Brushes with death, tardy timekeeping and his uncanny resemblance to Brad Pitt... Monty opens up on the subjects that matter.
H ow close have you come to death?
When I unfortunately crashed my car on the A80 from Stirling down to Glasgow. The Ryder Cup was in the boot so it must have been 2010. Somebody fell asleep travelling in the other direction, came across the road and hit me head on. I thought my number was up. It gives you a bit of a different perspective when something like that happens. You go home that night and count your blessings.
What’s your earliest childhood memory?
Going on the go-karts at Troon beach when I was about three. And I wanted to win! That hasn’t left me 50 years on.
Who do you most admire?
People in public office who are working for others. Politicians earning in a year what a golfer might do in an afternoon. Anyone who volunteers and helps others, like hospital staff. The people who volunteer at my late mother’s foundation helping cancer patients are amazing people. These are the unsung heroes of the world.
Who would play you in a movie?
Brad Pitt, obviously. If George Clooney was busy.
Would they require any specialist training?
No, none at all.
What’s your most annoying trait?
Being punctual. I’m never late and that annoys some people. I’ll always do my absolute utmost not to be.
If you could travel in time, would you go backwards or forwards?
Having seen what’s gone on before, I’d like to see what’s going to happen in the future. But with trepidation. When you look at everything that’s happened in technology and the way the world has changed in the last 20 years I think going forward another 20 years would be enough for me.
Have you ever said ‘I love you’ and not meant it?
(long pause) I hope not.
What scares you the most?
Flying. There’s always a story when I fly. You could write a book on all the dramas I’ve had at airports and on planes.
What was your first job?
Picking up range balls at Sugar Creek Country Club in America to pay for the insurance for my car. I got paid $4 per hour and the members aimed at me when I was in the buggy driving around on the range. I hated it in the winter because the balls plugged and the cart couldn’t pick them up so you had to do it by hand using a broken-off shaft to dig them out the ground.
Your most embarrassing moment on the course?
I suppose when you shank it, because you’re not supposed to do that, are you? I vividly remember one when I was playing at East Sussex National in the European Open. It flew off at right angles from the middle of the fairway.
How did the frosty reception in America when you were in your pomp affect you?
It was tough, no doubt. To have somebody wanting you to do well has to be better than someone wanting you to fail. I reckon it could have been up to half a shot a round. Which in major terms means I’d have won four of them.
If you knew what you know now 20 years ago, do you think you’d have won regular majors?
You can’t say ‘I would have won’, but I’d have done better. I needed to get fortunate to win majors – there’s never been anyone who’s got unlucky and won a major – but a lot of the time you make your own luck, and I wasn’t making my own.
If you had to give up golf or sex, which one would it be?
I love golf and I love sex.
But what if you had to give one up?
I don’t wish to give up either.
‘My earliest memory was going on the go-karts when I was three... and wanting to win. That hasn’t left me’