• Open Championship

Montgomerie tips European 1-2-3 for Sandwich

ESPN staff
July 11, 2011
Colin Montgomerie anticipates Europeand domination at Royal St George's © PA Photos

Former Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie believes this week's Open Championship could see the first European 1-2-3 since 1938.

That year, Reg Whitcombe beat Jimmy Adams by two and defending champion Henry Cotton by three on the way to victory in howling winds at Royal St George's.

Henrik Stenson tied with Greg Norman for third three years ago, when Padraig Harrington saw off Ian Poulter, but Montgomerie believes the form of some of Europe's top players this month could ensure the top of the leaderboard this year, at the very same venue, could have a similar look.

Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood are the Scot's top tips - although he feels putting may prove the difference between them.

"At the end of the day it comes down to putting," said Montgomerie, who failed to qualify for the event for the first time since 1989. "When [Tiger] Woods and [Phil] Mickelson won their majors it's not because of power or whatever - it was because of short game and putting.

"I'm not saying Lee is weak at it, I'm just saying that Luke is extremely good at it.

"It's going to be interesting, but when you look at Luke's game, Lee's game and of course Rory's game I can easily see them finishing first, second and third.

"But that could be in any order - we'll just have to wait and see."

Montgomerie has some doubts about McIlroy's chances, however, particularly as he continues to adjust to life as a major champion after a dominant victory in the US Open.

Unlike Congressional, Montgomerie feels the Kent links does not play into the Northern Irishman's hands.

"Can he [McIlroy] get the mental side out of the way? That's to be seen," Montgomerie noted. "And I think the course at Congressional suited him - out of 14 drives 11 went right to left - and the way it was soft suited him.

"I had 15 potential winners there, but at Royal St George's I reckon there are about 40 because of the nature of the course.

"Dry and quite bouncy brings in others, a la Tom Watson."

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