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Colin Montgomerie hits out at Volvo absentees

Eight-times European number one Colin Montgomerie has criticised Ernie Els for playing at the Singapore Open this week rather than the Volvo Masters.

The Briton, who has appeared in all 20 Volvo Masters, said he was "not impressed" by South African Els's decision to go to the Far East instead of defending his position on top of the money list in the final event of the European season.

When he won the World Match Play title at Wentworth three weeks ago, Els told reporters: "At the end of the year you've got to get the wheel-barrow out, you want to cash in a little bit".

Speaking on the eve of the Volvo Masters, the 44-year-old Montgomerie said: "When the word wheel-barrow is mentioned, that's not really right. This (the Volvo Masters) should have been the priority.

"This is our tour championship, if you like. We should have all the top 60 players playing. It's a shame when only 51 of the top 60 are here."

On Wednesday, Els followed another of the players in Singapore, Lee Westwood, by condemning the European Tour for changing the Volvo Masters week to clash with the Asian event.

The South African also explained his three-year contract with the Singapore Open could not be broken.

Montgomerie though was unsympathetic.

"Deals could have been done," said the Scot. "It does surprise me. The order of merit meant a lot to me, it obviously doesn't mean as much to others.

"I'm sure Padraig Harrington, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Niclas Fasth are delighted but there is something not quite right."

Harrington, second on the order of merit, and third-placed Rose appreciated Els's predicament.

The Irishman, who is 217,295 euros ($313,800) behind Els, said: "He's honouring a commitment, that's what he's got to do."

Rose, 657 euros adrift of Harrington, called the overlap of events "one of those unfortunate situations".

"For me though this (the Volvo Masters) was a priority," added the Briton.


November 1, 2007

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