Colin Montgomerie defended himself yesterday against charges he broke the rules at the Indonesian Open in March.

When play was suspended by lightning, Montgomerie failed to mark his ball in a bunker, and it wasn't there when the round resumed. He replaced his ball, but video later showed he put it in the wrong spot. He wound up in a tie for fourth.

Without that result, he would not have been No. 50 in the world golf ranking on Monday, the cutoff for being exempt for the U.S. Open.

The European tour declined to penalize him, but when Montgomerie had a chance to review the tape, he felt it was an incorrect drop and donated his prize money.

"There was no admission of guilt in making a gesture of that kind," Montgomerie said on the eve of the Wales Open. "That was a gesture on my behalf because I wasn't happy with what I saw."

The tour's tournament committee said two weeks ago it wasn't satisfied with Montgomerie's failure to mark his ball. But chairman Jamie Spence said there was no mechanism in place for forfeiting ranking points.

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-- From News Services