Colin Montgomerie may have his critics, but not many can match his experience and authority in the commentary box
Many rejoiced when Colin Montgomerie confirmed his place at the Open Championship last week through final qualifying at Gailes Links. However, while lots of those were hoping for a fairytale first Major for the 53-year-old, there were others celebrating the fact it would limit his time in the Sky Sports commentary box.
Since Monty made the transition from player to pundit he has divided opinion among those who follow the game. Many believe the Scot’s capacity to crowbar in a reference to his own achievements is nearly as impressive as his ability to find the fairway at the height of his career. But Monty has far more to offer the viewer than the occasional smug criticism of an underachieving tour pro for which he seems to have become famous.
Firstly, there are not many European golfers out there who can offer the same insight and expertise. He won a record eight European Order of Merits and is fourth on the all-time list of European Tour wins. Add to that five second-place Major finishes, eight Ryder Cup appearances where he never lost a singles match, and captaining Europe to victory at Celtic Manor, he has earned the right to be a little judgemental when he sees something he believes is less than perfect.
This huge experience has also given him a vast knowledge of the courses and conditions players encounter in both Europe and America. Being someone who has ‘been there and done it’ gives him a certain gravitas that not many of his Sky Sports colleagues can offer.
Related: Open Championship Golf Betting Tips
Don’t get me wrong, people like Mark Roe, David Howell, Wayne Riley, Nick Dougherty and Howard Clark have all played at the top level for years and do a fine job of describing the action, but if you add their tour wins together it still doesn’t come close to Monty’s record.
He may come across as big-headed and pompous at times but this just adds to the entertainment for me. Too many pros and ex-players can fall into the trap of not wanting to upset those who they still share a locker room with, but this doesn’t seem to bother Monty. If he sees something he believes should have been done differently, he doesn’t hold back in pointing it out.
If he does this by recounting one or two of his own experiences or achievements then this just adds a bit of colour that not many of his contemporaries can offer. If he suggests he would have done it better, nine times out of ten that was probably the case. It’s refreshing to hear someone with forthright opinions who is not afraid to air them.
For this year’s Open at Royal Troon you can add in the fact that Monty knows the course better than almost anyone. His father was once the club secretary there and he grew up playing the links which will give him a pretty good understanding of what tests the players face.
So I for one will be cheering on Monty every step of the way when he tees it up on Thursday. But, if come Friday night he finds himself the wrong side of the cut line, I can think of no better man to guide us through the rest of the action in an authoritative and entertaining way.