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The Scotsman
Fri 9 Jul 2004
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Turned on or teed off? Is your chat-up line a handicap?


GOD, IT is said, loves a trier. So Colin Montgomerie can at least take comfort in the knowledge that someone will forgive and forget what has been interpreted as one of the biggest romantic faux pas the golfing circuit has ever seen.

Whether Jane Lewis, the recipient of Monty’s public approach, which put her on the front page of a red-top newspaper, is so understanding, one can only speculate.

It all started well enough. Lewis, an STV reporter, commented during a packed press conference at the Loch Lomond Open golf championship on Tuesday that Monty was "looking more relaxed", which, among the press pack, ranks as a professional observation.

Monty’s response took a more personal twist. "Thank you very much," replied the Scots golfer, who recently separated from his wife, Eimear. "Can I give you my address?" Lewis, a 33-year-old woman who earns her living by talking, appeared lost for words. A deadly hush descended over the press tent and observers cringed with embarrassment.

"It was not meant to be a chat-up line," the presenter is later reported to have said. But rightly or wrongly, Monty, 41, has now won a place in another hall of fame - for those accused of a very public proposal.

While few may share the Ryder Cup hero’s golf handicap, many share his experience of a "romantic" flop.

The Prince of Wales, for instance, discovered this during a trip to India with Princess Diana in 1992. Diana had posed for a solitary photo-shoot in front of the Taj Mahal. Later, when he attempted to plant a kiss on her lips following a polo match at Jaipur, she turned away, forcing him to kiss air while the cameras clicked. Romantic clumsiness seems to run in the Royal family. In the 1980s, Prince Charles’s brother, Andrew, the Duke of York, flirted with Selina Scott during a television interview, to the astonishment of viewers.

But this is nothing compared to the failed sense of occasion demonstrated by Arnold Schwarzenegger when he was interviewed by Denise Van Outen on The Big Breakfast bed. Schwarzenegger, who was then a mere movie star, repeatedly pawed at her body. This turned out to be only a warm-up for a television interview with Melanie Sykes, whom he grabbed round the waist, only backing away when she shouted: "Get your hands off me, I’m scared." Schwarzenegger capped his visit to Britain, to promote the film, End of Days, by appearing on the Sky movie show, The Big Screen. As its presenter, Anna Richardson, went to shake his hand, he pulled her onto his knee and said: "I want to know if your breasts are real." Schwarzenegger’s antics - which many call abusive behaviour - were used against him when he ran as governor of California.

But it’s not just a guy thing. In 1991, Catherine Zeta-Jones showed off a glittering ring at the premiere of the movie Hot Shots in London, leading to reports that she was engaged to her then boyfriend, John Leslie, the erstwhile Blue Peter presenter. She later said: "I’m fed up waiting for him to propose. If he’s not careful I’m going to trade him in." Not long afterwards the couple split.

If a public statement is no way to get your lover up the aisle, nor, it appears, is it any way to win your spouse back.

When Tony Blackburn’s wife, Tessa Wyatt, ran off with Richard O’Sullivan, the star of Man About The House, the Radio One DJ was quick to let the nation know. Blackburn broke down in excruciating sobs during one of his shows. He later took to playing Kool And The Gang’s single, Jones Vs Jones, the lyrics of which deal with a divorce. The single became a hit, but did little for Blackburn’s street cred.

It is unlikely that Colin Montgomerie will shed any tears over Lewis’s failure to say, "Yes, Monty, let me write your address in my notebook", though who knows what the press attention and his reported embarrassment will do for his concentration.

Still, he might take comfort in the fact that many a man will understand his offer to the STV anchor-woman. Bruce McGee, former drummer with Simple Minds, named his band Jane Lewis Fan Club. Now that’s the sort of romantic gesture wannabe muses would welcome with open arms.
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