Put an American in front of Colin Montgomerie in the head-to-head format and he can usually summon those competitive juices. Yesterday, in Tucson, proved no exception as he defeated Jim Furyk in the first round of the WGC World Match Play.
The 44-year-old with a world ranking of 60 was given little chance against Furyk, the No 6. But with a display that must have brought back some familiarly bad memories for the home crowd, Mongomerie prevailed 3&2, thanks in no small part to a superlative putting performance.
"I've got my Ryder Cup head," revealed Montgomerie. "I really enjoyed the challenge of playing one of the top 10 and I would rank Jim higher than where he is right now. Next to Tiger [Woods] he is one of the best matchplayers there is. That's why it was such a great victory."
It was a timely win as Montgomerie needs a good showing in Arizona to qualify for the Masters. Montgomerie needs to break into the top 50 to make the field in April. Today he takes on Charles Howell.
Woods produced another incredible comeback by playing the final five holes in 5-under par to turn what looked like certain defeat into an unlikely victory against J B Holmes. "I just kept telling myself, even when I was three down, there's still a chance to win in regulation," Woods said.