Hong Kong-bound Colin Montgomerie now has a new title to add to his eight Order of Merit crowns and 41 tournament victories worldwide – Order of the British Empire.
The Scottish ace – one of the stars of next week’s UBS Hong Kong Open – kept an important appointment at Buckingham Palace to collect his OBE from Prince Charles.
And “Monty” had no hesitation in dedicating his award to his teammates in Europe’s victorious 2004 Ryder Cup squad.
“This was awarded on behalf of the Ryder Cup team,” he said. “We won in America and I was probably the oldest player. I was the one at the helm, I suppose, and in a way I take it for them, the whole team. It’s nice to be rewarded again for one’s accomplishments, this one especially.”
Montgomerie’s superb performance at Oakland Hills, Michigan, last year was pivotal to Europe’s overall success. One of captain Bernhard Langer’s wild cards – a selection endorsed by all his teammates – Montgomerie was recognised as the on-course captain and played the part to perfection.
He was dominant from beginning to end, striking the opening tee shot in the crucial first morning fourball on his way to victory with Padraig Harrington over Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, and holing the winning putt on Sunday on the final green to beat David Toms in the singles.
Montgomerie, 42, who attended Buckingham Palace with his ex-wife and children, had already received the MBE in 1998.
He recently won a record-breaking eighth European Tour Order of Merit title to add to the seven in a row he achieved from 1993-99.
“At the end of the year I got going a bit and holed a few crucial putts at the right time,” he said. “Also, being at the right place at the right time, you fall into a winner’s position.”
Montgomerie will be one of the favourites to win the UBS Hong Kong Open when it is held at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling from December 1-4.
Also in the field will be defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain, 2003 champion Padraig Harrington of Ireland and Asia’s top-ranked player, KJ Choi of Korea.