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Tour News (posted 9th September 1998)

Monty turns to laser technology for recover putting touch


Coventry, England - Colin Montgomerie is counting on laser technology to help him rediscover the putting touch that helped him to a record five successive European Order of Merit titles.

Not known for long hours spent on the practice range, Montgomerie has been beating thousands of golf balls in recent days.

But, he said on Wednesday on the eve of the British Masters, he believes it will be his putting which hauls him out of a slump that has affected his summer.

The coach with whom he has been working on the problem, American Dave Pelz, provided the laser assistance.

"My putting is always a key. Dave uses a laser aimer with a mirror on the putter face so it reflects back how much you are off line," he explained.

"It showed I was six inches off line when putting from 21 feet, which is three inches left of dead-on as I should be, because it's doubled through the mirror effect. To hole a putt I'd had to push it.

"It's quite a shock to find you're not in line, but according to Pelz only two of the players he has tested - Lee Janzen and Howard Twitty - have been dead-on. I hope I've got that corrected now."

The big Scot is down in third place on this year's list almost 150,000  ($249,000) behind Englishman Lee Westwood. Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke has also overtaken him.

Last week in Crans-sur-Sierre, Montgomerie looked to have ended his lean spell.

And, going into this event at the Forest of Arden in the English Midlands - he won the English Open on this course in 1994 - he was back to his optimistic self, looking forward to the final five events on the European calendar.

"Things are going in the right direction," said Montgomerie, 12th in Switzerland last week despite double-bogeying the 18th in the last two rounds. "I'm positive about what's going to happen for the rest of the year.

"My little poor spell is behind me, hopefully. There's a lot to play for for the rest of the year. There's a lot to look forward to.

"For this week, it's always nice to play on a course where you've won before and I'm encouraged by the way I'm playing right now.

"My coach said I had to be patient and hit well over 2,000 golf balls a time on the range to get where I want to be. I've been patient and now I'm ready to perform.

Montgomerie gave a clue to his desire to get back to number one when asked about Westwood last week playing down the importance of being top man.

"When you get to second you want to be first," said Montgomerie. "The number three doesn't like being number three."

With a first prize of 125,000 ($207,500), victory would enable Montgomerie to close a substantial part of the margin between himself and the men above him. Clarke is only 5,498 ($9,128) behind Westwood.