These are fast-paced and breathless times. So fast-paced and breathless, in fact, I’m actually struggling to keep up with what I’ve just written in that opening sentence.

As everyday life hurtles along at a furious rate of knots, the golf season too is hammering on. Three men’s majors have already been played and in just four weeks’ time the curtain will come down on the quartet of grand slam events at the Open Championship. It’s rather like uploading a Youtube video onto your laptop and quickly spooling through to the best bits.

“It’s all happening a bit too quickly for my liking,” gasped Colin Montgomerie as the dust settled on last weekend’s US Open even though there’s still probably dust lingering from the previous majors of the US PGA Championship and the Masters.

This condensing of the global schedule – a wide-scale reshuffling driven by the all-powerful PGA Tour to avoid the Olympics, the American football season and possibly Donald Trump’s hairdressing appointments – has been welcomed in many quarters. Not everyone is in favour of it, mind you.

"Everyone says it is good, but I actually like the season spread out a bit,” added Monty. “Not to have Tiger playing between tournaments, for instance, as was the case between the Masters and the US PGA, was something. They are almost too close now. It's a bit weird, really.”

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Gary Woodland’s resilient and wonderfully engineered US Open win at Pebble Beach on Sunday earned plenty of justifiable praise and plaudits and the biggest tribute to his display lay in the identity of the man he beat; Brooks Koepka. With four wins in the last nine majors, Koepka is the man to beat, after all.

"It is very much like Tiger in 2000,” said Montgomerie of Koepka’s record. “The three majors this year he has been second, first and second. He could have won them all. God, this is something else. He is coming to Portrush (for the Open) with a target on his back as he is the guy to beat, no doubt about it.

"What impresses me most about him is his manner. He doesn't seem to be fazed in the slightest. It seems as though he is playing in a monthly medal while everyone else is playing in a major.


“He believes he is going to do it before he even starts. And he even says that in the media centre. You can say that, but I think he actually believes it, which is very impressive.” Coming from Monty, a man never shy to champion his own title-winning prospects in his pomp, that’s quite a compliment.

The decorated Scot was not so effusive about Rory McIlroy, however, as another major which promised much for the Northern Irishman petered out. "I don't mean to criticise him, but he makes more bogeys than the other guys do, “said the eight-time European No 1. “When Koepka made his bogey at the eighth in the final round, that was his first dropped shot in 26 holes.

"I mean McIlroy is making three per round. I know he makes more birdies than a lot of the other players, but not that many more. He just makes the odd mistake. Should he have used his driver off the second tee on Sunday, for instance? That cost him a double-bogey. It's that sort of thing that adds up.”

Monty’s major moments are reserved for the senior ones these days. With three over-50s major titles to his name, the former Ryder Cup talisman is still hopeful of adding to that haul with this summer’s Senior Open at Royal Lytham very much a target.


"If there was one win left in me, I'd love it to be that as I've never won an R&A event,” he said of the senior showpiece. “I've been runner-up in the Open, I've been runner up in the Amateur Championship and I've been runner up in the British Youths. The Senior Open is the biggest event for me now.”

At 55 – he’ll hit 56 this Sunday – there’s still plenty of life in this old dog yet. Competitive longevity, it seems, runs in the Montgomerie family as evidenced by a hit about with his dad, James, on Father’s Day. "He's in his 90th year,” reported Monty. “It proves what a great game golf is. Even for me, I'm able to compete still while my father is still playing and wanting to hole out, which is great. It is an amazing game."

This particular game has been good to Montgomerie. He won his first European Tour title in 1989 and never looked back. Thirty years on, he’s still at it. “Thirty years? Where the hell has that gone?,” he roared. “It has been so busy that you almost forget to smell the flowers on the way.”