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July 10, 2014

Colin Montgomerie


THE MODERATOR: It's our pleasure to welcome Colin Montgomerie here to the media center, a 6-under round of 65, eight birdies and two bogeys at Oak Tree National. Very good round today. Let's just go through your card first. You started on the 10th hole and got off to a good start with a good birdie on the 11tg.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, it was very much breezy, a bit cooler this morning, a good birdie at 11, a good 15-foot putt after a good 8-iron into there. Then I threw it away immediately at the next par-5, hit a very weak wedge in there with my third shot and took 6. Got going again on the next par-5 where I birdied the next three holes, 14, 15, 16. That got the round going. The chip-in especially at 16, left-hand side of the green. I chipped in there at 16 and that really got the round going to be 3-under. Then missed a short one at 17 for birdie. Then short ones at the first and second for birdies, as well, as I turned at 3-under. Then finally got one at the third, hit a 7-iron in there to about four foot and got to 4-under. Then gave it back again at the 5th hole. I had a terrible drive on the 5th on the right there, and did well to make a bogey, because I hit my ball in the hazard off the tee so I had a penalty drop. After that I played well coming in, very well coming in. I birdied 6, 7, 8 there after the bogey at the 5th. That was the key to the round, the three birdies in a row on the front nine, my back nine, but my back nine today, the front nine of the course to birdie 6, 7, 8 was good. That got me to the position I am now. You know, it's only one round. You can lose it by the first day. You can't win it, as we all say. It's going to be grueling over the next three days. We had our coolest day, which is still very hot (smiling). So, yeah, it's going to be near 100 the next three days so concentration levels will be difficult to maintain for everybody out there, not just myself. I look forward to the challenge of trying to compete against the rest of the field, the golf course, which is superb, and also the weather conditions which are very foreign to myself and most competitors, to be honest. We don't usually play in 100 degrees. It's going to be interesting over the next three days.

THE MODERATOR: You were in here yesterday and remarking about how fantastic you thought the golf course was and how brilliantly it was set up and could host a regular U.S. Open.


THE MODERATOR: You went out here today and played well, 11 out of 14 fairways, 16 greens, 27 putts. Obviously, you know, it was something that was to your liking. Just talk a little bit about the golf course itself, how it played out there this morning.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I think the USGA did a super job. I'm not just saying that because there is big U.S. Open and USGA stuff in front of me here. I'm not just saying that because there is. The USGA set the course up very well today. The holes that had to be pushed forward because of the conditions this morning were, and I think they did a great job in understanding the weather conditions and they set the course up accordingly. All credit to them for that. The course itself, I said yesterday that I did enjoy playing the golf course. It is a unique course in many ways. It's one of Pete Dye's first golf courses and a great golf course it is. You should be very proud of it here in Oklahoma.

THE MODERATOR: Your first 72 stroke play win in the States at the Senior PGA Championships. You remarked you were playing like you were in the 1990s again when you were No. 2 in the world. Do you still feel like you're playing with that amount of confidence today, great round, 6-under 65?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: The win in the PGA Seniors has given me confidence to go forward here, and it was a long time coming to win a four-round stroke play event in America. It was 22 years since I first came over here at Pebble Beach in 1992. It's given me a great deal more confidence in the ability to know that you've done it once so you can do it again. I'm really enjoying my time here in the Champions Tour, and these major events are no different. I really am enjoying it. I think if you're enjoying something you're really quite good at it. I think it's going to be difficult the next three days to overcome the three items that I mentioned: the course, the great field you have here, and of course the weather conditions.

THE MODERATOR: Great start today. We'll open it up to questions.

Q. You ought to be feel good with a 65. That's pretty rare on this golf course, especially, you know, in a major. Were you just flushing it or was it making putts or how would you describe your ability to get there?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I think, as you say, there are 16 greens out of 18. I didn't realize that, and 11 fairways out of 14. I suppose that's quite good stats if you want to look at the stats. 27 putts is -- well, you have to be 27 putts to score 65. My iron shots were good, but you've still got to get the reward, and the reward is by holing those putts off good iron shots. To have eight birdies out here on a USGA course is good. There is no denying that. To have eight birdies around any golf course is good, especially the USGA setup for a major championship. Yes, I'm very happy.

