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Montgomerie consults surgeon about back

Colin Montgomerie was being examined by a London surgeon last night, hoping above hope that he does not need to go on an operating table soon.

The 38-year-old Scot has managed second places in his last two tournaments, despite nearly pulling out of both.

Montgomerie will decide tomorrow whether he takes part in this week's Victor Chandler British Masters at Woburn - he thinks it unlikely - but first came the examination of his four prolapsed discs.

"I hope I don't need surgery. That is the last resort. But I have to go down every route because it is my career here," he said. "It's up to me. It's a voluntary thing, but at the same time I have to think how long I am going to be doing this. We will see what happens."

Montgomerie went back and forth to an osteopath last week, yet still produced an opening 64 and was still sharing top spot with eventual winner Anders Hansen - whose play in blustery conditions impressed Montgomerie - until he knocked a spectator unconscious at the 16th hole of his second round.

"That's never much fun for a player and it did throw me. But I feel I've done awfully well, to be honest," said Monty.

"I've hit some shots that I wouldn't have hit otherwise because I'm trying to protect myself sometimes.

"I was thinking of pulling out after the second day, but just couldn't. I was up there in contention and had to keep going. If I hadn't been, I wouldn't have been playing at the weekend.

"I'm rather glad I did - it eased off greatly. Hopefully, I'll be able to play this week, but it doesn't look likely right now.

"I have to go day by day until I have some time off when I can do something about it."

The US Open, his favourite major and the one in which he has finished second twice, is on New York's Long Island in just 17 days.

Montgomerie has led at some stage in each of the last four weeks, but has finished 23rd, third, second and second again.

"It's disappointing not to win any, but you can ignore the third of them because Tiger Woods was playing," he joked.

The world number one beat him at the third hole of a play-off in Heidelberg last Monday week to ensure a third victory in the event.

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