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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 January 2008, 16:17 GMT
Monty is feeling pressures of age
Colin Montgomerie
Montgomerie has amassed 23 Ryder Cup points
Colin Montgomerie says he is finding it harder than ever to compete for the top prizes in golf.

The eight times European Order of Merit champion says he is getting older and the competition is getting tougher.

The 44-year-old was speaking ahead of the first tour event of the season, the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, which begins on Thursday.

"I'm getting older the wrong way, and the competition is getting better," said Montgomerie.

"I'm trying to keep up somehow, but as with most sports it's a young man's game and I'm doing okay at 44 to sustain my level.

"I don't know how long it will last, as long as possible, but hopefully to 50. I'm doing okay at 44 to hang on to my status, which is important to me.

I'm getting older the wrong way, and the competition is getting better
Colin Montgomerie

"I'm trying as hard as ever this season."

Monty also took time to make assurances that he is on good terms with this year's Ryder Cup captain, Nick Faldo.

Faldo had criticised the Scot for being difficult at this year's Seve Trophy event in Ireland.

But the two have since settled their differences, with Monty - who wants to add to his eight Ryder Cup appearances - pointing out he was sent a Christmas card from Faldo this year.

Montgomerie did say he felt the American challenge at this year's Ryder Cup would be stronger than in recent years.

"I think Paul Azinger's a very tough captain for the Americans and I think Nick will have his job to win the Ryder Cup," he said.

"It'll be very, very close, don't expect the 18-9 that we had last time. It'll be back to one shot on the Sunday afternoon.

"Someone's going to hole a putt, and let's just hope it's a European.

"We've had great success in the Ryder Cup, we've won five out of the last six and we'd love to make it six out of seven."

Montgomerie says he is also looking forward to moving back to Scotland after 17 years living in London.

"I feel a warmth, a hospitality, if you like in Scotland which I never quite found in the London area, even though I lived there for 17 years," he said.

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