Colin Montgomerie conquers golf courses and designs them too

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Colin Montgomerie was one of the biggest players on the European Tour. He won the Ryder Cup with Europe six times as a player and once, in 2010, as a captain. Montgomerie, from Scotland, is also a renowned course designer and puts its stamp on courses in Britain, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Far East.

This month, after a three-year absence, the Turkish Airlines Open returns to one of its designs, the Montgomerie Maxx Royal in Belek on the south coast of Turkey, while & # 39; the world's leading players try improve their chances in the season-dependent race to Dubai. The following interview has been edited and summarized:

What does it mean for you and the club itself for the Montgomerie Maxx Royal to hold the Turkish Open again this year?

It is a fantastic honor to have designed a course that I am very proud of and is organizing a fourth Rolex event, one of a number of leading European Tour events.

How would you describe the challenges of the Montgomerie Maxx Royal?

It can be played by all types of golfers. I especially like the par 3 & # 39; s, which are very challenging. All par 5 & # 39; s are risk compensation, which tests even the best European Tour pros. The green designs are such that the pin positions can be in a number of fairly difficult and challenging positions. That is why it is a must to hit the fairways so that the player can attack the pins. I especially like the 12th hole. It is a very strong par 4, one where you have to hit the fairway, and then your second shot is very demanding, played in a wavy green. But really, I am very proud of all 18 holes.

Your game is built on accuracy, but so many players are now hitting the ball to the point where many courts have difficulty handling it. What specific challenges does the increase in capacity offer a course designer? And what do you think can be done to maintain a balance between power and accuracy?

You can build more holes with dog legs where it is impossible to clear the corner, resulting in accuracy and more shooting, as opposed to more power. You can build smaller, tighter greens with more challenging pin placements.

Tell us how to design a job. Do you talk to other players about your thoughts? Do you take advice from other designers? Is there someone whose designs have influenced your own methods? And how much of what you come up with is determined by the way holes fit your eye, as opposed to trying to make them good enough to hold large events?

There was nobody, but every course in the Sandbelt area in Melbourne has influenced my design. Especially the way those jobs are bunkered. They are the best. When it comes to the end product, it is actually a bit of both. It must fit my eye in the first place, but it must also be a challenge for the top players.

Victor Dubuisson, who won twice, and Brooks Koepka are previous winners of the Turkish Open at Montgomerie Maxx Royal. What do you remember most about the event in those years?

I played in the first two and was very impressed with the maintenance of the course and the entire infrastructure of the tournament.

Can you describe some of your favorite moments from the years that the Montgomerie Maxx Royal organized the Turkish Open? Maybe the arrival of Tiger Woods in 2013 and its 63? What did his presence do for the event?

It is always an honor when Woods plays a course that you have designed. This is how a course is designed. Leaving a legacy that not only Woods can play, but which players of all levels can enjoy. Tiger’s 63 [which he shot in the second round that year] was a great score on a challenging job. But again, he was the best in the world at the time.

How far has the Turkish Open come in the last six years?

One of the last Rolex events proves how far the Turkish Airlines Open has come. It makes me so proud to have that on a job that bears my name.

Have you received much feedback from players over the years? How gratifying is that, and what things have they said?

I have had many positive comments from the players. And when Tiger Woods says it's a well thought out course, it makes you very proud.

Your best major in terms of consistent results was the United States Open, where scoring is notoriously difficult. The score in the three years of the Turkish Open at Montgomerie Maxx Royal was very low. Should we expect the same this time?

The standards of golf around the world are getting higher and the wave is getting better.

Lower scores tend to display more difficult courses. Pin positions must be devised to keep all the courses and tournaments in Europe a challenge.

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