Why did Colin Montgomerie carry the torch in my city, asks Paul Lawrie
PAUL Lawrie, the former Open champion, has expressed his disbelief over fellow Scottish golfer Colin Montgomerie carrying the Olympic Torch in Aberdeen, claiming it had been a snub to himself and other sporting figures in the Granite City.
Montgomerie, the former Ryder Cup captain, paraded the flame through the city centre on Monday night – one of 109 torchbearers on day 24 of its marathon relay.
Dressed in his white tracksuit, he was cheered by the huge crowds lining the streets but, at the same time, many people were left wondering why it was being carried in Aberdeen by someone who was born in Glasgow and now lives in Perthshire.
Speaking yesterday in Irvine, where he was attending an event to celebrate Wilson Golf’s 50th anniversary in the Ayrshire town, Lawrie, 43, an Aberdonian, revealed his bemusement.
“Personally, I don’t think Monty should have been carrying it,” he said. “It should be people who have competed in the Olympics, or have connections with the area the torch is going through.
“It’s not for me to tell people he [Montgomerie] shouldn’t have been doing it, but there’s a guy who lives in my road called David Carry, who swam in the Olympics [four years ago in Beijing] and I don’t think he was asked.
“I’m sure he [Montgomerie] loved it and people enjoyed seeing him, but there’s plenty of people in Aberdeen who could have carried the torch with connections to either Aberdeen or the Olympics.”
Despite being Scotland’s only winner of a men’s major in nearly 25 years, Lawrie was not asked to carry the torch at any part of its journey through the North-east, where he has established a successful junior foundation on the back of his 1999 Open triumph at Carnoustie.
“No-one contacted me,” added the world No29, Scotland’s top-ranked player and nearly 400 places above Montgomerie, who has not won on the European Tour for nearly five years.
“It’s a bit like the [captaincy for the 2014] Ryder Cup at Gleneagles – you’ve got to be asked about something like that, and it’s the same with the torch. But it’s not for me to be telling people, either, that I should have been carrying the torch.”
Games organisers LOCOG last night defended their decision to choose Montgomerie to carry the torch.
A spokesman said: “We have a number of slots for inspirational people, and we wanted Colin Montgomerie to run with the torch as one of those people. He’s from Scotland so, when a slot was available in Aberdeen, we put him there. If a slot had been available nearer his home we would have used that.
“There are obviously a lot of worthy people from Aberdeen, but there are a limited number of slots. It’s not that we’re trying to snub anyone from Aberdeen. I would have thought lots of people would be happy to see Colin carrying the torch in Scotland.”
Lawrie’s comments came on the same day he revealed that he had received an apology from Montgomerie for getting his name wrong in a recently published autobiography.
The eight-time European No1 repeatedly refers to his 1999 Ryder Cup playing partner as Peter Lawrie, an Irishman who also plays on the European Tour.
“I’ve had a text from Colin,” revealed Lawrie. “It was obviously one of those things that it is more embarrassing for him than me. It’s not his fault, we know that”
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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