Monty on a Hat trick

Will Colin MOntgomerie win the Volvo PGA for the third year running?

Tue, 23 May 2000

Colin Montgomerie, more than upset about his recent play will head into this weeks Volvo PGA Championship with a point to prove and the opportunity to take his third consecutive Volvo PGA at Wentworth.

Only Nick Faldo has ever won the Flagship event back to back and this week, Monty will be aiming to break that record. The Seven Times European number One is still languishing behind Darren Clarke in the rankings, but Clarke has not taken full advantage of his $1m win in the World Matchplay, except to buy himself a new Ferrari 550 Maranello!

As usual at Wentworth, the PGA attracts the very best from the European Tour and with recent events passed, it seems that all of the big names are hitting form at the right time.

Lee Westwood will be pleased that he has recovered from his slump of late to win the TPC of Europe, taking Tiger's scalp along the way, Darren Clarke is looking as igf he might win at any given moment to extend his lead in the Order of Merit race, Monty is desperately looking to win his eighth in succession and one of the most under-rated players of World golf, Retief Goosen is also clicking into gear.

The two most recent Major Champions from the European Tour will also hope for a spurt of form starting on Friday. 1999 Masters Champion Jose Maria Olazabal is now beginning to find fairways with monotonous regularity, as he proved at the B&H at the Belfry, so he will always be a threat. And Open Champion Paul Lawrie will be keen to kickstart his season in the run up to defending his Open Championship at St Andrews in July.

Olazábal won the 1994 Volvo PGA title just over a month after his first Masters victory in 1994, while Lawrie finished tied second behind Costantino Rocca in 1996, a performance which suggested that the Aberdonian had the ability to compete at the highest level.

Sergio Garcia, Miguel Angel 'The Mechanic' Jimenez, Ian Woosnam and Padraig Harrington will also be looking for another win very soon. All are on good form and for once this week at Wentworth, it might be tricky to predict a winner.

But whoever does lift the coveted silver trophy will be assured of a huge pay cheque.

Prize money this year is a record £1,500,000. The 2000 champion will receive a cheque for £250,000 which is a sum close to the total prize fund - £300,000 - in 1988 when Volvo assumed title sponsorship of the PGA Championship. How times have changed!



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