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Colin Montgomerie defends Lee Westwood
April 28, 2011

Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie has jumped to the defence of world number one Lee Westwood and said if U.S.-based players were concerned about the European resurgence in the world rankings they should join Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in playing more tournaments overseas.

The 38-year-old Westwood reclaimed the top ranking when he won the Indonesian Masters last week but the Briton’s mantle has been questioned because he had not won a major tournament.

“It’s true Lee Westwood as number one has not won a major but we also have a world number one in ladies’ tennis as well who has not won a major,” Montgomerie said at the launch of the Monty’s Monthly Medal charity initiative, which will help raise funds for the construction of two cancer centres in Scotland.

“Major championships are one way or the other. I almost got to number one in the world without winning a major and if I had of won the ’97 Scottish Open at Loch Lomond I’d have been world number one also without winning major.

“So it goes on performance and over two years Lee Westwood has more points than anyone else and he deserves his place. There’s no question about it.

“What that proves is consistency, and not just because you’ve won a big tournament as it is reflected in what you’ve done in all the others.

“So Lee Westwood is rightfully the best golfer in the world right now and to suggest otherwise is wrong.”

Westwood, who first went to number one last November, reclaimed the top ranking from Germany’s Martin Kaymer, who is now ranked two, with Briton Luke Donald third, with his victory in Indonesia.

Six of the world’s top eight players are European and Montgomerie added any of the PGA players who had concerns about that, should follow the example of Mickelson (fourth) and Woods (sixth), who do play around the world.

“Tiger (Woods) has always travelled about the world and been a global player, we’ve seen Phil (Mickelson) in recent years travel to European Tour events in the Far East and he was in Abu Dhabi this year which is great,” Montgomerie said.

“But it was the Americans who dominated the world rankings for the last 10 years, so what are they really complaining about?

“They were getting more points than we were here in Europe for a long time.

“The only reason they’re complaining is that the more top ranked players you have in European events, like Dubai earlier this year and Wentworth next month, the more points you generate.

“The BMW PGA is open to the top-50 in the world whether or not you are a European Tour member or not, so if the Americans are worried about the rankings why not come to Europe and play Wentworth?”

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