European Ryder Cup captain returns to U.S. to compete in Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard
Making just his second visit to the United States since being named captain of the 2010 European Ryder Cup team last year, Colin Montgomerie has accepted an exemption to compete in the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard, to be held March 22-28 at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Florida.
“I’m looking forward to returning to Bay Hill and competing there, as I always do,” said Montgomerie, 46, who will be making his first U.S. start since the PGA Championship last August and his first American appearance in a tournament other than the three U.S.-based majors since the 2008 World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. “I haven’t had much success at Bay Hill – only one top 10 – but I’m eager to return there and see where my game is.”
An eight-time winner of the European Tour Order of Merit as leading money winner, a record, Montgomerie has competed just three times this year, all on the European Tour, with his best finish a tie for 60th at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. The accomplished Scotsman has made 12 previous appearances at the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard, and has made the cut eight times with a tie for eighth his high-water mark when he 7-under 281. He shot 1-under 143 but missed the cut in his last visit to Bay Hill in 2008.
Montgomerie said he is planning to arrive in the U.S. this week to work with his coach, Paul Marchand, who is based in Houston, before heading to Bay Hill. “The game hasn’t been great the last year, so, unfortunately, it’s most of it we’ll be working on,” said Montgomerie, who registered the last of his 31 European Tour wins at the 2007 Smurfit Kappa European Open. “I’ve got to hit more fairways. If I can’t hit the fairways then I can hit the greens and go from there, but I haven’t been hitting fairways with the regularity I’m used to, so that’s the issue. I mean, you can’t play Bay Hill if you can’t hit the fairways.”
The Championship Course at Bay Hill has been renovated since Montgomerie last competed, and he said he was eager to see what the tournament host had done. “I’m sure what’s been done was needed, and I would think that Arnold Palmer would want to have one of the best – if not the best – U.S. tournaments carrying his name.”
With the Ryder Cup approaching in October, Montgomerie admitted that it’s not just his golf game that will occupy his attention when he arrives in Orlando. “It’s nice to come to the States and to play and to witness the form of the American team, but also my own. There’s a number of British and European players who are going to be competing at Bay Hill, so it will be nice to catch up with them and see how they’re getting on, so it’s all good.”
One of the most prestigious stops on the PGA TOUR, the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard traditionally draws one of the strongest fields among golf tournaments from around the world, and it boasts an impressive array of champions, including recent winners like six-time champion Tiger Woods, Chad Campbell, Ernie Els, Paul Goydos, Phil Mickelson, Kenny Perry and Vijay Singh.
For tickets to the 2010 Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard or for more information, visit the tournament web site, www.arnoldpalmerinvitational.com, or call the Bay Hill Club ticket office at 407-876-7774 or toll free at 1-866-764-4843. Tournament proceeds benefit the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Childrenand the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies.