Magic Monty in Dubai
The inaugural Dubai Desert Classic in 1989 was the beginning of a new era for golf and the European Tour. Won by Mark James, the Majilis Course was then remote situated amidst desolate surrounds, but the progression and development of the city throughout the subsequent decades has transformed the setting, helping to elevate this event into becoming one of the most iconic on the circuit.
30 years on - the Dubai Desert Classic - has crowned many significant champions, including Seve Ballesteros, Ernie Els, Fred Couples, Jose Maria Olazabal, Tiger Woods, Henrik Stenson, Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia. To mark this anniversary year for the tournament, we have reflected back on the 1996 triumph of Colin Montgomerie, who produced what is perhaps the most famous and memorable shot in the history of the Classic.
Standing on the 72nd hole one shot ahead of playing partner Miguel Angel Jimenez, Montgomerie was faced with a risky decision on the par five 18th. The Spaniard had out-driven the Scot and was in position to reach the green in two, placing the Ryder Cup stalwart into a dilemma. Should he take on the water and face possible disaster, or lay-up to open the door for Jimenez to force a playoff?
Taking driver from the hands of his caddie, Alistair Maclean, the 32-year-old European number one took on the ominous shot from the deck and spectacular launched the ball into the heart of the green with his trademark fade and smooth rhythm. It was a brave play, but a victorious one, as Montgomerie two-putted to secure the title by one ahead of Jimenez, whose own approach had flown beyond the surface.
It was the shot of a champion. And the European Tour's Shot of 1996.
Hawaii to San Francisco to London,meet up with Cameron my son, and 8 hours later back to the airport and off to Dubai. Looking forward to playing @OMEGAGolfDubai on @EuropeanTour with Cameron on the bag #ODDC2019 #addressmontgomerie pic.twitter.com/xWdiDyIXYH— Colin Montgomerie (@montgomeriefdn) January 21, 2019
Five years ago, the 2010 Ryder Cup captain joined Tom Greaves and the European Tour's media team on the fairways of the Majlis Course to relive the moment, talk through the process, and even reenact the shot two decades on. In 2019, he is back for another appearance in the event with his son, Cameron, on the bag,
Counting 31 victories on the European Tour, there were many great achievements in the career of Colin Montgomerie, but few were completed quite so boldly as this one.
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