Colin Montgomerie: Big hitters could mean “the end” for Opens at St Andrews

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Eight-time Order of Merit winner Colin Montgomerie fears big hitters could see St Andrews struck off the Open rota.

The Old Course will host the 150th edition of the game’s oldest major this summer. 

But Monty believes it could be the last time due to the damage the game’s power players such as Bryson DeChambeau could inflict.

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Speaking to the Daily Mail after his practice round at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, 2010 Ryder Cup captain said the potential effect on the course “hardly bears thinking about”. 

“Can you imagine what will happen if the weather is good and there’s little wind?”, he said. 

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“Bryson will stand up there and think six or seven holes on the course are driveable. The par-five fifth will be a joke, with a flick of a wedge for his second shot. 

"As for the par-four 18th, remember all the excitement back in the day when Jack Nicklaus became the first man to drive the green? They were hitting it with three woods back when I finished second to Tiger in 2005 and this year they will be hitting it with irons. That would be really sad if that happens.

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"Think about the first hole, where the burn in front of the green is 340 yards from the tee. For Bryson, that’s doable. Imagine him taking that on and driving the green? That would be the end. There’d be no way back from that." 

Monty also spoke out about the situation facing the DP World Tour, suffering from the effects of increasing purses on the PGA Tour and the threat of breakaway tournaments.

“Collin Morikawa is a lovely fella and a fantastic player, Billy Horschel, too. But having them at one and two on the list last year just didn’t sit well with me.  

"I’m sure they would agree that it wasn’t quite right. They hardly played in any ‘pure’ European Tour events. Look at Morikawa—he was back in the pack in Dubai last year and he was almost last of those who made the cut at the Scottish Open. Yet he won the Order of Merit. There’s something not quite right about that." 

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“I also mourn the demise in stature of so many European events,” he added. 

“When I won the Scandinavian Masters in 1991, Seve was second, Woosie was third and Faldo was fourth. They turned up for nothing and played. That doesn’t happen anymore, which is a pity. All the national Opens don’t get the fields they deserve. So the end result is that the Race to Dubai doesn’t resonate like it used to.”

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