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Montgomerie sets sights on return to top

Seven-times European number one Colin Montgomerie has set his sights on returning to the world's top 10 after experiencing a difficult 2004.

The 41-year-old Briton has slipped to 81 in the official world rankings after struggling with his game for much of last year while in the throes of a divorce.

"I spent 12 years of my 17 as a pro in the top 10 in the world and I want to try to get back there," Montgomerie told BBC radio on Sunday.

"It might take six months to a year at least, but that is the ambition.

"I have just got to try to get my own ranking up to where I feel it should be, at least in the top 25 in the world if not higher," he added.

Montgomerie, who holed the winning putt for Europe in their runaway Ryder Cup victory over the United States last September, was a regular in the world's top 10 from mid-1994 to mid-2001.

Although no longer the force he was when dominating the European game from 1993 to 1999, the straight-hitting Scot is still capable of success at the highest level.

An inspirational figure for Europe in the Ryder Cup, he produced scintillating form in last month's Target World Challenge in California, leading by two going into the final day before tying for third, three behind winner Tiger Woods.

He then ended the year on a memorable note by becoming an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

"This honour is wonderful for me personally and I'm very pleased to get it," he said. "I feel I have a lot more to give and it fills me with confidence going into 2005."

However, Montgomerie conceded he considered quitting tournament golf after the break-up of his 14-year marriage to wife Eimear.

"Did retirement cross my mind? Yes, for a brief moment," he said.

"I was given two options, really. One was give up, the other one to get off your backside and do something about it and that is what I did.

"I was advised not to (give up), which is good. You need a lot of help in those situations and I had that," added the Scot, who was forced to miss the U.S. Open last year for the first time since 1991 after dropping out of the world's top 50.

"I had that support and I had that friendship and I had that advice, and that is vital. It all paid dividends in the end."

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