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May 23, 2015

Colin Montgomerie


JULIUS MASON: Well, how good are you after a 70 out there today? Are you pretty stoked about that?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I'm glad that putt went in at the last. Yes, delighted with the day's performance. It was going to be tricky, of course it's going to be tricky, there's no question. It's a very, very difficult golf course. It's back to proper Major golf, this. Where par means something. I was delighted only to drop one shot today, which happened to be the first from the middle of the fairway. It was a crazy second shot. I don't know what I was doing, I just pulled an approach wedge left of the green and then unfortunately made bogey. But to play the rest of the round 3-under with no mistakes was a good effort. And I'm very proud of what I achieved today, because you had to play chess with the course. Just because it's a par-4 doesn't mean it's a driver. You got to think about things. You got to course manage your way around. A caddie is most important. I got a good one in Alastair. And it's hard work. Very hard work. There's not one hole out here, there's normally a hole in golf or on a golf course where you can sort of relax on and think, okay, well, at least I can make par here. I mean, there's potential double around every corner here. It's very, very difficult. It's a great challenge. It really is. It's a fantastic golf course. I liked it the moment I came here for the media day about a month ago, and I liked it then and I'm liking it now. So we'll see. Long day ahead tomorrow. There's seven miles to walk, and the emotions will go up-and-down like a roller coaster, we know that. But I came here to be in contention on Saturday evening and I am. So, job done so far.

JULIUS MASON: Can you talk about your three birdies and your one bogey today.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, the bogey at the first I just had 115 yards to go and I pulled it left and it went down the bank and it's almost impossible from there. So that was a mistake. Then I managed to get one back at the 9th. A good chip and a putt there from just the side of the green. So that got me out in level. Then I holed a good putt at 11 for a birdie about 20 foot up the hill. That got me under par. Then I just sort of seemed to par my way around, which wasn't bad. You see the other guys ahead having difficulty. Then the last hole I hit a great wedge. I had 147 from the top of the hill. I was in a slight divot and it was a 9-iron shot, really, 147, for me, but I thrashed a wedge because I don't like hitting soft shots out of divots. And I hit it right off the button and it came up what, three foot away. So, that was a bonus at the last, when you see the lie to, then to make the birdie. So, but I realized that Langer was up there again and birdied 17 and 18, the way he does. I played with Bernhard the last round here last year in this championship and here we are again. So, I know what to expect. He's going to be a very tough opponent and they all are, Verplank, Toledo, Henninger, they're all tough opponents. Anyone under par is playing well. Bernhard is good, very good. I know how good he is. And we have had a lot of time together on golf courses, walked a lot of fairways together. And I know how good he is. So I got to be on my best behavior tomorrow.

JULIUS MASON: But you weren't three shots ahead going into the final day, were you?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I was one. I was one.

JULIUS MASON: Does that change things a little bit?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Not really. Not really. I got to play my own game. I know that if I keep the bogeys off the card, really, that's key. Keep missing the greens in the right spot, putting to a position where you can then hole a putt from. Hitting the fairways, not going for the pins that are sucker pins, if you say over here. You just got to be very wary and it's a real test and it's a real Major test of golf and the PGA have done a great job in setting this course up. It's perfectly setup to reward a very good shot and to penalize a poor one. It's set up perfectly for that.

JULIUS MASON: Questions?

Q. I know you have the utmost respect for Bernhard, but last year you got a little animated talking about the slow play out there. How much of a challenge is that for you to just kind of while you're trying to stay in your game, you can't really get into a rhythm.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I think I actually over the last year I think Bernhard has actually improved his pace of play. He's trying to improve his pace of play. He knows he's not one of the quicker players. He's very honest that way about his pace of play. And he's very honest about it. I think he's improving his pace of play. So I don't envision any problems tomorrow at all. Yeah, there was a comedy sketch that you showed I think at the back of 15 one day when I was looking at my watch. But at the same time, I respect him fully on and off the course.

Q. You're in position to win your third senior Major in a year. How good does that feel, given the frustrations you suffered in Majors as a younger guy?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It is. I think you said it all, really. It was frustrating to come to these championships and to walk off with a runner's up medal. I've done that five times. And it is frustrating. You try your damndest and you come up a shot light, you know, or sometimes in playoffs you haven't come up a shot light, someone's just beaten you in a playoff. And it is frustrating. I'm more relaxed now. I'm more relaxed than I was. My temperament is more consistent and I think that that's helping. I'm enjoying it. I'm enjoying it out here, I really am. I think that I'm a great believer if you enjoy something, you're usually quite good at it. Anything. I mean, if you came to work and you weren't looking forward to it, you wouldn't do as good a job as you are about to, because you look forward to it. You know what I mean? Anybody. Doesn't matter if you're making widgets or not. You know. So I do enjoy it. I love the competition. I think the competition's great, it's fantastic competition out here. In a nutshell, I'm enjoying my job, yeah.

Q. You mentioned chess. Are you a good chess player and what's it like to play chess with Pete Dye?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, well, I played chess at school and I say that about courses like this. And Pete Dye courses are like that. I mean, the TPC Sawgrass is a classic example. His par-5s there are incredible. They're all risk/reward holes. And you've got to be bloody careful what you do. There's no respite on the TPC Sawgrass either. There's not one hole out there at TPC Sawgrass where I ever felt that I could relax. Very similar to here. You play chess with these courses. You do. You can see the way that, you can see the design, you can see the way that the course is set up. You can see the way the greens are that there's four distinct pin positions. You can see that. Before you play. And yeah, Kiawah, the same. Oak Tree where we played the U.S. Open last year, the U.S. Senior Open last year, great great golf courses. And this will become an iconic golf course, it will. I mean this is a serious test of golf. You know. Very serious test of golf. And a bloody good one, too. Yeah. Really good one.

Q. You talk about being a test, a lot of the guys this week have kind of been grumbling about it, but you seem to kind of relish that test. Is that accurate at all? Is that something you enjoy?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I felt that when I was playing in the U.S. Open. A lot of the guys didn't enjoy playing in the U.S. Open. The course setup, as it was in the '90s, it was very severe. And I felt, okay, well, that's taking you out of the game then, thank you very much, and, you know, that type of thing. And I can cherished it. I embraced it. I thought, okay, if I can drive the ball the way I drive the ball, then I have a chance. And this is a very similar feeling that I have here. A very similar feeling. A very, very similar feel, that there's ways around here, just, but you got to hit the golf shots, you certainly have, or else you're in trouble. I played with Tom Lehman there, charming man, and you can get on a bogey roll very easily. Very easily. And that's what Tom, unfortunately, did on the back nine a few holes. But it's very difficult to -- when you can't see the shots that Pete Dye wants you to hit, if you can't see them and picture them and vision, visualize them, it becomes very difficult. Very difficult. And it should be. It it's a Major Championship. It should be difficult. If it was easy, Christ, we would all be doing it, you know? You would be out there.

JULIUS MASON: Are you ready to go up to the top of the hill and meet with NBC?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Something like that. Thank you very much.

JULIUS MASON: Thanks, folks.
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