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Montgomerie pulls out of Volkswagon Masters

Colin Montgomerie, the seven-times European Tour number one, has pulled out of an Asian Tour event in Beijing this week, citing "personal reasons".

His manager, Guy Kinnings, said on Wednesday that the Briton had been spending time in the region overseeing the construction of a course and wanted to return home.

"He's pulled out of the Volkswagen Masters starting on Thursday because of personal reasons but I can't say more than that," he said in a telephone interview.

He declined to comment on a report in Wednesday's Daily Telegraph by Lewine Mair, who helped write Montgomerie's autobiography published in 2002, that the golfer's marriage was "in chaos".

"That's personal to them and I have no comment," said Kinnings.

The paper also raised doubt over whether Montgomerie, 40, would contest July's British Open at Royal Troon in Scotland because of personal problems although he may have to qualify for the first time in over a decade.

It would be a major surprise if he did withdraw. Montgomerie knows the links course better than almost anyone in professional golf as his father James was secretary there for several years.

Montgomerie, who dominated European golf from 1993-1999, had not won on the Tour since 2002 when he shared the Volvo Masters with Bernhard Langer but finally broke his drought when he clinched the Singapore Masters in March.

He revealed details of earlier marital problems with his wife Eimear in his book The Real Monty in which he told how he walked the streets of London in the small hours of the morning as he agonised over the situation.

"By the summer of 2000 we were scarcely talking at all," he wrote. "The more I had become wrapped up in the business of winning orders of merit the less time I had for Eimear and the children."

His wife blamed her husband's obsession with the sport for their brief split in 2001. He is regarded as one of the most gifted players on the circuit of the last 20 years -- but also one of the most obsessive and hot-headed.

In the U.S. Masters earlier this month, British newspapers reported that Montgomerie "went awol" for several hours in Augusta after missing the halfway cut, leaving his wife with no idea of his whereabouts.

Montgomerie's British Open hopes were ruined last year at Royal St George's, Sandwich, after he slipped over and injured his hand and knees on the morning of the first round.

He is regarded as arguably the best player never to have won one of golf's four majors. One of his rivals for that "honour", Phil Mickelson, broke his duck with victory in the 2004 U.S. Masters.

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