Although the event has been played before in China, this marks the first year it will be co-sanctioned by both the European Tour and the Asian PGA Tour. Montgomerie has already notched a title here in 2002, though it was prior to the event being a part of the European Tour.
Montgomerie, who currently resides in the 14th spot on the tour's Order of Merit list, is hoping for a repeat of his 2002 performance here as he makes his final push to make the field for both PGA Tour's Players Championship and The Masters, an event he has played in the every year since 1992.
Monty at the moment finds himself on the outside looking in for entry into both the TPC at Sawgrass and Augusta. Ranked 56th in the world, the 41-year-old Scotsman needs to crack the top 50 in order to make it into either field and feels his recent play has got him back into that position.
'I'm very excited about my form. I feel if I get into the field I have a good chance as I have in the last 20 years of winning either TPC or the Masters,' said Montgomerie. 'Scoring the best score of the day in Riviera (Nissan Open) has given me huge confidence and that's the lowest score (64) I've ever had in the States.'
Monty, who went through a well-publicized divorce last year as well as enduring a tough year on the course, has indeed started the 2005 season well. He had a runner-up finish in late January at the Heineken Classic and placed fourth in the Dubai Desert Classic two weeks ago.
'The last four events have been super, and as I say, go from there and go to TCL and try to get some more points. It's given me huge confidence to build on and I look forward to trying if I can get in, obviously, and competing,' said Monty on his suddenly enticing prospects. 'So that's the first thing, I have to get in the bloody thing. So if I'm in the TPC, hopefully I'll get in the Masters, but TPC is the first goal.
'I think I'm more relaxed than I ever have been,' continued the 7-time Order of Merit winner. 'I think my back is better than it's ever been, and I have confidence with Alastair on the back of the bag with the way we work, and I'm happy, actually.'
Also joining Montgomerie in the field is 2006 European Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam, Thomas Bjorn, Michael Campbell and Paul Casey.
Casey, who has come under intense scrutiny after some disparaging remarks about America in the past several months, has had a rough start thus far in 2005. He missed the cut in two of his first three PGA Tour events in addition to pulling out of two others.
He did, however, have a strong showing at the Ford Championship at Doral, finishing in a tie for 16th.
The purse for the TCL Classic is $1 million and will be played at the Yalong Bay Golf Club in Sanya on Hainan Island, China.
China has already hosted the Volvo China Open and the Omega Hong Kong Open, won by Stephen Dodd and Miguel Angel Jimenez respectively. The BMW Asian Open and the Johnnie Walker Classic will be contested in the upcoming months.
The Madeira Island Open was originally scheduled to be played this week but was moved back to April 7-10 to make room for this event.