Monty in Ryder Cup mode at rain-hit Scottish Open

Colin Montgomerie will adopt a gung-ho Ryder Cup approach at the

truncated Scottish Open after his hopes of qualifying for a 22nd

straight British Open took a nosedive.

The former Ryder Cup captain needs a top-five finish at Castle

Stuart to stand a chance of claiming the final qualifying spot for

non-exempt players for the year’s third major, which starts at

Royal St. George’s on Thursday.

However, with the Scottish Open now reduced to three rounds

because of torrential rain and thunderstorms in the Highlands which

wiped out play on Saturday, Montgomerie finds himself five shots

off the pace with a maximum 27 holes remaining.

”I’m running out of time, especially with it being a

three-round event now,” he said. ”I’ve got to think Ryder Cup

play now. I’ve got to think about not leaving a putt short, I’ve

got to think about putting for a half over the next 27 holes. They

have to go.

”My chances are reduced. I needed 72 holes.”

More than six centimeters of rain fell in the space of five

hours early on Saturday, causing landslides on some parts of the

links course. Further storms broke throughout the morning and

afternoon, preventing any play on the third day.

It’s the first time the Scottish Open has been shortened to 54

holes – and it couldn’t have come at a worse time for

Montgomerie.

”Those leaders in the clubhouse (Graeme McDowell, Scott

Jamieson and Peter Whiteford) now are laughing, they’re having a

big laugh at us. I would be,” he said. ”The golf course will be

very different to when we started. It’ll be longer, placing of the

ball will be an issue.

”I’ve been up in this area for a long time now and we have

courtesy-car drivers who are 65 years of age and haven’t seen the

likes of this before. None of us have. We are very unfortunate to

have this, especially with 11 p.m. daylight. This is extreme to say

the least. It’s incredible. It’s a freak condition.”

While Montgomerie resorted to ”messing around at my hotel”

during the prolonged rain breaks, other golfers went further

afield.

”I hear Ernie Els is over at (nearby) Skibo Castle this

afternoon on the archery, learning how to arch,” Montgomerie said

of the South African, a double Scottish Open winner and three-time

major champion. ”Hope he doesn’t hurt himself while he’s

away.”