Monty eager to study Woods craft
Thursday 31 January 2008
Colin Montgomerie is 44 going on 45, has been in or around the higher echelons of his profession for two decades, yet still believes he has plenty to learn from his 32-year-old playing partner in today's first round of the Desert Classic. Step forward, Tiger Woods, the man who can lead the oldest dogs on a five-mile walk and teach them a few new tricks in the process.
Not that Montgomerie is an old dog ("less of the old"), but he was willing to confess yesterday that he could do with a few new tricks as he tries to put the magic back in a career that has looked rather shaggy of late. "I am 44, I still want to improve and the only way of doing that, I believe, is playing with players you feel are better than you," said the Scot. "Tiger is certainly that and I have to find out why. And learn from it."
Fortunately, Montgomerie has not asked his fellow Tour veteran Thomas Bjorn how to beat the world No 1 – the answer would probably be "you won't". Bjorn may well have gone head-to-head for four rounds with Woods here in 2001 before pulling off a famous victory (Monty has never won a tournament in which Tiger has played), but that has not stopped him from having something of an inferiority complex when it comes to the figure he calls "the greatest sporting icon in the world".
"People ask why we don't stand up to this guy," Bjorn said. "We are not as good as he is, that's why. The sooner we all accept we can only be second best, the more chance we have to live up to our potential. If you are trying to beat him, good luck. You are not going to do it. He is not going to let you."
The facts certainly back up the Dane. Woods won his first tournament of the year on Sunday in Buick by eight shots, has triumphed in six of his last seven events stretching back to last August and, in this time, has posted a remarkable average score of 66.75.
Yesterday, the message from Woods to his rivals – who, this week, include Lee Westwood, Ernie Els and Henrik Stenson – was familiarly chilling. "People ask me if is this is just a run, but I think it's improvement," he said. "That's one of the reasons I made the [swing] changes. You can see the results. And the great thing is we have a long way to go."
Latest in Sport
How Liverpool can catch Manchester United and secure Champions League football next season
Arsenal transfer news: 'We are not close to signing anybody. We need to lose some players,' says Arsene Wenger
Danny Jones: Keighley Cougars half-back dies after cardiac arrest during league game
Chelsea season player ratings: Grading the entire squad of the new Premier League champions
Floyd Mayweather beats Manny Pacquiao by a unanimous points decision - but Pacquiao thinks he should have won, saying 'he did nothing'
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 3 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 4 The top 50 cities for young people to live in
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils