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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 April 2006, 11:15 GMT 12:15 UK
Short game is crucial, says Monty
Colin Montgomerie
Montgomerie missed last year's Masters
Colin Montgomerie admits his short game will have to be "incredible" if he is to compete at the Masters on Thursday.

Augusta National has been stretched to 7,445 yards this year, making it the second longest course in major history.

The 42-year-old Scot is not the biggest hitter and will need his short game to be in good order if he is to avoid missing his fifth consecutive cut.

"It takes a very sharp short game to compete here if you are a short hitter nowadays," he told BBC Sport.

"It's taken the short hitter out of the game if he doesn't putt the way, say, Chris DiMarco did last year."

America's DiMarco lost in a play-off to Tiger Woods last year, and drives the ball 35 yards less on average than the world number one.

Montgomerie hits the ball roughly the same distance as DiMarco off the tee, but is more relaxed about the changes to Augusta National than some.

"There were a few changes last year, which I missed, and now this, so it's a double-dramatic change for me," said last year's European Order or Merit winner, who has had only one top-10 finish at Augusta.

I'm definitely not coming here just to make up the numbers. I'm trying to win
Luke Donald

"But it's fair - I think they've done a very good job. It's always been a long-hitters domain - even more so now."

However, Montgomerie said the warm and dry weather forecast for the weekend could reduce the big-hitters' advantage.

"I think it gives more people an opportunity if it's dry," he said. "Fairways will be firmer and run faster and that gives more medium-length hitters like me more opportunity."

Montgomerie reckons he has solved the swing woes that have seen him miss his last four cuts and is upbeat about his chances this time.

"I'm probably not playing well enough to win, but I'm probably good enough to win if someone else doesn't want to," said Montgomerie.

Meanwhile, world number nine Luke Donald has rejected the theory that only big hitters can win the Masters now.

Donald admits the longer hitters have an advantage, but believes his accurate iron play will stand him in good stead.

"There's no reason why I can't make some birdies out there and compete," said the 28-year-old Englishman.

Chris DiMarco
DiMarco is ranked 10th in the world

"I feel I have a good game for the majors and I have every chance, if I'm playing good golf, to compete and win.

"I'm definitely not coming here just to make up the numbers. I'm trying to win."

Donald, who has won twice on the PGA Tour, made his Masters debut last year, coming joint third.

DiMarco was also upbeat about his chances, despite reservations about the course modifications.

"It's not just about length," said the 37-year-old. "I know these greens well and if you putt well you can score here.

"But with the added length it's going to be tougher for everybody. The 4th, 7th and 11th are brutally long now.

"It seems like they are taking a bit of the excitement out of it. Last year myself and Tiger shot 12 under - but five, six, seven under is going to be a really good score this year."




WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Colin Montgomerie


Interview: Luke Donald


Interview: Chris DiMarco



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