The Donald To Monty: "You Made Winning Majors Look Easy!"

Enjoyable on so many levels...

 And the reply...

Speaking of Trump Turnberry, Iain Lowe has posted some stunning new aerials of the revamped course at his site.

Monty's Ex Testifying Against News International Chief

Lisa O'Carroll and Caroline Davies report on Eimar Cook's lively testimony in the Rebekah Brooks hacking trial.

Cook was accused of lying under oath about a lunch where Brooks bragged about News International's voice mail hacking skills.

Cook, who was married to the former European Ryder Cup team captain for 14 years from 1990, met Brooks at the suggestion of friends after finding herself the subject of press intrusion following the break up of her marriage, she said.

Describing the private lunch, which took place at the Knightsbridge home of mutual friends, Cook told the jury the four had enjoyed lighthearted conversation about celebrities.

"We discussed a lot of public figures, people in the media in a gossipy fun way. I think I remember we were laughing because she had been in her own newspaper because she had a domestic row with her husband and that it had made her newspaper and we were laughing at the irony of it."

Three years ago Monty was said to have sued to keep something out of the Daily Mail which is not part of the News International empire.

Poulter Doesn't Expect A Monty Ryder Redux

Alex Miceli quotes Ian Poulter expressing his dread at the question of Tom Watson getting the 2014 Ryder Cup captaincy and, with plenty of stipulations to not get in trouble, his surprise.

He's also is asked if Colin Montgomerie has a shot in the next few weeks to get the nod to match the buzz surrounding Watson's choice.

“I think it's between Darren (Clarke) and Paul McGinley.”

Monty's Induction Sparking Outrage?

I certainly agree with all of Gary Williams' points about the World Golf Hall of Fame voting and criteria, though I'm a little surprised at the outrage expressed on Twitter over Colin Montgomerie's selection when he at least has on-course successes to point to.

It's the cronyism and overall oy factor behind selections like George H. Bush and now Ken Schofield that I find detrimental to the Hall's street cred.

For those who will scream that no criteria will create total chaos I would point to every other Hall of Fame. Outside of removal from the game for a certain number of years there are no benchmarks that players must hit for eligibility. Many things about golf are not analogous to other sports but in this case it most certainly is and leave it up to the voters to know, or at least feel, when it's time for a player to take his place in St. Augustine.

For the Monty skeptics, Daniel Wexler takes a closer look at his record and can't even get excited about the "superhuman" order of merit success cited by George O'Grady.

Third, while one can surely only beat the competition that's put in front of them, a quick glance inside Monty's halcyon 1993-1999 run indicates that in winning his seven straight Orders of Merit, he averaged exactly 20 official E Tour starts per season.  And what of his primary competition?  Jose Maria Olazabal was next with an average of 18 annual starts - but that's not including the 1995 and '96 campaigns which he missed entirely due to injury.  Seve Ballesteros averaged 17.2 E Tour starts during these years, but was clearly well beyond his elite form before Monty's run even began.  Ian Woosnam also averaged 17.2 starts in this period, while Bernhard Langer weighed in at 16.7.  And then there was Sir Nick Faldo, who was also somewhat on the down side by the time Monty got rolling, but had already largely packed it off to America anyway, averaging only nine annual E Tour starts from 1993-1999.

So while seven consecutive Order of Merit titles is indeed impressive, Monty did manage to time them perfectly (peaking just when much of the competition was somewhat on the wane) and was aided in earning the most money simply by making the most starts.

Good On Monty: "Both Clarke and McGinley are respected in the game and great candidates."

I've been tough on Monty but good on him for apparently not even trying to put himself in the running for the 2014 Ryder Cup captaincy and instead, sounding like supports the idea of naming two captains at once next month when the European Tour's committee is likely to decide.
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April Fools Early: Monty & Ken Schofield In World Golf HOF

The standards for induction continue to be lowered. But not to worry, cronyism's alive and well!

For Immediate Release:

World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum completes Class of 2013 with Colin Montgomerie and Ken Schofield

European duo joins Couples, Venturi and Park Jr.

London (Dec. 18, 2012) – Colin Montgomerie and Ken Schofield share, as player and administrator respectively, a special affinity with both The European Tour and The Ryder Cup and they will be honored for their contribution to the game next year when they are inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum.

Montgomerie – elected through the International Ballot – and Schofield – selected through the Lifetime Achievement Category – will be honored along with fellow 2013 inductees Fred Couples, Willie Park Jr. and Ken Venturi at the Induction Ceremony on May 6, 2013, at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla. The Ceremony will once again kick off THE PLAYERS Championship week.

George O’Grady, The European Tour Chief Executive, and Jack Peter, the Hall of Fame Chief Operating Officer, made the official announcement at a press conference attended by both Montgomerie and Schofield prior to The Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Year Luncheon in London.

“This is a very special day for golf and for The European Tour,” O’Grady said. “Colin and Ken are unique individuals and their contribution to not only The European Tour, on and off the fairways, but also The Ryder Cup makes them both very worthy candidates for the World Golf Hall of Fame.

