Colin Montgomerie admitted his eyes lit up when he realised the Senior Open would be played on the famous King’s Course at Gleneagles.
When he saw Gleneagles was the venue, Monty assumed it would be the longer, gruelling PGA Centenary Course in use – as it was tour events and the Ryder Cup.
But even his own sore memories of the King’s from as far back as 1992 didn’t detract from his delight that the James Braid classic was the course in play this week.
‘We are both playing Gleneagles again’
— Martin Smith (@tinogreenkeeper) July 15, 2022
Then, Monty was in his famous saltire sweater as he tried to win the Bell’s Scottish Open – only to be overwhelmed by Australia’s Peter O’Malley.
“I’ve just had breakfast with my nemesis, Peter,” he said. “He shares the same birthday as me – June 23 – but that’s the only thing we share right now.
“When he finished seven-under for the last five holes to beat me here, it was fantastic for him and it’s great for Gleneagles that we are both playing here again.
“I am delighted to be here. I think it’s a great course for us to play. The King’s Course has a lot more character than the PGA Centenary Course down the road.
“It’s great that we’re playing it, I think it’s fantastic. As soon as I heard Gleneagles I thought, oh no, it’ll be on the PGA Centenary Course.
“With all due respect to it, it’s a hell of a walk, especially from the second to the third, Christ, you’re knackered. I’m rather glad it’s not there and we’re back to the traditional golf here.”
The King’s was maybe neglected a little as the hotel focused on the PGA Centenary and the Ryder Cup. Now it’s restored to the glorious condition when it hosted successive Bell’s Scottish Opens in the 1980s and 90s.
‘The course is as we remember’
Peter O’Malley. A pure ballstriker who led the driving accuracy stat in Europe many times.
In 1992 Scottish Open at Gleneagles he finished 7 under last 5 holes to take it from local favourite Monty. Drove the par 4 14th for eagle, then 3 birdies before eagle again on the 72nd. pic.twitter.com/jn6nQqGB49
— The Golf Library (@GolfLibrary) November 1, 2021
“I think it’s in fantastic shape, they’ve done a great job,” added Monty. “There’s not so many changes around the greens. There’s just a couple of new tees.
“They’ve put the tees back 40 yards so a number of us are trying to get over a couple of the saddles – one on 12 and the famous one on 18.
“Apart from that, the course is as we remember. There are good shots to be hit and you are rewarded for good shots whereas bad shots are penalised and that’s what we want.”
Golf’s in a different world than Monty had during his heyday, and he’s happy where he is now.
“It’s different isn’t it, it’s changing, “ he said. “But I’m not here to discuss any other tours. I’ll discuss the PGA Tour, which I’m a member of, the DP World Tour, the Legends Tour.
“I don’t want to discuss anything I’m not a member of nor ever will be.
“I’ve had no offers, and quite rightly too! I’m 59 now. Even if there was an offer, I’d stay put.”