CLAD IN BLUE JEANS AND a navy blue sweater, former European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie struck iron shots from scruffy turf as British troops and Afghan children looked on. Montgomerie had helped convert a firing range into a driving range at Camp Bastion, a British military base in Helmand. Then he showed his hosts how it was done.
“It was quite good to get the lads out and have a go,” Monty said of the impromptu exhibition and golf clinic.
The Scottish golf star spent three November days in Afghanistan, a roving golf ambassador of sorts. The trip was arranged by the PGA of Britain and Ireland. Montgomerie donated golf equipment and gave lessons to troops and youngsters. While acknowledging that Afghan youth were growing up in a war-torn land, he hoped golf could be a positive vehicle for the next generation.
“It is great to promote the game here to encourage the Afghans to have a [Olympic] team in 2016,” he said.
Monty offered swing tips to soldiers and about two dozen Afghan kids who had never gripped a golf club. After taking a turn, Masoma Alyari, a 15-year-old girl, said she hoped to play again.
“It’s the first time that I’ve played golf, and it’s really interesting,” Alyari said.
She might just be hooked.
−The Armchair Golfer
(Visor tip: BBC SPORT)