COLIN Montgomerie yesterday expressed his pride at being crowned the European Senior Tour’s No 1 player.
The Scot signed off a sensational 2014 season in Mauritius by receiving the John Jacobs Trophy after finishing sixth in the MCB Tour Championship, winning an Order of Merit crown for the ninth time in his career – having topped the European Tour’s money list a record eight times.
Montgomerie claimed four Senior Tour titles, including two Senior Major Championships, during a record-breaking 2014 campaign, winning the Order of Merit with earnings of €624,543 -–the highest in the history of the Senior Tour, comfortably beating Carl Mason’s previous 2007 benchmark of €412,376.
The 2010 European Ryder Cup Captain becomes just the second former European Tour Number One to repeat the feat on the Senior Tour, matching the achievement of another former Ryder Cup captain, Ian Woosnam, in 2008.
“To win an Order of Merit again really does mean a lot,” said Montgomerie. “It has been a very special year, winning two Majors in America and twice back in Europe, and now capping it off with this.”
Montgomerie’s marvellous Senior Tour season began with victory in the US Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores in Michigan, where he claimed his first official victory on American soil, finishing four strokes clear of US Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson.
Like Englishman Roger Chapman in 2012, the 51-year-old then added the US Senior Open title two months later, defeating Gene Sauers in a play-off at Oak Tree National in Oklahoma after trailing by four shots going into the final round.
That gave Montgomerie the chance of a clean sweep of the Senior Majors only previously achieved by Gary Player in 1988 when he returned to Wales, the country where he led Europe to Ryder Cup glory four years ago, for The Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex, at Royal Porthcawl.
However, he had to settle for second place this time, as Germany’s Bernhard Langer produced what was one of the stand-out performances in the history of senior golf to win by an astonishing 13 strokes.
Montgomerie produced his own impressive display of front-running to defend the Travis Perkins Masters by ten shots at Woburn Golf Club at the end of August, and won again the following week at the Russian Open Golf Championship (Senior), finishing three shots clear of Canadian Rick Gibson to wrap up the Senior Tour Order of Merit.