Palmer move for European Open

By Brian Keogh

Colin Montgomerie could be defending his European Open title on The K Club's Ryder Cup course next year.

The Scot, 44, grabbed his 31st European Tour win on the newer Smurfit Course on Sunday.

But many players prefer the Palmer Course that hosted the Ryder Cup last year and 10 of the 13 Smurfit Kappa European Opens held at The K Club since 1995.

And tournament director Jamie Birkmyre has confessed that a possible change of venue will be given serious consideration.

Birkmyre said: "We will be holding talks about next year very soon. They will involve the Tour, Smurfitt Kappa and Dr Michael Smurfit, as the president of The K Club.

"The subject of moving the tournament to the Palmer course will be discussed, but I should say nothing has been decided yet.

"One thing is for certain we would not be moving back across the river as a reflection on the Smurfit course. I still think it is an exceedingly good golf course.

"But we have been very unlucky with with the weather and it has made people think about a move."

Ulsterman Graeme McDowell is one of the top players urging officials to move away from the exposed Smurfit Course and back to the Palmer Course.

Before a final disastrous finish to his final round relegated him to tied 18th, McDowell said: "The K Club is synonymous with the Ryder Cup course, and that's the one we all want to play to be honest.

"Not that there's anything wrong with this golf course. We've played it for a few years now with the terrible weather and we've never had a chance to see it in all it's glory. So we are probably unfairly criticising this place."

The K Club will host the European Open until 2016 as part of an agreement between Dr Smurfit and the European Tour.

But Montgomerie certainly wasn't complaining about the Smurfit Course after a nail-biting victory that boosted him to 30th in the world rankings.

He said: "You have some self doubt and there will be a time where I will have my last win somewhere and I will always remember it. I hope it is not this one but if it is I will savour this for the rest of my life.

"It is just great at 44 to come back and win again as sometimes that is the end of one's career and I feel this is a new beginning for me and I can look forward now."

Montgomerie will be in action in this week's Barclays Scottish Open at Loch Lomond where seven of the world's top 20 will also tee it up.

Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Luke Donald and Retief Goosen have been joined by Spain's Sergio Garcia, US Open champion Angel Cabrera and South African Trevor Immelman.

Irish eyes will be on Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley, McDowell, Peter Lawrie, Gary Murphy and Damien McGrane.

Ranked 128th in the world, Clarke will be hoping to do a Montgomerie and win for the first time since he retained the Visa Taiheiyo Masters in Japan 20 months ago.

McGinley also needs a boost after slipping to 164th in the rankings following his missed cut at The K Club