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Montgomerie wants automatic qualification

Colin Montgomerie is determined to qualify for next month's European Ryder Cup team on merit, even though captain Bernhard Langer is likely to select him as one of his two wildcard picks.

Montgomerie, a veteran of six Ryder Cups, has been in the throes of a divorce for much of this season and is languishing in 18th place in the European world points standings.

"My goal over the next three weeks is to actually qualify for the team, something that I've been very proud of doing the last six occasions," the 41-year-old told a news conference on Wednesday as he prepared for this week's U.S. PGA Championship.

"I hope to make that seven to put him (Bernhard) in an easier position, make my way on to that team without having to get a captain's pick.

"I think you know me well enough to understand what the Ryder Cup means to me, and I would love to be a part of that competition.

"I'm quite proud of myself right now, but I would be more proud of myself if I could possibly get three good finishes in the next three tournaments and qualify for the team."

The Scot, a talismanic figure for Europe in the 2002 Ryder Cup at The Belfry, is scheduled to play at next week's WGC-NEC Invitational at Firestone in Akron, Ohio.

He will then play at the BMW International Open in Munich before Langer announces his 12-man Ryder Cup team on August 29.

"I'm not taking anything away from any of the other European players here because everyone in those top 10 positions (in the Cup standings) right now are very, very good golfers and capable of playing around here," Montgomerie added.

"But I was glad to see the difficulty of this course (Whistling Straits), and I'm also looking forward to Firestone next week and then we all head off to Munich.

"I have two or three great challenges ahead of me and I'm taking a better game of golf into them."

Montgomerie first played at the Ryder Cup in 1991 and was on the winning team in 1995, 1997 and 2002.

Langer said earlier on Wednesday the seven-times European number one would provide a significant boost if he qualified for Oakland Hills.

"You know, that would be the best thing that could happen to us," said Langer. "Colin, when he plays at his best, can beat anybody.

"He can be a tower of strength, and he's been around for a long time. It would be a huge difference."

The 35th Ryder Cup will be held at Oakland Hills in Detroit, Michigan from September 17 to 19.

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