Scottish golfer Colin Montgomerie, who has been at odds with American golf fans for more than a decade, blamed them for his lack of success in the U.S. on Thursday. Montgomerie, who has never won a major title and has finished second in those events five times, told BBC Radio 5 said the public jousts with U.S. fans has cost him championships. "It cost me about five or seven years over there, which when you think there's three major championships there, tends to cost you most of your career," he said. He said that most United States golf fans don't "respect the etiquette of the game." Montgomerie added that golf fans in the U.S. are "not as knowledgeable" as fans in Britain. "I don't think the golf fans in America are members of golf clubs in the way they are here," he said. "At Wentworth next week, most of the fans will be golfers and understand and respect the etiquette of the game." The subject arose when Montgomerie was recounting his ill-fated exchange with golf fans at the 1997 U.S. Open at Congressional. "The abuse from the American fans was my fault," he said. "I regret one particular moment when I was leading the US Open in 1997 at Congressional and I did the unthinkable and answered back. I was the biggest (European) threat, and I was leading at the time and I got the abuse because of it. "I made a mistake and answered back and I paid for it for about 10 years." Montgomerie said he swore at a fan during the 1997 U.S. Open incident. "Somebody said the wrong thing at the wrong time, I'd just made a bogey, and I answered back and that was that," he said. "I enjoy going back now and there's more respect for me there now than there ever was before."
- Colin Montgomerie