Montgomerie picking Tiger, too

Colin Montgomerie would normally pick himself to win any tournament he plays in Europe. But this week is different.

Colin Montgomerie would normally pick himself to win any tournament he plays in Europe. But this week is different.

It's the Tiger Woods effect.

Montgomerie, who will try to claim his seventh straight European money title when the season-ending American Express Championship starts on Thursday, has won six times in Europe this season to tie a modern record also held by Nick Faldo and Seve Ballesteros.

But Tiger is from another planet as he shoots for his eighth PGA victory of the season - last done 25 years ago by Johnny Miller. He has won six of his last nine tournaments and also helped return the Ryder Cup to the United States.

"It's quite phenomenal," said Montgomerie. "He's far and away the best right now. And from what we can ascertain as players, I don't think that's going to change very much over the next few years."

"I can't hit shots like him. I can hit some, but the length I can't compete with and neither can anyone else in world golf."

"Tiger is so far ahead of anybody else ... he is going to be difficult to catch and the way he is performing he is dangerous anywhere. Confidence is what it's all about."

Montgomerie is £410,942 ($673,944) ahead of Sergio Garcia on the European money list with Lee Westwood and Retief Goosen slightly further behind. If Garcia or Westwood win here, Montgomerie must finish second to keep his title. If Goosen wins, he must finish eighth.

Prior to this season's new format, the 36-year-old Scot would have been the runaway winner again in Europe.

But the addition of the three World Golf Championship events this season - with $1m to each winner - has turned the season's close into a lottery.

For instance, Europe's 1999 Ryder Cup captain Mark James has winnings of £334,203 ($548,092) - meaning a victory on Sunday would earn him almost twice what he's won all season.

Montgomerie, who dominates European golf and usually gets what he wants, has made it clear that he is unhappy with the new setup.

"It's all come down to one huge, huge purse at the end of the day," Montgomerie said. "Whatever happens this week, the Order of Merit (European money title) this year is a very, very different one to what we've had in the past."

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