Monty worries McIlroy could pay for getaway

COLIN MONTGOMERIE believes it would have been in Rory McIlroy’s best interest to play an event before next week’s British Open at Sandwich.

Golf’s newest superstar decided to take three weeks off after his amazing eight-shot victory at the US Open last month.

“I can understand two out of three, but I would like to have seen him play a competitive tournament between the two majors,” said Montgomerie. “He’s so natural I don’t think there are any fears about his game but it’s the locker room — there are going to be so many people wanting to congratulate him.

“Whether it was the French or the Scottish Open he could have got that out of his system and out of the way so he can start the (British) Open afresh.

“Now he’s got that ahead of him and on the first tee I think he will be mentally tired — but who am I to say?”

Montgomerie, of course, has never won a major and as things stand he is not even in the field next week — his last opportunity is to finish in the top five at Castle Stuart near Inverness this week.

“I hope he does well — of course I do — and I think he will contend,” added the Scot, speaking at a press conference with Pádraig Harrington yesterday.

The Dubliner said he could see pros and cons, but agreed with Montgomerie on what the 22-year-old is going to have to deal with on his arrival in Kent.

He said: “When you’ve won and you go to your next tournament there are 155 other players and 155 other caddies who want to say, ‘well done’.”

Meanwhile, Vijay Singh, joint runner-up the last time the British Open was held at Sandwich, in 2003, will have the chance to play in next week’s championship there — if he is fit enough.

The former world number one pulled out of last week’s AT&T National in America with back trouble but is one of five players added to the Sandwich field today off the world rankings.

Singh is joined by Americans Webb Simpson, JB Holmes and Steve Marino and Japan’s Yuta Ikeda. The places became available to them because Rory McIlroy (US Open), Charl Schwartzel (Masters), KJ Choi (Players Championship) and Luke Donald (BMW PGA Championship) were already exempt and because past champions Nick Faldo and Greg Norman decided not to play. Australian Brendan Jones is now first reserve.

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