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Page last updated at 13:23 GMT, Sunday, 11 January 2009

Montgomerie set for crunch year

Colin Montgomerie
Montgomerie has worked hard on his swing over the winter

Colin Montgomerie admits the next 12 months is vital as he attempts to revive his flagging career.

The 45-year-old Scot, a former world number two, has failed to win a tournament since July 2007 and has slumped to 123 in the world.

"This year is very important for me," he told BBC 5 Live's Sportsweek.

"After a disappointing 2008, I have to be realistic and if it does not go well again this year you have thoughts about what I am doing."

Montgomerie, who won the last of his record eight European Order of Merit titles in 2005, is desperate to regain his form after a dismal 2008.

He did not qualify for the Masters, finished tied for 58th at the Open, failed to make the cut at the US Open and the USPGA Championship, and only finished in the top 10 of a European Tour event three times.

But after revamping his swing with coaches Pete Cowen and Paul Marchand over the winter, Montgomerie starts the new year determined to compete again with world's top players.

"I am anxious to get back in the world elite which I have lost ground on over the years," he said.

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"I feel I belong with that elite and it's just a matter of proving to myself that I can still compete at that level. There is nothing that should stop me from doing that.

"I am fitter than I have ever been before, technically I am learning as I go along and there is no reason why I should not be confident.

"There is no more ambitious golfer out there than myself and I am eager to get going. I still have that drive."

Montgomerie is guaranteed a place at the Open at Turnberry this year but has yet to qualify for the other three majors and he admits he needs a good start to the year.

"I am in the Open but currently I'm not in the other three and it's the first time I have started a year not in them," he said.

"The first one I might miss out on is the Masters and I have got to start winning early. This is why the first three tournaments are very important to try get going."

And Montgomerie, who has an exemption on the European Tour until 2015, says he will not be following the likes of Ian Woosnam and Sam Torrance in joining the European Senior Tour.

"I don't think you will find me playing seniors golf," he added. "It was a great way for the guys that were not earning the money that we are now to have a second go at it in these modern times where the rewards are so great.

"I can't see myself leaving home for another six days a week to America or Europe for seniors golf.

"I am lucky enough to be exempt on the European Tour until I am 52 and I plan on carrying on playing until then and I will see my options after that."



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