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July 22, 2015

Colin Montgomerie


STEVE TODD: Nice to get inside when the rain is just starting there. Senior majors have been good to you the last couple of years. How do you feel about coming to Sunningdale to play the Senior Open Championship?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I've had a good run in the majors recently, especially the ones with 156 fields and cuts and what-have-you and the U.S. Opens and the PGA and Senior editions of them, I've done okay. Was second here last year. So we look forward to trying to contend and compete this year. This is a very special place, Sunningdale, as we you will know. It's got a great field. A lot of the top American senior players have come over which is great, making the tournament extremely international. Yeah, just looking forward to playing this course. I started playing here really in 1987 in the Walker Cup, and have loved the course of since. Every time we have played here whether it's the Seve Trophy days or qualifying for The Open or Panasonic Open or whatever it might be, it has been a delight. I like the course personally. Everybody does. It's just a matter of trying to find your way around.

STEVE TODD: Two U.S. Senior PGAs, U.S. Senior Open, what would it mean to your name on an R&A trophy?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, very special obviously having finished second in The Open and second in the Senior Open. It would be nice to, as you say, have an R&A victory. And it's interesting, a captain of the R&A is here today, George MacGregor, who was my partner in the Walker Cup. We played for Scotland together and also for Great Britain and Ireland and the Walker Cup together. So it's nice to see George MacGregor here. Yeah, it is. It would mean the world to me to win here but not just to win but you try and say you're going to win but the job for the first tee days is to finish hopefully -- try to finish with a chance of winning on Sunday, i.e., with a chance to get into contention Saturday night. I have three days to do it and look forward to it.

Q. You mentioned about one teammate on that Walker Cup Team. Any other players that you played with or possibly played against that are here this week?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I'm played against Billy Andrade in the singles and he's here this week. I managed just to scrape home against him in the singles. I don't know if any of the other Americans that were on the Walker Cup Team are here. I think I'm the only one from that particular Walker Cup Team from the British side that's actually participating. But yeah, it's a very special place, this Sunningdale. It's a lovely place to be, just to walk around even, never mind, never mind playing the great golf course. It's a lovely place just to walk around, to borrow a dog and walk around, a great place. That will help the golf course. It's playing quite short because the firmness of heat that we've had down in London this year, so this will help today. This will help soften the course and make it less fiery, which the course will play better that way.

Q. Between winning senior majors, something you couldn't do in your previous career; why is that?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I think I'm more relaxed now. I wish I could start again and be more relaxed in major golf. I got to a stage where being No. 2 in the world, that there was a lot of pressure on winning a major. Expectation was high and anxiety was high and the pressure was high, and played that way, as opposed to being -- sort of letting it happen almost, and I wasn't able to just unfortunately get through that. A couple of unlucky breaks, I suppose, as well, that people did things. Like Dustin Johnson would have holed that putt against me as opposed to 3-putting it and giving it to Jordan Spieth, that type of thing. Steve Elkington holing off the green in a playoff and this sort of stuff to beat me and I was in prime position on that one. There was a couple of occasions where luck just goes against you and you have to be fortunate, you do. There's never been a Major Champion or a champion of any golf tournament who stood up and said they were unlucky, ever. You need a little bit of fortune somewhere along the line and I just didn't get it in so-called "the proper majors," and possibly have had it a couple of times in the senior majors. There's a certain time where you have luck or your opponent of the day happens to have a little bit of bad luck that runs in your favour, and then you have to run with that and take that. Take it on board.

Q. And you proved at the U.S. Open that you can still mix it with the best. How does your game compare now with what it was in its prime?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I would say in the late 90s, I was playing as well as I have and as well as I can. You know, there's not really much difference. I'm hitting the ball the same distance as I did then through technology. The hand speed is reduced and the clubhead speed is reduced but technology has enabled me to hit the ball the same distance. My irons are as good and I think because I'm relaxing a little bit more, I think I'm holing more putts. So really, the standard has not really changed much, which is I suppose a bonus and a plus.

Q. It seems like the topic of the moment, Tiger missed another cut last week. Where do you believe he is on his road to recovery right now?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, difficult, difficult to see him at The Open Championship with his head bowed and his head down. From his second shot onwards, really, he was playing catch-up, really, and wasn't able to do so. His next event, I think he's playing this he week, his next event major-wise is Whistling Straits and we know how difficult a test that is. So something's got to change dramatically over the next two weeks for him to be competitive and for him to be contending in that, which of course he wanted to do. And that's another major year out of the way and another disappointing one for him unfortunately. Let's hope he gets back because he is A-List. He is box office, Tiger Woods. And the game, as a marketing -- as a marketing person within the game and as a marketing man within the game, he is a fantastic asset to the world of golf and has been. So it will be good if he comes back. He can't come back all the time. Alas, Muhammad Ali would still be world champion. There has to be a break sometime. Let's hope that it's not yet. Let's hope that it's not yet and let's hope that there's many years of Tiger Woods competing and challenging for championships, because he has been great for the game of golf of.

Q. Tom Watson said he thought you might have the edge around here because you've played it at least 50 times. Would it be more than that?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, it wouldn't be more than that. Around about 40 to 50 times maybe. Yeah, we know our way around here as much as any. That was nice of Tom Watson to say. I'm playing with Tom tomorrow. I look forward to that, a complete legend of the game and bowed out in a very honourable way, didn't he on Friday night there. But yes, I suppose advantage knowing the course. But still, the standard of play I found out here is extremely high. A hair's breath from the PGA Tour itself. It will be a real effort to try and win here. But I do have an advantage over knowing the course. But a few other players have played around here as many times as I have and have an advantage, as well. We'll just see what happens.

Q. Obviously another familiar face in your group in Jeff Maggert. Are you looking forward to locking horns with him?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, indeed, there's four majors we've had on the Senior Tour recently this year and I managed to get one of them and Bernhard Langer got the other one and Jeff Maggert has two. He's lying second in the Charles Schwab Cup and Langer is third. They have got goals ahead of them, I know they have. They have got targets to try to win that. I've got to keep on top. It isn't easy. It won't being easy. I know how well Jeff's playing and I know that this course would suit him, the way and the style of his play is, and Tom Watson is still a highly competitive individual. So it will be a good three ball, and I was excited when the three ball came out that I know that if I stay ahead of those two guys come Friday evening, job done. And I won't be far away from the lead, I'm sure, if I can stay ahead of those two.

Q. You're almost 30 years into your career now. How is the fire still burning?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I hate finishing second. It's the worst place to finish. I've had a couple of seconds this year already, one in a major and another one. So I hate finishing second. I'd much rather finish 21st or 22nd. That means I didn't have a chance to win. Second place means I did and I hate that. So that keeps me driving forward to try and win, yeah, yeah. I love the competition. I'm a competitive man, so I love to compete and this Champions Tour, the Senior Tour, has enabled me to start a new chapter in my life of competitive golf again, proper competitive golf because I was stagnating really 45 to 50 on the European Tour and this has given me a new lease of life and I'm enjoying it thoroughly.

STEVE TODD: Second last year at Porthcawl was an achievement in itself.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It was like a win really. I deserved the trophy last year. I beat everybody else. (Laughter) unfortunately there was someone that played extremely good golf, and I would have loved -- I'd love to see the proper Tour try and beat 18-under around there in those conditions. That was a phenomenal performance. I played well and shot 5-under. He was 18-under and I'd have loved the proper tour to have a go at trying to beat that, because I wouldn't have thought anyone would have done, I really wouldn't. I think he would have won it, he would.

STEVE TODD: Colin, thanks for joining us. Good luck this week.
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