Monty ducks Atlanta event

Colin Montgomerie has pulled out of this week’s US PGA Tour event in an effort to bring his game back together in time for the Masters.

Colin Montgomerie has pulled out of this week’s US PGA Tour event in an effort to bring his game back together in time for the Masters.

The eight-time European number one last week slumped to the worst run of his long career, missing a fourth successive cut at the Players Championship in Florida.

Instead of playing in the BellSouth Classic in Atlanta, he has headed elsewhere in America to work in private.

The Masters – a tournament for which he failed to qualify last April and where he missed the cut the two previous years – starts next Thursday.

Montgomerie’s manager Guy Kinnings said: “It’s a simple story – he’s not happy with how he is playing.

“He does not feel he’s playing well enough for this week’s tournament and he’s hugely apologetic about it, but he just wants to work on his game in private. He’s staying in the States to do that.”

Montgomerie had rounds of 72 and 76 at Sawgrass to bow out by four shots, finishing joint 99th of the 144-strong field.

It followed early exits at the Desert Classic in Dubai, Johnnie Walker Classic in Perth and Bay Hill Invitational in Orlando, where he crashed to a second-round 77.

Because of his poor form, Montgomerie also withdrew from the Nissan Open in Los Angeles in February, preferring then to practise at home with coach Dennis Pugh.

He returned for the Accenture World Match Play in San Diego, and after somehow beating Niclas Fasth in the first round, despite a 77, he went out the next day to Shingo Katayama.

While the Scot decided not to play this week, Davis Love is a late entry for the final warm-up event for the Masters.

Love was to have taken the week off, but that changed when he suffered an amazing collapse after leading the Players Championship.

Having opened with a seven-under-par 65, the former US PGA champion followed with an 83 and by taking a quadruple bogey nine on his final hole finished alongside Montgomerie on four-over.

Montgomerie’s withdrawal leaves 14 Europeans at the BellSouth Classic, including Jose Maria Olazabal, who lost a play-off to Phil Mickelson last year, David Howell, Luke Donald, Padraig Harrington, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell and Swede Henrik Stenson, who finished joint third on Sunday.

Poulter, Rose and McDowell all failed to qualify for the Masters, McDowell after failing to secure a place in the Bay Hill Invitational where he was second a year ago.

By not playing there, the Ulsterman was unable to climb into the world’s top 50 for the Players Championship or Augusta.

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