Q. You mentioned that the heat is going to be a factor upcoming. How confident are you in your physical conditioning going forward?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, my physical conditioning is obviously up to scratch, there is no question about that. (Smiling.) Good question, really. I think that it is going to be a physical examination out there. I have done well in the heat over the past. You know, we play in Asia where it's very warm in the Singapore, Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur areas. It's in extreme heat there. I've done okay there. We did okay in Pittsburgh back in '94 when it was a record heat of 100 degrees. I was unfortunately 20 years younger. But at the same time, I don't mind it. I don't mind it. No, you get around. It's part of the job, and the rewards are so great at the end of it that you keep going, believe me. You look at the end result and you look at the rewards available at the end of a championship. I've got a week off when I get home. I'm flying home from Dallas on Monday and back to Scotland. I've got a week off before the next major, the Senior Open down in Wales. There is no problems with giving it 110% over the next three days.

Q. You can't really win a tournament the first day, but you might be able to lose it. Bernard gets it finally going and he's 2-under. Some guys this afternoon will have it harder, might have a decent score. But to be in the position you're in after Thursday, after all the tournaments you've played over the years, what does that do to have the first-round lead if that does hold up?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: If it does hold up, it's just a number, to be honest. I probably, after two rounds, will have played -- the guys that are going out now will play now and then tomorrow morning, so I don't expect to have the lead when I tee off tomorrow afternoon. So it's a matter of being patient and trying to play somewhere near the way I did today. It will be difficult. I'm not denying that. It will be a struggle. It's going to be 100 degrees the next three days, and it's going to be difficult, no denying. But at the same time the reward are great enough to warrant that. So I look forward to it.

Q. Did the rain delay mess up your routine? If so, how did it do it, and then what did you do during that hour and a half?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, it messed up my whole day, really. I would have shot 62 otherwise (laughter). Not really, no. I mean, I was surprised we were out so long, to be honest. It was black really this morning. You could have called us in for light; never mind lightning or rain. It was so dark out there that it was eerie in many ways. It was like Armageddon, you know. It was weird. So the siren was expected. I was surprised at the length of the delay. It was only an hour, really. We got back out, and let's hope that for the sake of everyone that we can finish the day's play today. We're right on the edge, but it will be great if we could finish the day's play today and also through tomorrow, as well.

Q. Realizing conditions will probably be tougher and the pressure of the weekend that goes with all majors, do you think your number might be good enough to win? I mean, you're at 6 now. Do you think that might be a number?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Oh, goodness me. I have no idea. I have no idea. Normally what happens, and if you're a betting man, what happens normally in championships is in four-round events, if you look at the first-round leader and you double it and you add 2, that's usually your winning score. Now, I would take 14-under right now, but that's normal. This isn't normal because it's a major and I am going to play in intense heat over the next few days. I would expect it to be less than that, but certainly more than where I am right now.

Q. Just yesterday you said this course would test the PGA TOUR. What was your recipe to ace today's test?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, good question. I was patient. I was relaxed. We had a good time. Rocco Mediate and Tom Lehman was a good pairing. I was happy with the pairing we had, the three were playing together. We played a lot together over the first year of my Champions Tour life. Relaxed and patient, really, I suppose. But the statistics, you know, add up, I suppose. 16 greens out of 18. Not bad statistics, really. And then 11 fairways out of 14. You'd take that. So, yeah, just a good run of golf, a good, solid round of golf today.

Q. There was a report that the wind was doing some strange things. Did you notice that? If so, how did you approach it?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, I mean, on the range, it switched from practice to the range this morning a complete 180 degrees, which is very rare. That's what brought in the weather, a north wind. We have been having a southerly wind in practice, so it's been a complete reversal. Then it died down a bit say from 20 miles an hour, died down to 5 to 10 right now. It's also switching, as well, with the heat. It tends to switch around and swirl a bit. So it is kind of difficult to judge the wind out here. You're always going to get breeze out here in Oklahoma. That's part of the test out here. At the same time, I prefer the wind and the cool than the no wind and the heat.
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