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May 25, 2016
Benton Harbor, Michigan
THE MODERATOR: Welcome back to the 77th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid. I would like to welcome back Colin Montgomerie, two-time defending champion at Harbor Shores.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: And I know you played here last month as part of our Media Day. How nice is it to be back and to revisit the moments and the images in your own head from 2014? It was a pretty special time in your career.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, very much. So, first of all, delighted to be here again. And the weather's lovely as well. It's very warm, which is super. Everyone seems to be enjoying the golf course and the community. And it's always nice to revisit when you come back to a place, it's very rare in a major championship, apart from if you happen to win the Masters that you go back to place where you've won before so recently, because there's a rota involved, but here we're back here every second year, which is great.
And it's nice to be back here defending and I look forward to it. I think that the golf course is in great condition. Everyone's speaking highly of it again and there's a few new updates and changes on the golf course, which have been very positively seen by the players.
So, yeah, it's all good. It's good that you revisit certain shots that you hit. And I was reminiscing with Bernhard Langer's caddie there about what was happening around about the turn last year where it all changed in my favor and happened to be against him. So, it was, yeah, it's interesting talking about where you were and what you did, yeah.
THE MODERATOR: Speaking of 2014, at that point you were very new.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I'm still brand new in my eyes.
THE MODERATOR: At this point, in the same place that you were two years ago, we have got John Daly. What are your recollections your first few weeks on this tour and what advice would you give John as he begins his journey here with us.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Advice to John Daly?
We don't have long enough.
No, goodness, me, I mean he's been a great asset so far on the PGA TOUR Champions and along with and long may that continue. He's a breath of fresh air out here, bringing a new spectator audience to the scene and he's performed quite well, really, as well. He's had a couple of good performances already and obviously this is where it all started with the PGA of America with John Daly back in 1991 and it's great to see him here.
I think he'll do quite well here, I really do. I think the fairways are quite generous here, as most Jack Nicklaus courses are. It's more of a second shot golf course this. Whereby, the fairways are generous and they're quite soft with the rain you've had in the last month.
So, as regards John and regards his golf, I think he's got every chance of doing very well and we, I, and we all wish him well.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. Thank you. Questions?
Q. Could you speak to the form your game is in right now and having won on this course before, what sorts of expectations do you then bring into this week?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Sure. Well, the form hasn't really been as good as it's, as I would like it to be, obviously, because there's no wins and what have you. But at the same time, last week I was second place going walking off the 56 the hole, so it can't be that bad. I finished poorly, but at the same time there's things that are happening in the right direction. And I've actually practiced well here. I've got a good draw, good times, two good friends out here now with Kenny Perry and Rocco Mediate who I'm playing with the first two days. I know them very well and the caddies and we all get on well, which is a good tee time, a good draw.
And, yeah, when you come back to a place you've won on, you do feel one up on the first tee. There's no question. And I do coming back here. I know my way around here, I know how to play the course because there is a way around here, and I managed it a couple of years ago, so there's no reason why I can't do that again, it's just a matter of the competition is getting stronger every year.
As I was saying, there's new guys coming out here that by definition are younger and fitter and stronger and as hungry as ever. So the competition's increasing at the same time. So, it's a great place to be, a great place to try and play one's trade, yeah.
Q. When you won here two years ago, it was your first win in America. And now --
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well first -- first stroke play win in America.
Q. First stroke play win.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Thank you.
People tend to forget that. I won the World Match Play, I don't know why that wasn't seen as a victory. I tell you what, the bank balance said it was.
Q. Do you mean the Ryder Cup as match play?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, no, the World Match Play I won in Phoenix. Yes. In 1998. Yeah the Andersen Consulting World Match Play. It seems to be forgotten.
THE MODERATOR: I wouldn't forget it.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I wouldn't forget that. Beat Davis Love in the final, Ernie Els in the semi-final. It was all right.
THE MODERATOR: Unforgettable.
Q. First stroke play win here.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Thank you very much. First stroke play win, yes. Sorry. Carry on.
Q. And now you're on a roll having won two of these in a row.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah.
Q. What changed for you? Why is it -- because you're playing many of the same players, what's been different for you?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Good question. I think I'm enjoying it over here more than I ever thought I would, first and foremost. And I've said many, many times before, if you enjoy something, you're usually quite good at it. Doesn't matter what you do.
