FORMER Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie insists it is only a matter of time before Rory McIlroy recovers from his Masters capitulation to win a first Major.
The eight-time European Order of Merit winner believes McIlroy’s challenge fell apart in spectacular fashion on the final day at Augusta because he panicked as the chasing pack closed in.
However, Montgomerie is convinced the Ulsterman has the talent and resolve to bounce back and plans to offer words of advice to the youngster, who was in his Ryder Cup winning side at Celtic Manor last year.
“He was in a position to change his life forever but that didn’t happen. The advantage he has is that he is only 21 and you have to remember that,” Montgomerie told City A.M.
“Look at the guys that were behind him: they were all really good. Look what Tiger Woods started doing, God. They were all coming at him and he probably didn’t know where to turn.
“There is a negative, of course, but there are more positives. He led the Masters after 63 holes, and handled himself brilliantly before and after.
“It is certainly not if he is going to win one, it is when. He has the world at his fingertips. “I haven’t spoken to him yet but I will do as a member of my team to firstly give him sympathy, and to then tell him that he is very fortunate that he is 21.”
Another man who fell short at the Masters was McIlroy’s Ryder Cup team mate Lee Westwood, whose failure to win a Major continues to taint the world No2’s exceptional record. Montgomerie, who spent 400 weeks in the world’s top 10 and is a five-time Major runner-up, sympathises.
“The world rankings are what they are; he didn’t set them up,” the Scot adds. “He doesn’t get much credit because he hasn’t won a Major but I got to No2, never won a Major and nobody ever says much about my achievements. Probably people don’t really realise where I was finishing on a regular basis.”
The 47-year-old who is in the midst of writing an autobiography, entitled Monty, and dabbled as a TV commentator in Augusta, but still has ambitions on the fairways.
“I didn’t want to like it but I did quite enjoy it actually,” he says of broadcasting. “At the same time I’m still a golfer. I want to get back on the golf course and get back to winning.”
Factfile: Colin Montgomerie
l Five-times a runner-up in the Majors
l Topped the European Order of Merit on eight occasions including a streak of seven consecutively between 1993 and 1999
l Won a total of 23.5 Ryder Cup points, only 1.5 points behind the record held by Nick Faldo. Captained Europe to victory last September