Speak to a golf writer or an avid follower of the Scottish game and you will often hear the phrase “we could do with another Colin Montgomerie”.

Then again, those who have dealt with the tantrums and the tumult of the full Monty will probably say that one is more than enough.

Ahead of this week’s Senior Open at Royal Lytham, Montgomerie was his usual ebullient self – he always is before an actual ball has been hit – and the 56-year-old is never short of anything to say about various issues of the day.

The latest, more parochial topic of discussion was about Robert MacIntyre, the young Oban left-hander who finished sixth in last week’s Open, the highest finish by a Scot in the champ-ionship since – yes, you’ve guessed it – Monty in 2005.

“When I heard that fact, I went, ‘what? There’s something not right there’,” said the eight-time European No.1. “It was great for Robert himself, fantastic, but 14 years since Scotland had a top 10 in The Open? I said, ‘come on, what the hell has gone wrong here, something isn’t right?’ We had been treading water for too long.

“I am glad we are seeing someone very quickly become a world star. He’s a young man with a lot of confidence and comes across as a lovely guy. I’ve never met him. I sent him a tweet at the weekend, saying ‘well done’ and he replied saying ‘thanks Monty’ and I wish him well.”

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So, Monty, any tips to help the 22-year-old MacIntyre continue his meteoric rise up the ranks?

“Patience, patience,” declared the former Ryder Cup talisman and winning European captain. “Even at 56, 34 years down the road from when I was 22, we are still trying to be patient and figure this bloody game out. It will happen so be patient and don’t force it.”

Montgomerie will be aiming for his fourth over-50s major at Lytham this week having won the US Senior Open and a pair of US Senior PGA titles on the other side of the Atlantic.

Plenty of regular majors slipped from his grasp back in his pomp, of course, and the 2001 Open at Lytham was another tale of what might have been. Carried along by enthusiastic backing for the galleries, Monty led after two rounds but his challenge petered out over the weekend.


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“It was good, wasn’t it,” said Montgomerie as he reflected on the well-wishing. “I think they were all thinking, ‘is he going to win his major’.

“I’m not saying anyone deserves anything in this game, but it would have been nice to have achieved it that week. I just didn’t play well enough over the weekend, unfortunately. But it was fantastic support, especially on the Friday after my opening 65. I will never forget it. Another opening 65 on Thursday would be good, wouldn’t it?”

Montgomerie forms part of a stellar field of senior campaigners competing at Lytham in a line up that includes over-50 rookies Darren Clarke and Retief Goosen, the South African who won his maiden major among the golden oldies in the Senior Players’ Championship this month.

A decade on from nearly winning The Open at Turnberry at the age of 59, Tom Watson is still going strong on the senior scene and relishing the links test.

“I’ve been better than the average lucky guy, I’ve had more good bounces than I have bad bounces,” he said of the capricious nature of golf by the seaside.

This week’s affair is also notable for the appearance of Australian Geoff Nicholas, an amputee golfer who came through the qualifying round on Tuesday to earn his place in a glittering field.