And I am enjoying myself over here. I think I'm more relaxed and more mature and less tense within one's self and I think I'm playing better because of it.
And, you know, I got to No. 2 in the world in my day back in '97 and I feel that I can compete against these guys then and so we're just a little bit older right now so there's no difference in trying to compete against them now. It's the same thing. We're just a little bit older. Hopefully wiser.
So, yeah, it's more fun, definitely. It's more relaxed. It is less tense. There's no great big egos out here because everyone seems to have done what they do. There's no envy. Everyone seems delighted with everyone else's success. So it's a great place to play.
I'm personally enjoying it. Therefore, possibly doing well because of that, because I am enjoying it. I look forward to it. I look forward to the challenge of this, because the courses that are used here, especially for the Major Championships, the four-round tournaments, are extremely good. I look forward to the challenges of these events. Definitely. Yeah.
THE MODERATOR: You're going for a three-peat here. Have you ever won a single championship three times?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Just the PGA.
THE MODERATOR: Have you ever won anything three times in row?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Just the PGA at Wentworth that was all. It wasn't such a big deal really. Beat Ernie Els again in 1998. In fact, it was today, today. 1998. Golly, 28 years ago. No, 18 years ago wasn't it. 18 years ago. That I won the first PGA Championship at Wentworth. They're playing there this week. And then won in '99 and 2000.
So, yes, I've won one tournament three times in a row, the PGA, and I'm looking at this PGA here. So let's hope there's fate involved.
THE MODERATOR: We can do that. To the back.
Q. Since you brought that up, can you talk about --
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I didn't bring it up, actually he did.
Q. I'm sorry. Well, by extension. Can you talk a little bit about that and the importance of that event, obviously there are some players that are missing it this week.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Surprising that our PGA Championship, it's we see that as our TPC. You have the TPC at Sawgrass, your flagship TOUR event without being a Major. We have a flagship TOUR event which is at Wentworth, our PGA Championship. A very similar flagship event as we have in Europe.
I'm surprised that a number of top Europeans aren't playing. Not many, if any, don't compete at the TPC at Sawgrass. And I really, for the life of me I don't understand why top Europeans probable possible Ryder Cup players, whatever, this year especially, aren't competing at Wentworth. I don't understand that.
Q. Just to follow-up, when and you talked about it when you were second in the world in '97 I think I believe you said. Obviously since then a lot has changed in scheduling on the PGA TOUR or the European Tour with World Golf Championships, FedExCups, Race to Dubai and everything else. Now the Olympics comes into play which is becoming a concern for many different reasons. In your mind, being English, is it important, would it be important --
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Scottish.
Q. I like English or better?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Are you American, Mexican, or Canadian?
Q. How about British?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: British is fine. I'll take British. I'll take British. It beats English.
Q. That being said -- well it depends. That being said is the Olympics something that's important to you or do you think you could understand players skipping it?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I went to Switzerland to Lucerne in Switzerland to the IOC headquarters to present on behalf of golf with Peter Dawson, the ex-head of the R & A. And I presented with -- Annika Sorenstam was there on behalf of the ladies golf and I was there on behalf of the men's golf.
And I presented there in Switzerland to try and get the IOC Committee to be encouraged to accept golf into Olympic games. And I still stand by that. I think it's fabulous that golf is returning to Olympic games. After what, a 112-year lapse?
And again, I'm staggered by the fact that some have decided that it's not for them. You might be world champion or you might be PGA Champion or you might be the Masters champion or whatever, but Olympic champion, you're Olympic champion for life.
You're a PGA Champion for that particular year, whatever, but you're an Olympic champion for life. And it's an opportunity that's not given to everybody all the time.
I think that, to take that, to take the opportunity is golden in every way. And I can't see the, what we did to try and get the Olympic, golf in the Olympic, I can't understand why some people have said that it's not for them. I really can't.
It's another golf tournament, get on with it. A lot of them fly privately down there for goodness sake, you know, it's not as if it's a big deal, you know. It's a golf event and it's the same. I just can't fathom it.
