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Montgomerie in new caddie poaching row

Seven-times European number one Colin Montgomerie is embroiled in another caddie-poaching controversy after snatching Australian Stephen Leaney's bagman from under his nose.

Montgomerie nearly caused a rift in Europe's Ryder Cup preparations last year when he upset team mate Phillip Price by persuading the Welshman's caddie Andy Prodger to join him before the match against the U.S.

Now Prodger and Montgomerie are to part company and Leaney's caddie Steve Rawlinson, another Englishman, is being taken on.

But Leaney is unhappy with the way the deal was done behind his back.

"I had an inkling that Monty wanted my caddie but it wasn't until 5.30 (pm) last night that I heard about it," the 34-year-old Western Australian said after shooting a 69 in the Volvo PGA Championship opening round.

"Monty actually called while Steve was telling me but obviously they'd already arranged it before.

"It was unfortunate that I didn't get to hear about it until the deal was already done. I'd have preferred Monty to have had the courtesy to call and tell me what was going on, then I'd have perhaps been able to offer my caddie something different. That was the disappointing thing.

"It put me on a spot. I'm coming into a very big tournament, all happy with him on the bag for 23 months and suddenly I'm in the lurch.

"And the last thing you want when there are majors around is an enforced caddie change. I'm playing in the Memorial next week and then I'm at the U.S. Open and British Open, and I haven't confirmed anybody to work for me."

Montgomerie insisted he had done nothing wrong, saying: "I thought I was doing the right thing and, if I haven't, I apologise. But at the same time I don't feel I have to."

Explaining his split with Prodger, who has stayed on the bag for the Wentworth tournament, the Scot added: "I just wanted a change, it just wasn't gelling very well."

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