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No wildcards for Montgomerie

Colin Montgomerie is unlikely to get as much practice as he would have wished before the Masters, which starts on April 11.

Though the former European No 1 had planned to follow this week's Players Championship at Sawgrass by competing in one or other of the Shell Houston Open, starting on March 28, and the BellSouth, starting on April 4 in Atlanta, neither event has come up with a wild card.

In Houston, it hardly helped that the wild cards were handed out at a time when Montgomerie was still sore from the abuse he had taken from a handful of drunken fans at the Matchplay Championship in California. Though he was soon to revise his position, he said at the time that he was thinking of cutting down on his American appearances.

The BellSouth sponsors had dished out all their invitations before they learnt that Montgomerie was keen to play. The organisers, who are clearly desperate to have him in their field, are still trying to find a way around the problem. However, since they fear that they will draw a blank, the most likely scenario is that Montgomerie will be left with two free weeks.

Following the back trouble that affected him at the start of the season, last week's Qatar Masters is the only event in which the Scot has gone a full 72 holes.

The Portuguese Open, which is being held in the same week as the BellSouth, would have been a good alternative but for the fact that he would struggle to get from Portugal to Augusta before the Tuesday. That is really too late for one who usually drives into town on the Sunday night and likes to register on the Monday morning.


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