Colin Montgomerie concerned over Saudi threat

Colin Montgomerie Dubai

Colin Montgomerie has been outspoken on the big issues facing golf in recent times.

Last week he warned the Old Course at St Andrews could be struck from the Open rotaas a result of increasing driving distances. 

Now the Scottish legend has waded into the row over the threat of a new Saudi-backed Asian Tour. 

The circuit has been boosted by a $200 million investment by the Saudi government’s Public Investment Fund, contributing to allegations of “sportswashing”.

• Montgomerie fears 'the end' for Old Course Opens

It has also led to fears of a breakaway Super League in the men’s game. 

Speaking the BBC, Montgomerie lamented the collapse in the relationship between the DP World Tour and its Asian counterpart – and called on the game’s two main circuits to “see off” the challenge to avoid a “seismic shift” in the game.

"It's a shame it's come to this,” Monty said.  

“We used to work well with the Asian Tour and now we are at loggerheads because of money. 

"It's a problematic issue. It's that horrible, evil word, money. The mighty dollar ruling people's hearts and minds. 

• Mackenzie Hughes cost by marshal error

"We never played the game for money as such on the European Tour [now DP World Tour] when I first started out. I was trying to see how much better I could get as a golfer. Now it's all about that evil word, money. 

"It's a shame. Let's hope the European Tour is closer to the PGA Tour than we've ever been before and we can fight it off. 

"We've had a couple of these ideas before, other leagues trying to damage the game which was never broken. The PGA and European Tours are not broken, they are in good health. So why try to fix something that isn't broken?" 

The 58-year-old also criticised the amount of money on offer to the top stars, insisting it should have been used to promote the women’s game.

But Montgomerie admitted the decision to turn down an invitation to the Saudi International would have been difficult for players because of the “scary” sums. 

• Adam Scott details major 'unfinished business'

"As self-employed individuals, can you blame them? But they've got to remember where they started and give some of that back," he said. 

"The ruling bodies of the European and American tours have said if you go the Saudi way then forget about the Ryder Cup, forget being captain and playing. 

"It's going to be an interesting few months ahead."

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