A lot of work was done, a hell of a lot of work was done to try and get golf in the Olympic games and it's beyond me to think that people won't compete. Can't understand it.
Q. With your time here two years ago, back for Media Day, what are your general perceptions of the community locally here. What would you say -- what would you tell everybody, hey what about this little corner of Michigan, what would you tell them?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It's an amazing spot, really and incredible. What's been done here with the community with the great help of whirlpool, obviously, KitchenAid and what they have done to try and help this community and what they have done with the First Tee Program and all the caddies yesterday in our group were all members of the First Tee Program here which is a fantastic organization to help the community together.
And I feel that when I come back here, all the volunteer, all the volunteers, I think there's over a thousand volunteers here this week, which is incredible. It has this community feel. This neighborly community feel that is fantastic here. I think that's a big part of this event and the success of it. Is bringing this whole community together for this event. And it's super that we can be part of this.
Q. John Daly was in here earlier and he says that when he's not really hitting his driver well he hits a 1-iron.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, he does.
Q. And I wanted to ask you if you know anybody else on this tour that hits a 1-iron and maybe the last time you hit a 1-iron?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Interesting. I think Joey Sindelar has a 1-iron and Nick Price did for many, many years. Sandy Lyle I think hit a 1-iron better than anybody in the world in his day.
Not many 1-irons around. Not many 2-irons. In fact, there's not many 3 irons. I don't carry a 3-iron. My 4-iron's stronger and I've got three woods, three metal clubs, whatever they're called now days. But very few.
I played with John Daly the last day at the Regions Tradition there down in Alabama last week and it might say a 1-iron on the bottom of it, but it still goes the length of people's drivers, you know. Still goes past my driver. I was embarrassed. So, but one of these things.
But he's, he does hit it well and he's learning to, just because it's a par-4 doesn't mean it's a driver. He can get that 1-iron in position and hits it extremely well. And his course management skills have improved a lot since the days I played with John Daly, which every par-4 and par-5 was just a thrash with a driver.
Now it's a more conservative approach, it's still going a long way, but it's more conservative approach and I think that's good for John Daly. Bad for us.
Q. Earlier John also said that you did speak to him last week about advice on how to play this course. So what did you tell him and then talk about just kind of the culture of this circuit and why you're helping him out.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I think that, I think John, John is a great asset for this tour for the PGA TOUR Champions. He's a fantastic asset. Everywhere he's gone he's been an asset to golf. Everyone wants to see John, play pro-ams with John Daly, John Daly Fan Club and all the sort of stuff that goes on.
And he was asking me about this course and about certain, he had heard about certain greens, the 10th green springing to mind here and everything and I was telling him about this and what have you and certain ways to get around.
The course itself this year is much softer because of the rains you've had over the last month. It's much softer than it was last year. So one it's playing longer, which it's playing into his hands; and also a soft course means the fairways are slightly wider because the ball doesn't bounce on the fairway and then go into the rough it stays on the fairway because it's not rolling out as much. So, again, playing into John's hands.
And as I said earlier in this session, that John will do quite well here. I really do. I think John will contend here, not just compete. John will contend here. Because of that point of, the fairways are quite generous and he can use his driver more than his 1-iron that he was having to use last week. So he's using his greatest asset, which is his length.
Q. You said that this is a second-shot course that you look the fact that you can drive it even if it wasn't soft. How is that part of your game now on the second shots in?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, it always has been. It's always been my strength, my iron play has always been my strength. Not necessarily accuracy with an iron shot, but distance control. I think this is, there's certain quadrants or certain sections of these greens you've got to be on here.
For those of you that have played this course and understand it, they're almost like a cloverleaf design where there's four distinct pin positions on the greens. And you've got to be in that quadrant of that green or else you got ample opportunity of 3-putting.
So you got to be in those particular quadrants and for that reason you've got to know how far your iron shots go. And I happen to be okay at that.
So, it doesn't matter what it says at the bottom of it, it can be a 5-iron, 6-iron doesn't matter what it says as long as I know how far that particular club goes. And that's been my asset through the years is my control of distance with my iron shots. And this course suits that.
THE MODERATOR: All right. Thank you, Colin. Best of luck this week and come back and visit. Thank you.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I would love to come back and visit late Sunday. Thank you.
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