LONDON: Colin Montgomerie, a golfer who confesses to an almost obsessive dislike of failure, has conceded defeat in the biggest challenge of his life.
Europe's finest player for much of his 14-year marriage, Montgomerie announced yesterday that he was separating from his wife Eimear with a view to divorce.
In a terse statement, the 40-year-old Briton said it was a “desperate decision for us both and a painful time for the family”.
A friend of the couple described him as being “destructed” by the split. She said nobody else was involved in the breakup.
Golf, though, is firmly in the frame as the guilty third party.
Montgomerie, blessed with more money than he can ever need, a palatial home in the heart of the English countryside and a European record of seven Order of Merit titles, has paid a high price for his relentless drive for success.
The couple, who have three children, briefly split in 2000. In his autobiography The Full Monty, Montgomerie blamed it on his obsession with his profession.
“What was happening was, little by little, golf was taking over. I was bringing my golf home and even when I was there, I wasn't giving as much attention to Eimear and the children as I should have done. I was constantly thinking of something else.
“I wasn't a proper husband or a proper father. It almost broke my life,” he wrote.
Ever since he joined the professional ranks in 1988 and became the European rookie of the year, “Monty” has believed that only 100 per cent dedication would do if he wanted to realise all his ambitions.
Golfers these days pride themselves on physical fitness and a clear head – Tiger Woods, the runaway world number one, has set that example. The money can be good but it's hard work.
Every player devotes hours to the practice range and putting greens before and after the five hours or so spent on the course during tournaments.
As often as not this is followed by more time in the gym or testing new equipment. The days when golfers propped up the bar after a round of golf are long gone.
And despite all his dedication Montgomerie has still failed to fulfil his ultimate golfing ambition of winning one of the sport's four major titles. He is now ranked 45th in the world and very much a declining force. – Reuters