Colin Montgomerie fears big-hitters such as Bryson DeChambeau will kill off St Andrews course

Colin Montgomerie fears the 150th Open at St Andrews in July will be the last to be staged on the historic Old Course. The Scot’s pride is mixed with anxiety that the Home of Golf will be ransacked by the game’s power hitters, led by Bryson DeChambeau.

‘Can you imagine what will happen if the weather is good and there’s little wind?’ said the 58-year-old, making a welcome appearance at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week and being as forthright as ever.

‘It hardly bears thinking about. Bryson will stand up there and think six or seven holes on the course are driveable. The par-five fifth will be a joke, with a flick of a wedge for his second shot.

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Colin Montgomerie fears the 150th Open at St Andrews will be the last one on the course

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‘As for the par-four 18th, remember all the excitement back in the day when Jack Nicklaus became the first man to drive the green? They were hitting it with three woods back when I finished second to Tiger in 2005 and this year they will be hitting it with irons. That would be really sad if that happens.’

Montgomerie’s words echo those of Greg Norman before the last Open at Royal St George’s.

‘St Andrews is my favourite course on the rota and it would be heart-breaking to see it become outdated but that’s in danger of being the reality,’ the Australian told Sportsmail. ‘I can’t see what they can do to lengthen it any more.’

The Scot’s pride is mixed with anxiety that the Home of Golf will be ransacked by power hitters

The likes of big hitter Bryson DeChambeau (above) is known for his ability to drive the ball 

Norman, like so many, called for something to be done regarding how far the ball travels. The R&A, in conjunction with the American governing body the USGA, have issued laudable statements of intent signalling their agreement that something needs to be done. Thus far, however, they’ve met fierce resistance from other interested parties.

Montgomerie believes this Open could be the one that brings it all to a head.

‘Think about the first hole, where the burn in front of the green is 340 yards from the tee,’ he said. ‘For Bryson, that’s doable. Imagine him taking that on and driving the green? That would be the end. There’d be no way back from that.’

Meanwhile, Tommy Fleetwood feels fit, fresh and ready to climb up the rankings after falling to a lowly 41st in the world after being hit with Covid at the back end of 2021.

‘You know you’re ready for a break when you’ve been at home for three weeks and not thought about picking up a club once, but it’s amazing once the new year comes around,’ he said. ‘Something clicks and you’re ready and motivated again.’

Greg Norman says St Andrews is his favourite and that he will be sad if ‘it becomes outdated’

First up in a three-week Middle East stint is the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, an event he won in 2017 and 2018. A chance, therefore, to make a statement?

‘I definitely want to kick on as soon as possible but it’s not just about winning,’ he said. ‘I went two years after my victory here in 2018 without winning again but I played great and felt very happy about where my game was at because I was doing the right things.

‘My iron play was actually very good last year but there’s only so much you can do if you’re not on the fairway often enough. That was the biggest frustration because driving is always my biggest source of confidence. When you’re standing on the tee and feeling a bit unsure, it’s tough to challenge the guys who are playing well.

‘I got more consistent towards the end and hopefully that was me putting down a base so I can start challenging again.’

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