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Montgomerie relishing his watching brief at this year's Masters

Colin Montgomerie's glory days are becoming the stuff of nostalgia but the decorated Scot is adamant that the global game as a whole is currently in the midst of a golden era.

After an eventful weekend, during which Rory McIlroy rose to the top of the world rankings for the first time with victory in the Honda Classic, and the recovering Tiger Woods fired another warning shot to the doubters with a sparkling final-round 62 to earn a share of second place, Montgomerie had plenty to ponder yesterday.

With the first major of the season, the Masters, barely four weeks away, Montgomerie already has Georgia on his mind and the former Ryder Cup captain is relishing the prospect of the Augusta National showpiece.

"It's a very exciting time for world golf and the Masters this year is to be savoured," said the eight-time European No.1, who will be involved in punditry instead of playing at Augusta next month. "It's the most anticipated and exciting time we've had for a long while leading into a major championship.

"We're probably looking at the best time golf has ever had. It'll be fantastic. Tiger made a hell of a push on Sunday night and it was back to the Woods of old the way he finished.

"Tiger started nine behind and got to two behind so things are clearly starting to happen again. He just ran into someone [McIlroy] who was too good and too far ahead. McIlroy is too good to fold."

Of course, Augusta was the scene of McIlroy's painful collapse last April when he plummeted from the top with a final round 80. His rehabilitation began with an eight-shot win in June's US Open and the journey back to rude health is now complete.

"We were all concerned after the Masters last year," added Montgomerie. "But he managed to deal with it within a month or so. I'm so glad he did because it could have hurt him. As world No.1 there will be added pressure on him, but he deals with that now and I don't think last year will be an issue. The expectation and media attention will be higher but he seems to be able to cope which is great for such a young man."

Montgomerie was at Gleneagles yesterday to launch the second edition of Monty's Monthly Medal, a Scotland-wide event for club golfers which will raise funds for a new Maggie's Cancer Caring Centre in Lanarkshire. The 31-time European Tour winner lost his mother, Elizabeth, to cancer 21 years ago.

"The cause is obviously one which is very close to my heart," he added. "We want to ensure as much support as possible for those suffering from cancer, and their families, so I'm sure the golfing community will help us towards our fundraising goals."

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