’t attempt to qualify again, so this could be his last shot at the claret jug.
The Scot took his first golf shot at Troon as a 6-year-old and his childhood home is on a street next to the course. He is an honorary member and his father, James, is a past secretary and will soon be the club’s president.
Jordan Spieth is out of the Olympics.
International Golf Federation president Peter Dawson announced the decision at the British Open. Spieth had been strongly debating whether to go over the last three days before reaching his decision on Monday.
He will be replaced by Matt Kuchar.
That means golf’s return to the Olympics after 112-year absence will not include the top four players in the world — Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Spieth, and Rory McIlroy.
Todd Hamilton is back at Royal Troon for the first time since his improbable British Open triumph a dozen years ago.
Hamilton says he couldn’t even remember how to get to the driving range, so he had to ask someone for directions.
Why hasn’t he returned before now?
Hamilton says it had nothing to do with superstition. He just “always wanted to have good memories and didn’t want to mess it up by coming here and hitting a drive in a bunker where I shouldn’t or three-putting a hole.”
Tiger Woods is sitting out the British Open.
He’s still having an impact on players such as Jason Day.
The world’s top-ranked golfer says he learned plenty of lessons on mental toughness and course management from Woods, a three-time Open champion who is notably absent from Royal Troon.
Woods is recovering from back surgery and has yet to play in a tournament this year.
According to Day, Woods could usually find a way to stay in contention even when he didn’t have his best stuff, and no one was better at pulling away when he was striking the ball well.
Day says he tries to incorporate some of those lessons into his own game.
Zach Johnson has turned in the claret jug.
The defending British Open champion held the silver trophy for the past year after winning a three-man playoff at St. Andrews. He describes the turnover as a bittersweet moment, but one that he hopes will give him motivation going into this week’s tournament at Royal Troon.
During his time with the jug, Johnson took it everywhere from the club where he grew up learning the game to the 50-yard line of Kinnick Stadium, home of the American football team at the University of Iowa. To close things out, Johnson filled the jug with wine for one final toast with his buddies.
Johnson handed the trophy over to Royal & Ancient chief Martin Slumbers. It was taken away by a pair of security guards, to be held in a safe place until it’s given out late Sunday evening to the next Open champion.
Colin Montgomerie gets to hit the opening tee shot at Royal Troon in what likely will be his final British Open.
Montgomerie’s father was a longtime secretary at Royal Troon, so this effectively is his home course on the Open rotation. The 53-year-old Scot went through final local qualifying to make it back to golf’s oldest championship.
Montgomerie will be joined in the first group at 6:35 a.m. Thursday with Luke Donald and Marc Leishman, who lost in a playoff at St. Andrews last year.
Jason Day, the world’s No. 1 player, has been drawn with Rickie Fowler and Masters champion Danny Willett.
U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson plays with Martin Kaymer and Russell Knox.
Jordan Spieth is with Justin Rose and Shane Lowry.
Rory McIlroy is with Bubba Watson and Hideki Matsuyama.