Jun 14 2011 by Gordon Bannerman, Perthshire Advertiser Tuesday
VICTORIOUS Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie yesterday unveiled the stunning new-look Dormy House at Gleneagles.
The £3 million makeover for the distinctive clubhouse and restaurant hugging the 18th holes of the famous King’s and Queen’s courses had been prompted with the Ryder Cup in mind.
And PA Sport can reveal that PGA Centenary Course architect Jack Nicklaus will return to Perthshire over the summer as key plans are finalised to tweak the 2014 Ryder Cup track.
And top of the Golden Bear’s design team’s brief will be transforming the 18th hole in advance of world golf’s most high profile tournament coming to Scotland.
Montgomerie made the short journey from the family home to officially open the transformed Dormy House, which sees the Diageo bill for upgrading work at five star Gleneagles rising beyond the £18 million mark.
European Tour stars will get their first glimpse of the improvements when the venue hosts the Johnnie Walker Championship in August. But yesterday hotel management stressed a warm welcome awaited locals keen to savour the extended restaurant and shopping facility.
Montgomerie said: “As a player and chairman of the Johnnie Walker Championship, I am familiar with Gleneagles and the ongoing plans to host the 2014 Ryder Cup Matches. As a former Ryder Cup captain I know exactly what facilities are required.
“It was an honour to be invited to re-open the Dormy House. The facilities are fantastic. We use the restaurant and the country club a lot as a family and it is super. They have done a great job.”
After hosting a golf clinic, addressing the media in the new Abe Mitchell room, with the distinctive Ryder Cup within touching distance, the one-time European number one said the oft-criticised PGA Centenary Course was on track for meeting the highest expectations.
He said: “We had a contingent in Wales to see how the Ryder Cup is progressing. It is getting even bigger and better. Wales did an outstanding job and now it is the turn of Scotland and Gleneagles to better it.”
Recalling stinging criticism from leading Tour star Lee Westwood and potential Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke, Montgomerie stressed: “Everything is falling into place. It has been getting a bit of flak and there is a bit of tweaking to be done. But we are getting there. There was a six-year plan for the greens when Gleneagles was the successful bidder. We have two years to go and it will be bang-on.
“The area was under snow after two awful winters with no growth at all. I played the King’s recently and it was extremely dry. The greenkeepers will be delighted with the rain we are getting. They were praying for this.”
Montgomerie is packing his bags for the US Open at Congressional but this time he will be restricted to a Sky Sports commentary booth.
And he is tipping a European flavour to the Maryland Major, with Westwood, Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer potential top five contenders, with Tiger Woods absent.
And Montgomerie, who posted four second places in the States, including a 1997 bid at Congressional as a cherished Major evaded his grasp, would love to see fellow Scots Martin Laird, a winner at Bay Hill this season, and Stephen Gallacher, making their mark on American soil.
He said: “The door is wide open without Tiger. The key to winning there is patience. I believe there will be three Europeans in the top five.”