Montgomerie set for quick return

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The Independent Online

Colin Montgomerie, who was forced to withdraw from the Johnnie Walker Classic in Perth last week after only 30 holes with a recurrence of a back injury, will not be out of the game for as long as he first thought. The 38-year-old Scot will undergo intensive physiotherapy and may yet be fit for the run up to the US Masters, which starts with next month's World Matchplay in San Diego.

Montgomerie's manager at IMG, Guy Kinnings, said: "While we will not tempt fate by announcing a definite return date for Colin at this early stage, we are confident enough to say that we do not believe that his schedule for 2002 will be disrupted in a significant way." After receiving the results of a back scan from his London specialist, Montgomerie revealed: "The good news is that there is no substantial back injury. The discomfort I have experienced a few times is not the result of any long-term problem but is one that I can clear up with some intensive physiotherapy treatment.

"I started to work on a strengthening exercise programme designed with my specific needs in mind last year and will continue to do so."

Meanwhile, John Daly has announced his intention to join the European Tour as well as playing in the States. In addition to this week's Heineken Classic in Melbourne, the "Wild Thing" will play in the Benson and Hedges International at The Belfry, the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond and defend his BMW International title, his first win for six years.