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Monty claims failure in Majors is a coincidence

DUBAI - European number one Colin Montgomerie opens his 1999 campaign at Dubai's Desert Classic on Thursday claiming it is "purely coincidence" he is yet to win a major.

And the 35-year-old, who has finished number one in Europe for the past six years, will not make sweeping changes to try to swing his fortunes.

Again, golf's four majors will be his priority for the season. "I'm not going out with the intention of trying for another order of merit win," he said.

"I've won six now and that's it done. But if we get to around September and, as last year, I haven't succeeded in my four main goals -- the majors -- then I'll be looking at the fifth goal, which is winning the European rankings again.

"I hope and I feel, that it's purely coincidence that I haven't succeeded in the majors yet.

"I can try to make the odd rescheduling change but I have a lot of commitments off the course nowadays. It doesn't deflect from my aim to win a major because if I want to take a week off before a major, I'll do it.

"Anyway, every year I've played less and less in Europe but I've still stayed ahead of the game. It's a balancing act."

Montgomerie was asked if he had got his balancing act wrong in the past and that was why he still did not have a major title.

"No I don't. I feel if I had been fortunate a couple of times I would be sitting here with two majors, at least.

"I feel it's purely coincidence it hasn't worked out and I don't plan to change anything.

"It's just a matter of being more fortunate and cutting out one weak round. My 76 in the second round at the Congressional in 1997 wasn't good enough and I got edged out by Ernie (Els).

"And in three other majors, like Pebble Beach, Riviera and Oakmont, I'd have walked it but for a weak round."

Montgomerie repeated his belief that the European rankings would become less important.

"They won't mean a thing when we get to California in a couple of weeks for the first World Championship because they are based on the world rankings.

"I think we'll soon get to a situation like the tennis circuit with four grand slam events and the super nine, nine bigger tournaments like our world championship events.

"It may take time but it will be a world tour as the tennis tour is.