“Colin’s achievement in winning the Harry Vardon Trophy eight times, including seven in a row, took considerable talent, skill, imagination, endurance, physical strength and mental resilience. Any aspiring and ambitious golfer on The European Tour today craves the opportunity to win The Race to Dubai, which has succeeded the Order of Merit, just once – to  do it eight times is universally viewed as a superhuman feat.

Easy there George.

“Colin became European Number One for the eighth time in 2005 which, coincidentally, was the year I succeeded Ken. Unquestionably, Ken’s contribution to The European Tour is incalculable. His vision, passion and reservoir of knowledge established the foundations that we enjoy today and, like Colin, he has enthusiastically supported and taken enormous joy from Europe’s recent triumphs in The Ryder Cup.”

The accomplishments of both Montgomerie and Schofield have been recognized around the world.

"Ken and Colin are truly worthy of induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame,” said Mike Davis, USGA Executive Director and chairman of the World Golf Foundation Board of Directors. “These two men played huge roles in golf's international development in the late 20th century. Ken provided more opportunities for top players to compete around the world, while Colin took advantage of these opportunities and set an unmatched standard of prolonged excellence on The European Tour."

I'm guessing that was as torturous to write as it was to read.

“Colin Montgomerie and Ken Schofield are outstanding ambassadors of the game,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. “Each has made vital contributions to golf’s global expansion.

Vital!

Colin’s achievements on The European Tour and the Ryder Cup have gained him fans worldwide, while Ken’s tireless work during his time at The European Tour created new innovations and tremendous international growth. Congratulations to both Colin and Ken on this well-deserved honor.”

Montgomerie dominated The European Tour in the 1990s, finishing Number One seven times in succession from 1993 and then capturing another Harry Vardon Trophy in 2005. The Scot turned professional in 1987, following his second Walker Cup appearance, and won 31 European Tour titles – a record by a British player – including three successive PGA Championships at Wentworth Club and, in total, 40 tournaments worldwide.

In eight successive Ryder Cup appearances from 1991, Montgomerie created a remarkable record of being unbeaten in the singles with a 6-0-2 mark, in addition to winning 9 1/2 points from 14 foursomes and 7 points from 14 fourballs.  He then went on to captain the European Team, which regained The Ryder Cup at The Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, South Wales, in 2010.

Montgomerie, who received the MBE in 1998 and then the OBE in the 2005 New Year’s Honours List, will be eligible to compete on the European Senior Tour when he celebrates his 50th birthday on June 23 next year.

“It is a wonderful surprise to hear that I will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame next year,” Montgomerie said.

He's so modest.

“I know I am very fortunate to have enjoyed such a successful career playing the game I love and it makes me feel very proud that my achievements have been recognized in this way. While my eight Order of Merit wins were very special, as everyone knows my Ryder Cup experiences have provided the very best moments in my career and receiving this great honor is the icing on the cake. I am delighted that my dear friend Ken Schofield’s notable contribution to European golf will also be recognized at next year’s Ceremony and I look forward to sharing this special occasion with him.”

You know how I begged Golf Channel to televise the speeches live? Rescinded. This'll be the longest night ever!

Schofield became First Secretary and Executive Director of The European Tour on Jan. 1, 1975, succeeding John Jacobs. When he took the helm, The European Tour comprised 17 official events with an official prize fund of €599,084. When he retired at the end of 2004, there were 45 official events with official prize money of £106,010,654, in addition to 29 European Challenge Tour events and 21 European Senior Tour events. Schofield initiated global expansion for the game when he took The European Tour outside of the European continent for the first time in 1982 with the playing of the Tunisian Open. That began a structure whereby the Tour positioned itself internationally – co-sanctioned tournaments with other Tours now total 164 since the inaugural one in South Africa in 1995 – with more opportunity and incentive for the players in first the major championships then the World Golf Championships.

Since his retirement Schofield, born and raised in Perthshire, Scotland, where he became, at 23, Scotland’s youngest bank manager, has become an integral part of The Golf Channel’s broadcast team at The Ryder Cup and major championships. He also served for five years as President of The Golf Foundation, of which a founding member was Hall of Fame member Sir Henry Cotton, prior to being succeeded by Montgomerie. He is also on the board of several companies and organizations and was appointed CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 1996.

Oh, a CBE in the Queen's 1996 Birthday Honours List? I think half the country was on that list!

And the voting...

World Golf Hall of Fame Class of 2013
International Ballot Results
 
Candidate                                 Voting Results (%)
Colin Montgomerie                    51 %
Graham Marsh                           34
Ian Woosnam                            21
Padraig Harrington                    19
Retief Goosen                           18

Winning two majors never has had the same cache as those superhuman Orders of Merit!

Norman von Nida                      15
Max Faulkner                            7
Darren Clarke                            5
Miguel Angel Jimenez               2