The Real Monty by Colin Montgomerie

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The Real Monty by Colin Montgomerie

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Category: Autobiography
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A revealing autobiography about the most successful golfer never to have won a major championship. It's interesting to the fan and non-fan alike.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304 Date: July 2003
Publisher: Orion
ISBN: 0752849832

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I'm an occasional watcher of television golf and one of the professionals for whom I've had very little time over the years is Colin Montgomerie. Born into fortunate circumstances, well and expensively educated, he's always been prone to tantrums on the course when things don't go his way. Despite being a multi-millionaire and having a lifestyle that many people would envy he usually had a scowl on his face and the blame firmly dropped on someone else's toes. Why then did I read The Real Monty? Laid up in bed with a persistent infection I'd read just about everything else but the cornflake packet.

I may not like the man any better but I have more respect for him.

As a reviewer of an autobiography it's always difficult to separate the book from the man: the fact that you don't like the subject should not mean that the book is automatically a bad one. Montgomerie's book is self-centred, but seems honest and conveys the man perfectly.

Montgomerie has two obsessions: golf and fear of failure. Even winning the Order of Merit (that's for the European professional golfer who earns the most money in a year) a record breaking seven times, he would, by his own admission, worry about how much other players were earning when he was not playing. He's very much money-orientated and whilst he may know how much he can earn from any situation, he doesn't understand what is of real value. He even quotes the fact that he has a seven-figure tax bill each year.

He thought he was a good husband because he wasn't a womaniser or a drinker. What he failed to realise was that he was never there for his wife. Even when he was home his mind was on golf. She was materially well-provided for, but emotionally starved. Montgomerie is quite open about how he acted, but it's difficult to establish whether or not this is because he's honest or because he doesn't realise that such behaviour is not acceptable.

The Montgomeries separated for a spell in the period covered by the book and this was a time of considerable emotional upheaval for Colin. He describes walking the streets of London in the early hours of the morning, night after night. It would be difficult not to feel sympathy for him, even though he brought the situation on himself. Despite a reconciliation the couple have subsequently divorced and whilst no one else was involved in the break-up of the marriage, golf seems to be the third party. Montgomerie knew the theory of what he had to do to save his marriage but he doesn't seem to have put it into practice.

His scowling face, sunk onto his ample chest is a common sight. In fairness to Montgomerie it does seem that the media likes to show these pictures and don't give as much time to the other side of Montgomerie. It seems too that he has been very unfairly treated by American fans, with at least one instance of a radio presenter urging "fans" to taunt him in a competition.

There are two groups of photographs in the book. As in every autobiography they're self-indulgent and there to show him in the best light, but they're in full colour, are reasonably interesting and have been well reproduced. Talking of light, though - the picture on the front cover has been very carefully lit and takes at least a couple of stones off his weight!

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