Montgomerie Expects 12 Asian Major Champions Within 15 Years
By Jake O'Reilly
02 November 2012 10:48
Eight-time European Tour Order of Merit winner Colin Montgomerie believes Asia could have as many as a dozen major winners in the next 10 to 15 years.
The 49-year-old has backed the region, which currently can count only South Korean Y.E. Yang as its solitary major champion, to produce the next batch of golf's household names.
The Scot has reason to be optimistic.
The Asian Tour has grown exponentially, going from 22 tournaments offering prize money of £7.6 million in its inaugural season back in 2004, to 24 tournaments worth over £30 million in 2012.
"It [the Asian Tour] is third fiddle right now, but you talk to me in 10-15 years time and you won't be saying that," Montgomerie told ESPN in Singapore. "I can guarantee you it will be equal or ahead.
"I think the work ethic of Asians is different than we in the West. I think that opportunities given are increasing all the time. There's more courses opening up here all the time in Asia, there's more opportunities given for children to play the game and I think you will find a load of very, very good golfers coming out of Asia.
"I think if you talk to me in 10-15 years' time, there could be a dozen [Major winners from Asia]," Montgomerie added.
This week superstars Phil Mickelson, Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter are among the big names competing in China at the £4.3 million WGC-HSBC Champions event. The following week, world number one Rory McIlroy comes to Singapore where he will look to sew up the European Tour's Race to Dubai if he can win the £3.7 million Barclays Singapore Open.
"It's [Barclays Singapore Open] a big tournament, a big purse, a good field, and I look forward to participating myself and trying to give Rory a run for his money. I used to start events 12-15 years ago expecting to win. Now it is slightly different," joked Montgomerie