Monty rethinks personal boycott of America

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Colin Montgomerie is sticking with his US Tour schedule after all.

After threatening to stay away from some American tournaments because of heckling by spectators, Montgomerie said yesterday he will be at the Players Championship next month and will not radically alter his US schedule.

"Over the past week, the assurances that I have received from the PGA Tour and tournament promoters, coupled with the support I have received via phone calls, letters and e–mails from genuine US golf fans has convinced me that I should not let a small minority dictate where I should play my golf," Montgomerie said in a statement.

The burly Scot sometimes gets heckled because of his weight, and, while he continues to win tournaments worldwide and was Europe's top money earner seven years in a row, he has yet to win a major and has a reputation for fading in big events.

Montgomeri said he's determined to overcome the hecklers. "Reading through the correspondence from the genuine golfing fans that kindly contacted me after the last Ryder Cup and have found time to contact me in the last few days has reminded me of everything I enjoy about playing in America," he said.

"People may forget that I enjoyed four fabulous years in Houston on a golf scholarship and received enormous support and encouragement from all those I encountered. I have so many friends and supporters over there that it would be a pity to let a tiny group sour the great experiences to be had competing on the PGA Tour."

In Miami, Tiger Woods came close to overturning Ernie Els's eight-shot lead on the final day of the Genuity Championship.

No player has ever rallied from more than six shots down after three rounds on a US PGA Tour event, but Woods seemed a likely candidate to do it and Els seemed a likely victim.

Els has a recent history of runner-up finishes to Woods, and almost saw the PGA Player of the Year make up an eight-shot deficit. While the South African laboured to an even-par 72 to end the tournament at 17-under 271, Woods hit birdies at the first three holes.

However, the American's run slowed and he ended with a six-under 66. Although it was the lowest round of the day, it left him with a 15-under total of 273 and two shots adrift to give Els his first PGA Tour victory in 19 months.

In Thailand last year, Woods rallied from eight shots down to Els on the final day to beat him at the Johnnie Walker Classic. Woods also defeated Els by a stroke at Disney World in 1999, he beat him in a play-off at Kapalua in 2000 and banished him to runner-up finishes two years ago at the Open and US Open. But this time an eight-shot lead was large enough for Els, who had gone 20 events between titles.