Troon member Montgomerie to hit first shot at Open

It was like they had it for two weeks to four weeks.

Per his nature, however, Johnson sells himself short.

"I'd had success over in Japan for 11 or 12 years and had made a nice living there, so it wasn't like I came into a lottery-style amount of money", he said, "but it did help, as my wife and I were moving into a house that fall in 2004".

Nine-time major championship victor Gary Player once described the back nine at Troon as the "most difficult in the world when the wind is blowing", and Mark Calcavecchia, who won at Troon at 1989, claims the back nine plays five shots harder than the front if the wind is a factor. While he finished top 25 in both, Montgomerie admits that the pressure he felt as Europe's top player for most of that stretch was overwhelming. "So it's a rare combination ... and it's nearly unfair when you're competing against him".

That par-three course is being used as a TV compound now, and Montgomerie will be back there again this week working as a TV pundit once he has finished the day job, but the intention is to be spending more time on the other side of the ropes and less in front of the cameras at a course he knows so well.

British Open champion Zach Johnson has surrendered the Claret Jug ahead of his title defence, which begins on Thursday.

"I'll be brutally honest with you, it's not the same feeling I had when I was getting ready for the Open Championship a year ago", Spieth said Tuesday, given the opportunity to talk about this week's golf and not his decision to bypass the Olympics.

Everybody is on the Johnson bandwagon now, of course.

Spieth joins a growing list of players who have pulled out of the competition, including Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and world No 1 Day. We've won two out of the last three years. It just happens to be held on links courses in Britain, with an exception in 1951 at Portrush in Northern Ireland, where it will return in three years. And that was really about the big tournaments, since Johnson is the only current player to have won at least once in nine consecutive years.

Willett took that experience to Augusta this year, holding himself together after Jordan Spieth hit two balls into the water at No. 12 to become an unlikely victor of the Masters. "He has that weapon that is just basically unbeatable - driving the golf ball - and as he's improved his wedges ... that nearly becomes unbeatable". That's on the 50-yard line. Still, Johnson has improved in that department, too, ranking a respectable 38th in strokes gained putting. "It was definitely a motivational factor getting as close as I did and I think it finally got me over the hurdle of believing it was my time to start winning these things". He says he "very much struggled" with whether to play in Rio, going "back and forth" before finally making up his mind.

Spieth's stock has risen sharply in the previous year after he won the Masters and U.S. Open and made a spirited run at the Grand Slam.

Johnson had more than his share of major championship heartbreak before breaking through at Oakmont despite a huge controversy when he was told about a possible rules infraction in the middle of his round. "Into the wind, the shot can demand anything up to a 5-iron ...", he said.

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