Montgomerie defends record away from home

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The Independent Online

Scotland's Colin Montgomerie, a target of vicious crowd abuse during this year's Ryder Cup in the United States, said he would have nothing to prove by playing more golf tournaments in America.

Scotland's Colin Montgomerie, a target of vicious crowd abuse during this year's Ryder Cup in the United States, said he would have nothing to prove by playing more golf tournaments in America.

Montgomerie was criticized by fellow Briton Nick Faldo, who accused him of hiding under the "security blanket" of the European Tour.

"I'm very comfortable in Europe - he's correct there," Montgomerie said today in response to Faldo's comments.

"And why not play where you're comfortable? There's nothing wrong with that.

"I understand his comments but I understand what I try to do as well. I've got a young family and we're based very much in Europe. I don't feel I have to go to America to prove anything."

Montgomerie was hounded by fans at Brookline, Mass., during this year's Ryder Cup with the abuse getting so bad his father could no longer take it and left the course.

Who can blame him for being more comfortable at home, where he has just completed a record seventh win as top European money winner?

Montgomery will start favorite at the 640,000 US dollars Australian Open on Thursday, relegating local hero Greg Norman into second place in the betting odds.

But Montgomerie, partly because he hasn't been adventurous, has only won twice outside of Europe, a fact which dominated today's news conference.

Montgomerie was told that those wins, as best individual at the 1997 World Cup teams event at Kiawah Island, South Carolina, and in the Million Dollar Challenge at Sun City in South Africa, were against "limited fields."

Of course he bristled.

"Sorry about that, it wasn't my fault it was a limited field (at Sun City)," Montgomerie said. "I still won. Sorry about that, bloody hell.

"The World Cup - terrible win that, awful win, 24-under around Kiawah Island, what the hell was I doing there."

Montgomerie has not won on the US PGA Tour in 62 attempts but says he doesn't care.

And he no longer "obsesses" about his failure to win a major, as he admits he once did.

"This year was my most consistent in majors and maybe next year I can turn that consistency into a win," Montgomerie said. "My career is a little bit incomplete without a major but I've got to the stage now that it doesn't really obsess me like it used to."

Faldo is also in the field but Montgomerie wasn't going to turn the Englishman's comments into an ongoing spat.

"If there's anybody who can improve in his 40s, Faldo's it," Montgomerie said. "He's very, very determined to get back to a position - not so much where he was but even to improve on that.

"No-one works at the game any harder than Nick. If anybody can, he's the man who can come back from where he is right now."

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