Colin Montgomerie has spoken frankly about the breakup of his latest personal relationship - and his belief that, after the worst run of his career, good things could be about to happen again at this week's US Masters.

The 42-year-old Scot is no longer with Joanne Baldwin, the mother-of-three he met following his divorce two years ago.

"Jo and I are apart - and I'm single," said Montgomerie, stressing the second part of that sentence after being linked with another woman by a tabloid newspaper on Sunday.

Asked if what has been happening off the course may have affected his play on it - he has just missed his last four halfway cuts - the eight-time European No 1 said: "I think it's had a part.

"It's never easy but now I can concentrate on my golf and my children and give them both more time."

Montgomerie has already pulled out of two tournaments this year because of the state of his game, including last week's Bellsouth Classic in Atlanta, won at a canter by Phil Mickelson.

He stayed in Florida instead, to work on his game in private and is very happy with the results, as was coach Dennis Pugh at the prospect of linking up with him at Augusta this week.

"I had a down spell, but the golf's okay," said Montgomerie.

"I'm coming back to some form and it's just the putting. The six, seven and eight-footers are the ones that have got to go in here."

Last April, he was not even at the Masters, failing to make it back into the world's top 50 in time and then failing to be given the special invitation many people thought his standing in the game warranted.

Things had already started to turn round for him, though, after the slump he suffered following the breakdown of his marriage in 2004. Then, of course, came the Open at St Andrews.

Coming second to Tiger Woods convinced Montgomerie that, after five years without a single top-ten finish in a major, there was still time for him.

Despite a record at Augusta that no world No 13 would be proud of, Montgomerie said: "We have a chance here. Oh God, yeah."

Just once in 13 visits has the Ryder Cup star even gone into the weekend high on the leaderboard, but that was followed by his most spectacular collapse.

Woods, playing his first major as a professional, began with rounds of 70 and 66 nine years ago.

Montgomerie's two-round total of 72-67 left him three behind but put him in the final group for his first head-to-head with the 21-year-old but

Woods, scored 65 to Montgomerie's 74 and, apparently still shell-shocked, the Scot finished with an 81.

Those rounds of 67 and 81 remain Montgomerie's best and worst scores on the course, but he does feel better equipped to handle the test now. "I'm a better golfer now," he said. n Lee Westwood has pulled out of next week's US Tour event to attend the funeral of his grandmother, who died last week.

The 32-year-old former European No 1 plays just the seventh Masters of his career this week.