Monty intent on defending HK title
champion Colin Montgomerie feels right at home as he prepares to
take on the Asian charge at the UBS Hong Kong Open on Thursday.
The Ryder Cup star is eager to relive the glory days of last year
looking to continue a streak which has seen him win at least once
every year since 1993. The 43-year-old Scotsman is brimming with
confidence as he prepares to challenge an impressive field that
includes South African Retief Goosen, New Zealander Michael Campbell,
a former Major champion, and Irish Ryder Cup star Paul McGinley
at the Hong Kong Golf Club.
The Asian onslaught will be led by Koreas Choi Kyung-ju,
the four-time winner on the US PGA Tour, Thai duo of Thaworn Wiratchant
and Thongchai Jaidee, Indias Jeev Milkha Singh, the Asian
Tours UBS Order of Merit leader, and Indias Jyoti Randhawa,
who won his sixth Asian Tour title at the Hero Honda Indian Open
Comfortable with his game heading into the US$2 million event,
Montgomerie will be hoping to stretch his winning streak at the
par 70 course in Fanling.
I feel very comfortable playing in certain areas of the world
and this is one of them. And generally when I feel comfortable I
play well, said Montgomerie.
I am obviously looking forward to trying to defend the title.
I have defended a few tournaments before and I would like to do
it again here, very much so. I havent won for a year now and
thats the first year that I havent won within a year.
I want to change that in a hurry and a win here just in time for
the calendar year.
We have a good field this year with Michael Campbell, Retief
Goosen, KJ Choi and a number of top Asian players now who are able
to win. Before we had 10 or 15 people capable of winning at the
start of the week and now we have 25 or 30 capable of winning so
therefore it is more difficult. Especially here, ten of those additional
15 are Asians and I couldnt say that ten years ago. Thats
good for the Asian region and says a lot for the ability of the
local players, he added.
Soaking in the beauty of the city in his first ever visit to Hong
Kong, South African Goosen will be hoping to have an enjoyable experience
competing in his fourth straight tournament.
I have started hitting the ball better. Not making the putts
I would like to make. But I am looking forward to this week. Hopefully
some good experience here this week. I have heard a lot of good
things about the golf course, said Goosen.
It doesnt matter where you play around the world, you
have to pull out your best golf to win. And 20 years ago you may
have said it was a walkover but not any more. Golf worldwide is
so strong now. This week once again it is a strong field and will
have to play some of your best golf to win. They (Asian players)
are not going to give it to you on a plate thats for sure,
Choi, who won the 2006 Chrysler Championship last month, cast a
warning to the other players not to be deceived by the 6,703 yards
course as he will be out using every single club in his bag to challenge
The fact that the course is long or short, is not important.
Whats important is a course that allows a player to use every
single club in the bag. The Hong Kong Golf Club makes you do that,
Every hole is very special. Some holes, if you fly it over
the green, its trouble. If you land short, it rolls back down.
You have to think about every hole. You have to be smart about what
club to use. The set-up around the green is challenging. There are
not many courses out there where it challenges a player to use every
club in the bag. This course is one of the great few which makes
me think. The player able to use every club in the bag effectively
is going to end up winning this tournament, he said.
The UBS Hong Kong Open is a co-sanctioned event between the Asian
and European Tours.
November 15, 2006