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Thursday 14 December 2017

Monty set his Ryder targets

Scot wants to stand in front of his team as a winner

COLIN MONTGOMERIE has set himself the target of winning a tournament before captaining Europe at this year's Ryder Cup.

Montgomerie has not won an individual event since July 2007 and has slumped to 287th in the world rankings, but the 46-year-old Scot is determined to get back to winning ways.

Speaking ahead of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, which got under way today, Montgomerie said: "I haven't really performed this last year.

"I went out to Houston to see my coach from when I was at university there, Paul Marchand, on the way over here and worked out a number of issues within the swing and the way that I was thinking around the golf course.

"And I've practised well here so I look forward to not just competing here, but to contending here and then move forward from then on.

"I have a goal that I would love to win before the Ryder Cup starts. I'd like to stand in front of my team at the opening ceremony as a tournament winner myself this year.

"It has been difficult time-wise to fit everything in, to try and concentrate on playing at a certain level at the same time as all of the administration and all of the time consumed in organising and in being the host Ryder Cup captain.

"There's an awful lot more to do being the host than there is being the away captain so it has been very busy, but it's been exciting at the same time."

Montgomerie can at least be confident in the likely strength of his side at Celtic Manor from October 1-3 as Europe attempt to regain the trophy lost at Valhalla in 2008.

Europe have five players currently in the world's top 10 - Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Paul Casey, Martin Kaymer and Pádraig Harrington - with Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald inside the top 20.

"Although we don't have the top three in the world, we have the rest," added Montgomerie, who will add three wild cards to the nine automatic qualifiers for his team.



COMPETING

"It's the first time that a captain of the Ryder Cup team can say that. I think it's (down to) that they are all competing against each other."

Montgomerie, meanwhile, who has faced his share of hecklers in the United States, believes Tiger Woods will be able to cope with any abuse that comes his way on his return to golf.

Woods, who has not competed since his marital infidelities became public in November, has admitted to being nervous about the reception that awaits him on his return at the US Masters next month.

"I heard when he said he would be nervous to come back and that's the first time I've ever heard Tiger say those words, it's going to be interesting," said Montgomerie.

"I hear he has been up for a practice round (at Augusta) already.

"He'll get over those nerves and he will be as determined as anyone has ever been on a golf course to prove that he is still the number one player in the world and, in my opinion, the best player ever to play the game," said the Scot.

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