Fine round gives Monty two reasons to smile

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 November, 2007, 12:00am

Like all Scotsmen, Colin Montgomerie's day started brilliantly yesterday. And it only got better.

'Monty' awoke to news of England's humiliating exit in the European Championship soccer qualifiers and then combined with partner Marc Warren to put themselves in a position to right the wrong of the last golf World Cup in Barbados when they lost in a play-off. Yesterday Scotland finished two shots behind the US with a nine-under 63.

'We enjoyed playing together last year and it was unfortunate that we came up short in the play-off against the Germans. Like the English football, really,' he said, taking a gleeful shot at Steve McClaren and his underachievers.

But Montgomery lamented that no British soccer team would be going to Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland. 'I heard the score this morning and it was very disappointing being British and not having a competitor in Euro 2008. That doesn't seem right,' he said.

'It proves the strength of the English Premiership is international and not British. Hopefully, something can be done about it,' said Montgomerie. 'We used to have a rule - didn't we? - in the European Cup that we could have only three international players. I think we have to go back to that to get British players playing in Britain. It would help out teams, including Scotland. We Scots had a fantastic campaign in a very strong group.

'Oh, I can see it now 'Monty slams Premiership',' he said, referring to his forthright opinions which make headlines wherever he goes.

England's Justin Rose and Ian Poulter, who also finished at nine-under, touched on the defeat only briefly and hoped to put the smiles back on some faces at home by holding the World Cup aloft on Sunday.

'I woke up at 5am, put the TV on for a second, saw it was 2-0, turned it straight off and went back to sleep,' said Rose.

Poulter fired up his laptop in the morning in anticipation of an England victory and was met with 'disappointment'.

'Hopefully, we can put things right by the end of the weekend,' said Poulter, who overshadowed his friend and European Tour Order of Merit winner with two eagles.