Home trip boosts Montgomerie

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Colin Montgomerie was approached by a security guard as he finished a practice session yesterday and was asked if he would speak to the "working press" at the Masters.

Colin Montgomerie was approached by a security guard as he finished a practice session yesterday and was asked if he would speak to the "working press" at the Masters.

"That's two words you don't normally hear together," joked the Scot, in jovial mood ahead of his 53rd attempt to win a major championship. Montgomerie is on his 13th visit to Augusta National, but while admitting the course, firmer than for many years, is "very, very difficult" he hopes one thing is working in his favour.

"I've never won so close to the Masters before, so that's good for my confidence," said the 40-year-old, who captured the Singapore Masters three weeks ago to climb back into the world's top 50.

After originally planning to stay in the United States to practise last week Montgomerie made a sudden decision to go home and "chill out".

"I drove my caddie Andy to the airport and when we got there I just thought: 'blow it, I'm going as well'," he said. He bought a ticket and was with his family on Monday morning.

What practice he did do was at the Wisley club in Surrey, but for putting he feels there is nothing you can do until you are actually at Augusta. "These greens are unique - there is nothing like them anywhere."

Montgomerie has only one top-10 finish in the event. That was his eighth place in 1998, but it is the previous year that he is remembered for. Second to Tiger Woods halfway he expressed the hope that experience could count against a 21-year-old playing his first major as a professional. Woods, aware of the comment, shot 65 to Montgomerie's 74. The next day, still in shock, he added an 81 while Woods won by 12 with the lowest total in Masters history.

During his seven years as Europe's number one the attention was on Montgomerie more than it is now with Padraig Harrington and Darren Clarke. He has not been in the hunt in a major with a round to go since he was second to Ernie Els in the 1997 US Open and has missed the halfway cut in four of the last five majors. In the previous 21 he missed just two cuts.

Comments