Golf: Montgomerie's major ambition unaffected by commitment to Europe

Click to follow
After securing his fifth successive European order of merit title Colin Montgomerie has decided not to go to the United States full-time. As Andy Farrell reports, he wants the best of both worlds in an attempt to win his first major championship.

Asked recently about Colin Montgomerie's plans to move to the US tour next year, Seve Ballesteros said: "We all know Colin. Today he says it's black and tomorrow it's white." Ballesteros also said that Montgomerie had a "great responsibility to support the European tour".

This was a high compliment from the Ryder Cup captain to the man who ensured Europe's victory at Valderrama.

Though hardly in the same league as the Spaniard when it comes to charisma, Montgomerie has nevertheless taken over from Ballesteros as Europe's main newsmaker. Having completed five order of merit wins in a row, the 34-year-old Scot now has his sights set on Ballesteros's record total of six in all.

It had been thought that Montgomerie would take up the US tour card he has earned from his performances in the States this year to help him win the major championship he has found so elusive. But in maintaining the European tour as his base, Montgomerie does not feel it will affect his ability "to compete to the highest standard".

"I have very clear priorities both professionally and personally," he continued. "My future schedule will be carefully worked around those European, US and worldwide events which will best help me to achieve my goals. I look forward to playing an extended schedule in the US, which I know will assist me in my professional aspirations."

Instead of having to commit himself to a minimum of 15 events on the US tour, Montgomerie can play in up to 12 events, including the majors, on invitations. This year he played five times in the States outside the majors, so he is likely to swap three or four events from his European schedule to America next year.

His wife, Eimear, is expecting their third child in early May and it was always doubtful the family would be based full-time in America. "My family has always, and always will, come before anything else and my schedule will work for all of us.

"In addition, the European tour has been very good for me and I hope I have repaid it a little. With what I have achieved, and with what we as a tour have achieved, in particular with our Ryder Cup victories at Valderrama and Oak Hill, it is essential that we build on this success.

"There are lessons to be learned, but we have undeniable talent in Europe and it is inconceivable that I should choose to leave at this crucial stage."