"They used to call us aliens" European golf legend on PGA Tour life

Golf legend Colin Montgomerie reveals why it can be initially hard for Europeans to perform well over in the United States on the PGA Tour.

Robert MacIntyre
Robert MacIntyre

Golf legend Colin Montgomerie has revealed just how tough life can initially be for rising European stars when they first compete in the United States over on the PGA Tour, following an interview with The Scotsman

Montgomerie, 60, landed 31 titles on the European Tour and he proved a major thorn in the United States Ryder Cup side many times.

Despite winning seven times on the PGA Tour Champions senior circuit in the USA, where he remains today, Montgomerie never won a single title in his prime on the PGA Tour. 

The record eight-time European Tour Order of Merit champion considers life out of a suitcase on the PGA Tour can be strenuous for Europeans when they are first looking to make their mark. 

Montgomerie made his feelings be known to The Scotsman when the topic of his compatriot Robert MacIntyre was brought to the fore. 

MacIntyre is recovering from a tough start to 2024
MacIntyre is recovering from a tough start to 2024

MacIntyre, 27, recently expressed to feeling somewhat 'lonely' in his debut season on the PGA Tour in 2024. 

He also said he does not feel as welcome on the PGA Tour as he does on the DP World Tour, where there is more of a 'family vibe'.

Two weeks ago, MacIntyre said: 

"When you’re on the European DP World Tour, it’s very friendly. If we’re struggling with certain things, we speak to folk around us. You come out here to the PGA Tour, there’s less chatting, less dinners, just less of that big family feel. In player dining in Europe, if you’re sitting on your own, they [other boys] will come and join you. Out here, because you don’t know many folk, you don’t know them in that same kind of depth, they don’t come to sit with you. I wouldn’t expect someone to come and sit with me. It is what it is. You’ve got to get on with it."

As a result of feeling less comfortable than he does on the DP World Tour, MacIntyre has missed six of his first 11 cuts on the PGA Tour this season. 

Former Open champion and fellow Ryder Cup teammate Shane Lowry urged MacIntyre to remain patient after enduring a tough start.

MacIntyre earned his playing privileges on the PGA Tour for this season after picking up one of 10 cards through the DP World Tour Rankings at the end of 2023. 

He has won twice on the DP World Tour in his career, with victories coming at the 2020 Cyprus Showdown and 2022 Italian Open.

Arguably MacIntyre's best-ever performance came when running Rory McIlroy close at the 2023 Scottish Open, where the four-time major champion birdied the last two holes to deny him on home soil at The Renaissance Club. 

Colin Montgomerie
Colin Montgomerie

But in amongst a difficult start to MacIntyre's rookie campaign on the PGA Tour, there have been glimpses of brilliance with two top-10 finishes, one of which came at least week's second major of the season at Valhalla.

MacIntyre finished an impressive T8 at the US PGA Championship on Sunday, draining a clutch eagle putt from 10 feet on the 72nd hole to pocket just over £500,000. 

It marked MacIntyre's joint second-best finish at a major championship, having achieved a T6 at The Open in 2019 and a T8 in 2021. 

Prior to his solid display in Louisville, the Scot finished T13 at the Myrtle Beach Classic, which seemingly gave him the confidence to take into the PGA Championship. 

MacIntyre's best finish on the PGA Tour this season remains a T6 at the Mexico Open, which came in February. 

The 2023 European Ryder Cup hero also took great pleasure in rubbing salt into the wounds of American golf fans when ruthlessly trolling them with the help of his caddie at the Valspar.

Bob MacIntyre finished T8 at the 2024 US PGA
Bob MacIntyre finished T8 at the 2024 US PGA

While Montgomerie considers life on the road for Europeans first starting out on the PGA Tour can be tricky, he does believe a top-10 finish at a major championship will now be the spark MacIntyre needs to take his game forwards.

"I feel a happy Bob is a dangerous Bob on a golf course," Montgomerie told The Scotsman

He added: "It is difficult living away from home. I was lucky in a way. I was away at boarding school and then, of course, I had four years in America living away from home as well. So it wasn’t so new to me to be away from home and it has been difficult for Bob to adjust to American life.

"It’s not easy. You are treated, I hate to say, a wee bit of a foreigner. They used to call us aliens, didn’t they! When you used to go passport control, bloody aliens, hang on a minute! When you are not American, you are not part of the scene the same as it is at home. Hence his great success (finishing second to Rory McIlroy) at the Scottish Open last year, he must have felt like: ‘Oh my god, I’ve got this huge support here at The Renaissance Club and that isn’t forthcoming here in America’. Things weren’t going well, he went home, came back and he has been different since then.

"So we just wish him well and let’s hope this performance in this particular major, as he wasn’t in The Masters, gives him a real boost, and he can go forward now and feel like he belongs because that is the key thing. You want to check-in, when you register, you get the car and all the stuff you have to do, you have to feel that you belong. If he’s six-foot-one, you want to walk in six-foot-two and feel that space. That’s so important to him and, at the early season, that wasn’t happening to him. From now on, let’s hope that it does."

Montgomerie also told the media this week he will not be attempting to qualify for the 2024 Open at his home course Royal Troon for one main reason

MacIntyre is teeing it up in Texas this week
MacIntyre is teeing it up in Texas this week

MacIntyre will now look to continue his good form on the PGA Tour at this week's Charles Schwab Challenge in Texas. 

World No.1 Scottie Scheffler starts a warm favourite (11/4) for the tournament as he looks to overcome a mentally exacting week after being arrested en route to a T8 at the US PGA.

MacIntyre is not yet in the field for next month's US Open at Pinehurst, and he has not played in that major since a T35 in 2021. 

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