U-Turn for Monty but
still pulls out of Bay Hill
Two weeks after saying he would quit competing in the United States because
of excessive heckling, Colin Montgomerie has changed his mind.
Montgomerie said he will compete in The Players Championship later this month,
though has still withdrawn from the Bay Hill event later this month and will not
radically alter his PGA Tour schedule, which would include the major championships.
``Over the past week, the assurances that I have received from the PGA Tour
and tournament promoters, coupled with the support I have received via phone calls,
letters and e-mails from genuine U.S. golf fans, has convinced me that I should
not let a small minority dictate where I should play my golf,'' he said in a statement.
That said, no reason was given for bailing on Bay Hill.
"Other than the fact that he withdrew, I don't know much more about it,"
Bay Hill tournament director Jim Bell said.
Montgomerie, 38, had committed to play in two of the four Florida Swing events,
at Bay Hill and The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach. Montgomerie still
is entered in the TPC, the tour said Monday.
When he lost to Scott McCarron in the first round of the Match Play Championship,
Montgomerie complained of being heckled and said he would stop coming to America
because ``I just don't need this anymore.''
Montgomerie set a European tour record with seven consecutive money titles,
although he has never won an official tournament in the United States.
He has been a favorite target among hecklers, most noticeably in the 1998 U.S.
Open at The Olympic Club and at the 1999 Ryder Cup outside Boston.
Montgomerie said reading correspondence from fans has reminded him of ``everything
I enjoy about playing in America.''
``I have so many friends and supporters over there that it would be a pity
to let a tiny group sour the great experiences to be had competing on the PGA
Tour,'' he said.
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