The oldest card-carrying member of the European Tour is headed across the pond as the youngest member of the PGA Champions Tour.
Colin Montgomerie turns 50 on Sunday. He will make his first appearance on the Champions Tour in style starting next week, playing in three consecutive majors before his regular event debut at the 3M Championship in Blaine the week of July 29.
“You don’t normally look forward to a birthday, do you, when you get towards 50?” Montgomerie said. “But in golfing terms, you do. We’re very fortunate. In other sports you would be well gone at 50.”
Via phone from Munich on Thursday after shooting a 1-under-par 71 at the BMW International Open, the Scot repeatedly expressed excitement about joining a new tour for the first time in 25 years.
He has never won a professional event on North American soil, although he does own four runner-up finishes in majors here. Montgomerie missed the cut in his two PGA Championship tries at Hazeltine National, in 2002 and ’09.
The 2010 European Ryder Cup captain has played regularly on the European Tour since 1988, collecting 31 titles but none since 2007.
“Right now I’m playing against guys that are well under half my age; I’ve got children older than them and it doesn’t seem fair,” Montgomerie said. “When I get to America [on Monday for the Senior Players Championship], I feel I’m on more of a level playing field.”
Joining the Champions Tour wasn’t always in Montgomerie’s plans. That changed three years ago when Montgomerie still felt fit enough to compete at a high level.
“Fifty was old,” he said. “I thought I’d be retiring and I would drive my wife nuts being home all the time.
“I’m better off doing what I do best, which is play golf, and I look forward to the competition almost more than the love of the game of golf. I’m very competitive still and I’ve remained hungry, hungry for success.”
The biggest hole on Montgomerie’s World Golf Hall of Fame résumé is a major championship. On the Champions Tour, there are five chances annually.
“Any major championship, I think, would fulfill a dream,” he said, noting Fred Couples’ first victory in Britain at the Senior Open at Turnberry last July. “I do look forward to it.”