A look back at Colin Montgomerie's eight European Tour Order of Merit wins between 1993 and 2005
Colin Montgomerie is one of the most decorated European Tour players of all time, but his notable accolade of eight Order of Merit titles between 1993 and 2005 (now the Race to Dubai) is assuredly a record that will remain untouched for a long time to come. In the history of the European Tour, just the late, great Seve Ballesteros has come remotely close to matching Monty, winning the same honour on six separate occasions between 1976 and 1991.
The first time Montgomerie ascended to the top of the Order of Merit was in 1993, five years after quickly establishing himself as one to watch with his Rookie of the Year award in 1988, which was followed by his maiden title - a convincing 11 shot triumph at the Portuguese Open TPC during his first start of the 1989 season.
Montgomerie would wait another two years before defeating Ballesteros by a single stroke to win the second European Tour event of his career at the Scandinavian Masters, and a further two before earning the Heineken Dutch Open in 1993 – which marked the start of the most successful spell of his career.
The Scotsman would go on to win 20 of his 31 titles on the European Tour between 1993 and 1999 as he claimed the Order of Merit in seven consecutive seasons, before adding a record eighth title in 2005.
Two European Tour Wins
Montgomerie had started his sixth season on the European Tour as a two-time champion but would end 1993 with double the number of titles and his first time atop of the Order of Merit.
He began the season strongly, finishing inside the top 20 in each of his first six events, which included a runner-up finish at the Johnnie Walker Classic.
Montgomerie had to settle for second best once more at the Volvo PGA Championship before tasting success for a third time on Tour at the Heineken Dutch Open in July, carding a final round 69 to beat José Cóceres and Jean van de Velde by a single stroke.
He would not drop lower than sixth in the standings for the remainder of the season, but it was at the final event where he earned double the glory, claiming the Volvo Masters and consequently the Order of Merit in one go.
Three European Tour Wins
An outstanding season with three wins and two top tens in Major Championships saw Montgomerie reach the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time in 1994, where he would stay for nearly 400 weeks.
He achieved that feat with his first victory of the year at the Open de Espana in May, helped by a third round 66 to edge out Richard Boxall, Mark Roe and Mark McNulty by one.
Montgomerie then came close to tasting Major success for a first time in June at Oakmont Country Club as a final round 70 tied him at the top of the leaderboard with Ernie Els and Loren Roberts after 72 holes. Three double-bogeys left him out of contention during the 18 hole Monday play-off as Els claimed the spoils, but it was by no means the end of his accomplishments that year.
Two months later Montgomerie posted back-to-back victories, following up his win at the English Open with success at the German Open a week later. Those wins moved him back to the top of the Order of Merit standings, which he closed out convincingly with four top tens in his last six starts, including fourth place at the Volvo Masters.
Two European Tour wins
The 1995 season was substantiated by Montgomerie’s dominant consistency, where he recorded two wins and 14 top tens from 24 events to gain his third Order of Merit title in a row.
That number is absent of his agonising runner-up finish during the PGA Championship that August, where he was beaten by Steve Elkington on the first play-off hole of Riviera Country Club, but it is an important result to note in regard to his resilient nature.
In just his next event Montgomerie moved to the top of the Order of Merit as he claimed the first of his two victories that season with a successful defence at the Volvo German Masters, which he quickly followed with a win at the Trophee Lancome.
Two weeks later Montgomerie tasted his first success on a Ryder Cup team that September, which included a 3&1 victory over Ben Crenshaw.
There was no beating Monty in singles 👏 pic.twitter.com/EPmMejHyVG— Ryder Cup Europe (@RyderCupEurope) June 23, 2020
Three European Tour wins
After missing the first seven events of the 1996 season, Montgomerie quickly reasserted himself in to second place in the European Tour standings with a one stroke victory at the Dubai Desert Classic, a win that features arguably the greatest shot of his career.
Standing in the middle of the par-five 18th fairway of Emirates GC with a driver in hand (a spot now commemorated with a plaque), Montgomerie hit the unforgettable approach on to the green and two-putted for a one shot victory.
