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Michael Campbell ranks majors higher

Michael Campbell said on Wednesday he would not swap his U.S. Open title for seven European order of merit victories.

However, the New Zealander admitted if he were to beat Colin Montgomerie to win Europe's money-list this year, it would be "fulfilling a dream."

Campbell and Montgomerie go head to head in the Volvo Masters at Valderrama on Thursday for the honour of being European number one this year.

As the only players who can possibly win the order of merit, when Europe's final event has finished either Campbell will be celebrating his first Harry Vardon Trophy or Montgomerie his eighth, after a gap of six years since his seventh.

Montgomerie begins the week 153,487 euros ($185,100) ahead of Campbell, who can pip the Scot even if he misses out on the 666,660 first prize and finishes second.

"Monty's obviously in a good position and he'll be tough to beat," said Campbell.

"But he is beatable. If I go out and play my best I can fulfil a dream."

Montgomerie's philosophy for achieving his eighth order of merit victory is simple.

"Forget the order of merit," he said. "There are Ryder Cup points at stake, world rankings.

"I'm here to win the Volvo Masters. If I do that, everything else will fall into place."

Winning his eighth order of merit would, though, "mean an awful lot more than any of the others, even put together," Montgomerie added.

While he is proud that his achievement of seven wins might be remembered forever as "unique", Campbell is not so impressed.

"If I was in Monty's shoes I'd swap my seven orders of merit for one major," said Campbell.

Both men have put themselves in position to be European number one after indifferent starts to the season.

Campbell turned his year, he said, not long before winning at Pinehurst and beating Tiger Woods down the stretch.

"I said to myself back in May: 'Michael this is enough; enough of this bullshit. You've won around the world, why are you doing this to yourself?'

"I woke up one day and said to myself: 'You're good enough to win.' I've been saying that for the last six months."

Montgomerie's fortunes turned much later, at the European Open at the K Club in July, two weeks before he finished second to Tiger Woods in the British Open at St Andrews.

"I backed into second place. I holed a four-footer to make the cut and I finished second.

"It helped me go forward and progress and it helped me in the British Open."

If Campbell finishes in third place at Valderrama, Montgomerie needs to finish no worse than eighth to win the money-list.

Should Campbell take fourth place, Montgomerie could be as low as 22nd and if the U.S. Open champion finishes only fifth, the 42-year-old Scot could be second-last of the elite 55 field and still prevail on the rankings.

What Campbell described as "an exciting scenario" is heightened by the pair playing together in the last twosome out on the course.

Britain's Ian Poulter, who beat Sergio Garcia in a playoff last year, is the defending champion.

October 26, 2005

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