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Monty not talking about it -- whatever 'it' is

by | CBSSports.com Senior Writer
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SHEBOYGAN, Wis. -- The jokes have been flying around for a month.

Such as, when Colin Montgomerie selected the colors and fabrics for the European uniforms at the Ryder Cup, did he select chenille, black leather or silk?

Instead of talking about the Ryder Cup, Colin Montgomerie has to sidestep some salacious questions. (AP)  
Instead of talking about the Ryder Cup, Colin Montgomerie has to sidestep some salacious questions. (AP)  
A day after a nationally syndicated U.S. radio show discussed an injunction in the United Kingdom that prohibits the publication of purportedly embarrassing photos of the Ryder captain, Monty tap-danced through the personal minefield Wednesday at the PGA Championship.

Appearing on Dan Patrick's syndicated show, CBS analyst David Feherty repeated rumors that have been swirling about Monty since the British Open -- that photographs exist of the longtime European Tour star and that a British judge has issued an edict banning their publication.

In the U.K., where privacy laws are a serious matter, a so-called super-injunction not only prohibits the publication of photos or videos, but bans any newspapers or broadcast outlets from discussing the injunction itself. So, not a word about the matter was written or said publicly in the media until Patrick's show aired.

Monty parsed his words carefully and denied Feherty's comment that the News of the World, a saucy British tabloid, was under any such legal gag order. However, he deftly avoided addressing whether any other U.K. publication might have been the target of the injunction.

"Obviously I listened to that radio show and I know a lot of you are having a lot of fun right now at my expense," Monty said, managing a smile. "Let me clear this up, though. I can categorically say that there's no injunction against the News of the World.

"I'm really not going to discuss this any further. All I can say is categorically there is no injunction against the News of the World regarding anything. I apologize for this, that you have to bring this up, but at the same time, no further comments from myself on that matter."

It was a textbook display of how to use semantics, but his non-denial denial didn't end the questioning. The chance exists that the rumors might cause a rift on the team or undermine his captaincy if the players are gossiping and laughing behind his back.

"None at all, none at all," Monty said, coolly. "I've spoken to a number of the players, and there's no issue here at all. Nothing at all."

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Interestingly, the radio-show exchange Tuesday prompted reporters from U.K. papers covering the PGA Championship to trade e-mail messages and phone calls with staff media lawyers overseas to see how far they can go in reporting Monty's comments Wednesday.

Lawyers specifically clarified for U.K. reporters exactly what could be written and asked. So, clearly, an injunction of some sort exists.

Monty later fielded a question about whether any injunction existed against a particular individual person -- the insinuation being that a former romantic liaison was in possession of the photos -- he backed away completely and for good.

"Excuse me, I'm here to talk about The Ryder Cup, OK?" he said politely. "So please, no further questions on that or any other subject regarding anything, or anything regarding my private life. By definition that is private."

Since we are forced to split hairs: What is private, exactly?

His counterpart, Corey Pavin, who a few moments later would be in a dicey situation with a Golf Channel reporter, came to his verbal rescue.

"I agree with Colin, actually, let's stick to golf subjects here," he said. "We'd appreciate that."

It's been a rough tenure for Monty as the Euro captain already. After he weighed in with some well-circulated comments about Tiger Woods' extra-marital affairs over the winter, it was learned in June that Monty had been cheating on his wife of two years with an old flame.

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