News24

Monty backs Tiger for Masters

2012-03-05 17:41

London - Ryder Cup skipper Colin Montgomerie has expressed his delight over Rory McIlroy's rise to the top of the world rankings but be believes that Tiger Woods will triumph at next month's Masters.

The Scot has been impressed with golf's former kingpin since he made his comeback from injury in California last December and the American's closing 62 on Sunday, in the Honda Classic won by McIlroy, has confirmed his opinion.

"Does yesterday (Woods firing 62) suggest anything else? On a course that he loves, I haven't changed my mind," Montgomerie said.

Woods has won the Masters four times and although his last victory there was seven years ago, his finishes since then have been third, second, second, sixth, fourth and fourth again.

McIlroy led by four with a round to go at Augusta last April, but slumped to a closing 80 and finished 10 behind winner Charl Schwartzel.

Having commentated on television that week, as he will be next month, Montgomerie was left wondering like everyone else how much it would affect the young Ulsterman.

"I thought it would be a lot longer than it was, but it didn't even take another major."

Two months later McIlroy won the US Open by eight. Now he tops the rankings and got there despite Woods' late charge.

"Two years ago Tiger probably would have snatched it after coming up in the rear-view mirror, but all credit to Rory for being stronger and more mature," Montgomerie said.

"You get Woods scoring 62 in the last round and you still win - that's a very good effort, isn't it? The best of luck to him.

"He could be number one for a while, but you've got also Luke and Lee (Westwood) and Woods is as determined as hell. He doesn't like being outside the top 10.

"I think it will be a Masters to savour, I really do - it's got everything going for it - and it will be a very interesting Ryder Cup later in the year, too.

"We've got the top four (German Martin Kaymer is behind McIlroy, Donald and Westwood), but I was looking at the rankings and the top 12 Americans are still ahead of us."

AFP