GOLF'S 'nearly man' Colin Montgomerie believes Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods could be about to embark on a truly legendary sporting rivalry.
Montgomerie is anticipating a vintage Masters and, in Woods and Rory McIlroy, sees a rivalry for the ages. "We have two guys right at the top of the game," he said. "It's like Federer versus Nadal for the last five years. We could have that now and it's going to be very exciting to see what happens."
Apart from watching his girlfriend, Caroline Wozniacki, play in Miami, McIlroy has also fitted in two practice rounds at Augusta this week.
Montgomerie hopes he spent the time exorcising the demons of last year's final-round 80, which was capped by a triple bogey seven on the 10th. "He should hit as many shots off the 10th tee in practice as he can," he said. "Because that's the shot everybody will be focusing on in the first round. Let's pray he gets rid of that."
Meanwhile, Montgomerie has pointed the finger at Tiger Woods's management team, suggesting their failure to draw up a contract with a former coach has led to embarrassment for the golfer, courtesy of a tell-all memoir.
Hank Haney's book, The Big Miss, was published on Tuesday and has become the talk of America with next week's Masters looming. Haney, who worked with Woods for six years during which time he won six majors, has appeared on several different networks promoting his work, including the influential Piers Morgan interview show on CNN.
In the face of growing criticism from the range, the Texan has defended the "revelations" in The Big Miss, which include Woods's coolness towards his then wife, an obsession with the military which, Haney claims, led to the knee trouble which threatened his career and his puerile and mean behaviour which featured him playing pornography in front of a fellow pro who is a devout Christian.
Woods is almost certain to be asked about the book at his pre-Masters press conference at Augusta next Tuesday, a likelihood which Montgomerie believes will be "very disappointing". Montgomerie plainly feels Woods should have been protected.
"It's like a Premiership manager being sacked," said the Scot. "You don't read many books of the stuff that went on. I'm amazed there wasn't some legal contract in place to stop this. This coach shouldn't have been allowed to have written it in the first place."
The K Club in Kildare has come out to refute a claim made by Haney in his book that Woods ordered pornography while staying at the course during the 2006 Ryder Cup to embarrass team mate and room mate Zach Johnson.
"There has been coverage in several print, broadcast and online media regarding an alleged issue concerning The K Club which was mentioned in Tiger Wood's former golf coach, Hank Haney's book, 'The Big Miss'," the statement reads. "In his book Haney alleges that Tiger Woods ordered an adult movie from hotel reception in a bid to embarrass his room mate, Zach Johnson. The K Club does not have, and never has had a pay per view movie channel nor does it stock nor ever did stock adult movies on DVD or any other format or provide access to such movies for guests."