Two-time tour winner Michael
Campbell has returned from a 10-week break to renew his bid for the European
order of merit title and the New Zealander is in no doubt who he has to beat
to do so.
Speaking ahead of the French
Open, which begins on Thursday, Campbell, who has had four wins altogether in
four months, said: "Colin Montgomerie may not be on top at the moment but he
is always up there and I admire his will to win.
"He has that winning attitude
and intensity. You have to have it. I found it for my four wins. I had goose
bumps every time I holed the winning putt.
"Every time he makes a
mistake he goes a little bit overboard but it's not a flaw, just the way he is.
And if there's something wrong with a part of his game, he wants to fix it. That's
the sign of a world-class player."
Campbell currently lies
third in the rankings, 500,000 dollars behind leader Darren Clarke, who is not
competing in Paris.
But Montgomerie is only
23rd, 750,000 dollars adrift of top place.
Montgomerie will be Campbell's
target this week, while the Scot is looking for his first win of the year to
kick-start his season.
Despite finishing only
fifth in the Spanish Open on Monday, Montgomerie often looked close to his best
- except when putting.
He might struggle at Le
National course venue because the greens have been hit by disease and poor weather
and several of them are threadbare, leading to the players being warned before
travelling to Paris.
"I welcomed the warning
because it's better than saying nothing and then turning up and finding out about
them," said the Scot.
"It's better to be pessimistic
beforehand than optimistic. I've had no chance to work on my putting because
of the quick turnaround.
"The way I struck the ball
last week I should have won. Peter Coleman (his stand-in caddie borrowed from
the absent Bernhard Langer) is great on lines and I have hit the ball on those
"I don't enter tournaments
to finish fifth any more."
Montgomerie flew in by
private jet and, after speaking of his wonder at fellow-Scot David Coulthard's
narrow escape on Tuesday, revealed he now no longer used a similar Lear Jet to
the one the racing driver was flying in.
He decided not to after
the death of Payne Stewart last year in a Lear jet.
South African Retief Goosen
defends the title he won in Bordeaux, hoping to go better than his three top
threes in early season.
Frenchman Jean Van de Velde,
playing in his national open for the first time in two years, was still fielding
questions about his Carnoustie collapse, and also made a revelation.
"It came to me in a flash
of light yesterday," said the British Open runner-up. "When I stood on the 13th
tee at Carnoustie I should have told myself 'make six pars and you win."
"That's ocurred to me to
about 10 months too late!"