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Montgomerie may play a dozen times in USA

Colin Montgomerie may play seven Americans tournaments in a row en route to next month's Masters.

Montgomerie, who has played in California the past two weeks, continues his surprising new love affair with the US when he contests the Ford Championship at Doral starting today.

He will stay in this region for next week's Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, and will contest the Players' Championship in three weeks and the BellSouth Classic the week after that, before tackling the Masters. The only event in doubt between now and Augusta is the Bay Hill Invitational in two weeks.

Montgomerie's heavy US schedule is the result of his reluctance to travel to the Middle East while war clouds are looming. It was not so much this week's Dubai Desert Classic that worried him, more next week's Qatar Masters, and he did not want to travel so far for just one tournament.

"Qatar is a big US Air Force base," he said. "I have a good relationship with Dubai, but maybe this year wasn't the time to go."

By time the year is done, Montgomerie may have played a dozen tournaments in the US. Who would have thought this likely a year ago when he stormed home after the Matchplay Championship, vowing to curtail his American appearances due to crowd heckling?

Montgomerie is joined here by fellow Britons Nick Faldo, Luke Donaldand John Morgan in a field lacking star power. World No 6 David Toms is the top-ranked player in action.


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