Montgomerie joins field for Senior Players Championship


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Colin Montgomerie is no stranger to Western Pennsylvania.

He has played in the past two U.S. Opens at Oakmont Country Club, most recently in 2007. But he is most remembered for losing a three-way Monday playoff to Ernie Els in 1994, one of several near misses the Scotsman has endured in the U.S. Open.

Montgomerie will come back to the area this summer when he makes his Champions Tour debut at the 30th Constellation Senior Players Championship at Fox Chapel Golf Club -- another carrot for a field that is loaded with the Champions Tour's top players.

Curiously, Montgomerie will be trying to win a major championship -- something that has eluded him in a sterling career in which he has won the European Tour's Order of Merit a record eight times, including seven in a row from 1993-99. He also is considered one of the greatest Ryder Cup players of all time with an unbeaten record in singles (8-0).

With more European Tour victories (31) than any British player in history, Montgomerie was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame on May 6, along with Fred Couples, who is also expected to compete at Fox Chapel. The Senior TPC is the first event after Montgomerie turns 50 on June 23.

During his Hall of Fame acceptance speech, Montgomerie said, "I will be spending the majority of my time in America competing on the Champions Tour. I personally look forward to walking the fairways again with my good friends Bernhard Langer and fellow inductee Freddie Couples."

Langer, who did not play last year in Fox Chapel because of a prior commitment, is in the field for this year's tournament, scheduled for June 25-30. So is Loren Roberts, who was part of the three-way playoff with Els and Montgomerie at Oakmont in 1994.

Benefits of a champ

One of the perks for winning last year's Senior TPC at Fox Chapel was getting a spot in the 2013 Players Championship being played this weekend at the Stadium Course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

That was nice for Joe Daley, even though he missed the cut at TPC Sawgrass after opening with a 78. But it wasn't as important as the other benefit: Being fully exempt for one year on the Champions Tour.

"Just getting in all the tournaments, like I did last year, instead of having to Monday qualify," Daley said. "But I should say Monday qualifying made me better, too, just so you learn to maintain the attitude I was maintaining."

Daley was a surprise winner at Fox Chapel because he was really nothing more than a golfing gypsy who had been winless on the Champions Tour. He outlasted three of the top players on the tour -- Fred Couples, Mark Calcavecchia and Tom Lehman.

He will be back to defend his title in June and is looking forward to returning to Western Pennsylvania.

"I played across the street at the Field Club and across the river at Oakmont, and [Fox Chapel] was very similar to what I grew up with on the other side of the state outside of Philly," Daley said. "It had a similar look, and then, of course, the greens got super hard and fast. It took me a couple decades to learn how to approach that, so I learned how to approach it from my experience previously when I played in the Pennsylvania Amateur at the Field Club and Oakmont, when I just threw my stuff in the car and had to drive all the way back across the state because I missed the cut. And I was thinking, 'What happened?' But I learned from it, though."

Faldo flip flops

It remains difficult to tell where former three-time Masters champion Nick Faldo stands on the debacle that surrounded Tiger Woods' incorrect drop at Augusta National.

On the morning when it was announced that Woods received a two-shot penalty but no disqualification, Faldo was very adamant on the Golf Channel that Woods should withdraw from the Masters for violating a rule and signing an incorrect scorecard.

Later that day, when he appeared for his duties on the CBS broadcast, Faldo did a quick back-pedal, saying that the new rules allow for a player who has unknowingly committed a violation to be penalized but not disqualified and that Woods should be allowed to continue.

Now Faldo is back to his original stance, or so it seems, when he was asked during a conference call last week about the decision of the Masters committee to not DQ Woods.

"The whole basis of our game is the rules of golf are equal, and it would have been equal on that day if he had been disqualified, but now it's different," Faldo said. "Now there's a gray area where the committee comes in and can dissolve a rule."

Rocco on 'Feherty'

What does Rocco Mediate have in common with Bill Clinton, Bill Russell, Bobby Knight and Jack Nicklaus?

He will be the featured subject on "Feherty," an in-depth, one-on-one interview show hosted by the madcap David Feherty on the Golf Channel.

"I thought they had the wrong number," Mediate joked about his appearance on the show, which will air beginning 10 p.m. Monday. "Really, I thought other guys canceled and they just put me in."

Mediate, a Greensburg native, is a six-time winner on the PGA Tour who won his Champions Tour debut earlier this year. But it is his constant on-course chatter and rambling sound bites that make him a natural for Feherty's show.

Feherty's sit-down interviews and zany interactions with his guests stretch beyond the golf world. He has also profiled former President Clinton, in addition to basketball legends Russell and Knight, on the show. Each, though, shares the common thread of being a golfer.

"Feherty and I were kind of scary," Mediate said. "It was a lot of fun. I was very honored and very proud he called me. It was very nice."

Senior TPC volunteers need

The Senior Players Championship is still accepting volunteer applications for the tournament. Approximately 600 to 800 volunteers are needed to assist with various on-course and behind-the-scenes aspects of the tournament, ranging from course marshals to player registration.

Volunteers will receive a uniform (golf shirt, vest and hat), meal vouchers and a volunteer credential for tournament access all week, in addition to one weekly ticket and an invitation to a volunteer appreciation party, for a $65 registration fee. Every volunteer is required to work a minimum of three shifts, each ranging from 4-6 hours.

Interested parties can apply online at www.volunteers.cspgolf.com or call the tournament office, 412-729-5050.

Dissa and data

The second 18-hole local qualifier for the U.S. Open is Tuesday at Grove City CC. There are four qualifying spots available for 69 players. .... The 36-hole sectional qualifier for the U.S. Women's Open is Monday at Butler CC. There are 40 players vying for two spots into the Open, which is June 27-30 at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y. ... The Golf for Patriots outing is May 26 at Pine Grove Golf Course in Grove City. The scramble has a 1:15 p.m, shotgun start with a cookout lunch at 11:30 a.m. The tournament benefits the Folds of Honor Foundation, which provides educational scholarships for children and spouses of military service men and women killed or disabled while serving our country. Each team must include at least one senior (age 55+) or female. Entry is $300 per team. Call 724-734-9533 or visit Patriot-golf@roadrunner.com. ... Butler's Golf Course in Elizabeth is offering a summer junior golf program with camps, private lessons and tournaments. The weeklong junior summer camps are available to golfers of all level and kick off June 24 and run July 8-12 and July 22-26, 9 a.m. to noon. Cost is $100 per week for ages 5-8, $150 per week for ages 9-16. All participants receive a T-shirt, hat, golf glove, golf balls and hat clip. For information and register, call 412-751-9121 or go to www.butlersgolf.com.

mobilehome - golf

Gerry Dulac: gdulac@post-gazette.com; twitter: @gerrydulac. Listen to "The Golf Show with Gerry Dulac" every Thursday, 7-8:30 p.m., on 970 ESPN. First Published May 12, 2013 4:00 AM


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