Back to back runner-up finishes at the Deutsche Bank Open TPC of Europe and the Alamo English Open and a tied 10th finish at the U.S. Open in June soon confirmed his status at the top of the rankings for the rest of the season, which he consolidated with wins at the Irish Open in July and a four stroke triumph at the European Masters in August.
Two European Tour wins
Punctuated by his winning putt in the Ryder Cup and a runner-up finish at the U.S. Open to Ernie Els, 1997 was a season that garnered success for Montgomerie both on and out with the European Tour.
That year both of his Tour titles featured substantial margins of victory, winning the European Grand Prix by five strokes at the start of June, and his second Irish Open title in a row by seven in the first week of July.
Those only moved him up to fifth in the Order of Merit standings, and he would only gain the top spot in the rankings in September, following a third place finish at the BMW International Open and a 10th place in the Canon European Masters. Montgomerie then have finished as the runner-up during both the British Masters and German Masters, before ending his season with an eighth place at the Volvo Masters.
Following the official end of the Tour season, Montgomerie later won twice in November, claiming the Hassan II Golf Trophy by three strokes before winning the World Cup of Golf Individual Trophy.
Three European Tour wins
An impressive season led Montgomerie to three official Tour victories and eight further top tens in 20 starts in 1998, which included tied eighth at the Masters in April and a 2up win over Davis Love to win the World Championship of Golf.
His first Tour win of the year came during a one shot victory over Mark James at the Volvo PGA Championship in May, which marked the first of three consecutive wins at Wentworth Club.
That moved Montgomerie up to fifth in the Order of Merit standings. He briefly claimed the top spot after losing in a play-off to David Carter during his Irish Open defence, but would not regain that position until his final win of the year, a one stroke victory at the Linde German Masters.
Two weeks earlier Montgomerie had triumphed the British Masters at the Forest of Arden H&CC, and went on to finish the season with a tied fifth at the Cisco World Match Play, and a third place finish at the Volvo Masters to earn his sixth Order of Merit.
Five official European Tour wins and one approved special event
The seventh consecutive year Montgomerie claimed the European Tour’s Order of Merit was undoubtedly his most successful, winning five official Tour events and the Cisco World Match-Play Tournament.
His won his first title of that season at the Benson and Hedges International Open Oxfordshire by three shots, and quickly added wins at two further UK events – courtesy of a five stroke victory in the Volvo PGA Championship at Wentworth Club and a three shot win at the Standard Life Loch Lomond.
Although all five of his official Tour titles in the 1999 campaign were convincing, none were more so than at the Volvo Scandinavian Masters. With rounds of 67-67-65-69 at Barsebäck, Montgomerie finished the tournament at 20 under par, nine shots clear of nearest challenger Jesper Parnevik. It was the second time he had won that event, which he would win for a third time two years later.
He followed that with his sixth trophy of the year at the Cisco World Match Play Tournament, where he defeated defending champion Marc O’Meara 3&2, and claimed 3.5 points during Europe’s narrow defeat to the United States in the Ryder Cup at Brookline.
One European Tour win
The final of Montgomerie’s eight Order of Merit titles came during the year where he recorded his best finish at the Open Championship, as runner-up to Tiger Woods in St. Andrews.
He would go on to post a top ten at both the WGC NEC-Invitational and the WGC HSBC World Match Play Championship before returning to Fife in October and claiming his first and only win of the season at the Dunhill Links Championship.
It was a significant victory for Montgomerie, who came from five shots behind to beat Kenneth Ferrie to the title with a birdie at the 18th. It moved him back inside the top 20 on the Official World Golf Ranking, and in to second place in the Order of Merit behind Michael Campbell.
"This is very special,” he said at the time. “I said the next win would be the moment important of my career, and it is. So this is the most important win of my career.”
Just a week later his third place at the WGC American Express Championship let him claim the top spot once more, where he stayed for the remainder of the season thanks to top tens in his final two events: Tied eighth at the Open de Madrid, and third at the Volvo Masters.
Montgomerie would win two more European Tour titles following the 2005 season: The 2005 UBS Hong Kong Open, and the 2007 Smurfit Kappa European Open.
He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame is 2013, and went on to win three Senior Major Championships: the 2014 Senior PGA Championship, the 2014 U.S. Senior Open, and the 2015 Senior PGA Championship.