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Montgomerie to return to action at Matchplay

Colin Montgomerie is set to return to competitive golf at the Accenture World Match Play in California next week provided there’s no reaction over the next 48 hours to the back problem which forced him out of the Johnnie Walker Classic in Australia next month.

An announcement is expected either today or tomorrow about the Scot’s fitness. However, it was significant that the Troon man had not yet withdrawn from the first of the season’s $5million world championship events and there were high hopes that he would travel to Carlsbad, near San Diego, over the weekend.

The only other Scot in the field, restricted to the top 64 in the world, is former Open champion Paul Lawrie. The Aberdonian reached the quarter-finals before going down to Tiger Woods when the tournament was last held at La Costa, in 2000. Woods rates the match play highly enough that he’s chosen not to enter the Nissan Open, which starts at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles today, preferring to fine-tune his game for next week.

Although the world No1 opted to keep his powder dry, ten of Europe’s finest - Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke, Jose Maria Olazabal, Sergio Garcia, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Bernhard Langer, Paul McGinley, Jesper Parnevik, Per-Ulrik Johannson and Luke Donald - have entered the Nissan, hoping to follow in the footsteps of international golfers such as Nick Faldo, Ernie Els and Robert Allenby, who have all won this prestigious title over the past five years.

While some will be glad of the opportunity to adjust to the time change in preparation for next week’s match play, perhaps the main reasons why there are so many European golfers in America is that this is a blank week on the European Tour.

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