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Golf Today 2nd March
Montgomerie ready for eight straight years at No.1
Duval tries to regain winning touch at Doral
Bickerton signs for Barry Hearn
Norman will skip 2001 World Matchplay
Heart transplant Compton to compete at Doral

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Montgomerie ready for eight straight years at No.1

Colin Montgomerie will start his European Tour campaign today at the Dubai Desert Classic with a huge headstart given to Darren Clarke. Clarke has around a £600,000 lead over Montgomerie. The Scot feels ready to respond by reminding everybody who has been Europe's number one for the past seven years.

Montgomerie was only too happy to add congratulations to Darren Clarke's great achievement last week.

"It's great that Darren has proved his ability and super that after Americans won the first three world championships we have had a European winner," said Montgomerie, himself a second-round loser to Thomas Bjorn in California.

"It was a great effort and all credit to him. If someone is good enough to beat the best two players in the world then he deserves all that is coming to him. We are very proud of his achievement."

"My calculator tells me it's March 1 and that's there's a long way to go," said Montgomerie.

"I will start looking at the Order of Merit about October - I'm more interested in getting this Major thing settled.

"The Order of Merit has been done and been dusted. I'm very proud of my record and if somebody else wins I will be the first to compliment them.

"I'm as ambitious as I ever have been. I feel I've improved every year - and this year I've already improved. I was knocked out in the first round in Carlsbad last season and this time I got to the second round."

With that in mind, Montgomerie's target this week is to improve on his fifth place finish last year, seven strokes behind runaway winner David Howell.


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