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Montgomerie may miss Players Championship

The world ranking is a reality check for Colin Montgomerie.

At one time No. 2 in the world, Montgomerie showed up at La Costa at a 10-year low of No. 57. That's not only a blow to his pride, but to his chances of getting into The Players Championship.

``Sometimes I got back to my room in the evenings and wonder how and why I'm in this position,'' he said Tuesday. ``It's a position I've got to try to address.''

The TPC at Sawgrass is among his favorite courses in the United States. Montgomerie was poised to win in 1996 until Fred Couples' eagle-birdie-par finish for a four-shot victory.

Because he is not a PGA Tour member, Montgomerie must finish in the top 50 in the world after the Bay Hill Invitational to qualify for The Players Championship. After the Match Play Championship, he goes to the Dubai Desert Classic. Both are strong fields, and get a boost in ranking points because Tiger Woods is playing both.

Montgomerie also plans to play the Singapore Masters.

``I need to perform well -- very well in one, quite well in two,'' he said. ``So that's where I am.''

Montgomerie is one of the few players who has bothered to understand how the ranking system works, and he is one of the few who doesn't complain about them.

He was No. 2 in 1997 after winning the Irish Open, and could have moved to No. 1 if he had won at Loch Lomond and Greg Norman had missed the cut on the PGA Tour.

``He didn't miss the cut, I didn't win, and the gap widened,'' Montgomerie said. ``And then a Mr. Woods entered the fray and stopped everything.''

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