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July 17, 2016

Colin Montgomerie

Troon, South Ayrshire, Scotland

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It's apparently to be 27° on Tuesday. Timing is perfect, you know. It's a shame because it's gray as well, you know, it's not light, it should be bright, and almost you need the floodlights this morning. It was weird and it's such a shame, it really is, because there's been a lot of effort put into everything to make this championship the best in the world, which it is, but it's unfortunate that the weather plays such a pivotal role, because it's been tough, very tough.

I'm tired now, very tired. I've been the leader in the clubhouse again, second time this week (laughter), because I did win my first game. I beat my playing time of the first match, so I'll be in the clubhouse then and still am. So if everything goes really badly, you never know, you know? They say it's not finished until the last putt's holed, you know? So we'll see.

Q. What's been going through your mind as you walk around these links that you've known all of your life and you see an Open Championship here again?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It is quite surreal in many ways to see the whole city that it is right now built up from what it was say four, five months ago when they first started building this place, and it is incredible what they've done. We're in the middle of the first fairway really for the members tee here. We don't use this tee at all in medal play. So it's just bizarre to see areas of the course that you practise on and now becoming shops and marquees and hospitality tents and what have you. It's quite incredible and they've done a superb job.

And the branding of the Open is fabulous now. I'm glad that even the word "championship" has been dropped and it's now The Open, like the Masters or Wimbledon or whatever. It's becoming a brand in its own right now, and deservedly so. It's a superb championship.

Q. They're calling it now the "Duel in the Wind". Any thoughts on the two of them up front?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, you've got to be wary of the people behind. They can't be playing matchplay from word go because suddenly somebody could creep up on them because it is dangerous out there. The front nine isn't as easy as it's been throughout the week. It's more across today than it has been. It's not helping really any holes. It's more across. Every hole is a crosswind, even on the back nine, so it's even making it more difficult. You're not going to see sort of 31, 37s really. You're going to see more two more even halves.

But, yeah, they have pulled away. They're six shots clear, but at the same time that can whittle away in a hurry. So we'll see. But they are favourites, the pair of them. Mickelson's preparation is second to none. You see him at the bottom of the range there yesterday hitting shots where he has to play on the back nine, and coming back to where everyone is joining him to hit shots on the front nine. His preparation is second to none. And Henrik Stenson's a world star. Remember the FedEx Championship he won there just a few years back. So his time is due as well.

So it will be a good battle. But you've got to remember the guys behind them can still play.

Q. On the green, your competitive instincts, last night (inaudible)?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, it was unfortunate that Sky only had 80 names on the list, and they kept on showing the 81st page and it was wrong. I tried to speak to the producer and get it off, but I don't have enough power.

Oh, one of these things. I haven't really played very well to be honest. This whole year I've struggled. I've struggled pulling the ball and the ball is going left. When you are aiming left, expecting a fade, you know, it's doubly bad. So I've just got to sort it out.

I've been speaking to Ewen Murray and Butch Harmon, of course, in the Sky studio when we're not on air, and he's been giving me the odd lesson, which is super and something to work on. But you can't really work it out there. It's too late. You've got to bring your game to a golf course of this stature. You can't find it here. I'll go away. I've got to practise the next three days before Carnoustie (laughter). I mean, of all courses to go and have to play, you know. My God, you know? But we'll do our best there and see. But I've got three days to practise and we'll do our best.

Q. (Inaudible).
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Two hours, 50 minutes, and really I don't feel as if I've rushed. Everyone in the scorer's tent and even our own scorer said that was refreshing and it's the way to play golf. I'm sure those of you who are my age were all brought up on a round of golf taking three hours. I was. I was brought up here. This is three hours here. And even the old boys get around in three hours, you know. Why four and a half hours has become the norm, five hours in major play, I don't know why and how it's become that way. The sooner we get back to trying to play this game at a sensible pace, the better.

Q. (Inaudible).
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, I wasn't on my own, no. No, the pair of us played in two hours, 50 minutes and he sat down, it was the same thing. I didn't seem to have to rush, and that's the way to play. Remember we're playing off the back tees. There's some walks back to the back tees here. It's a long way around, and yet we still got around in two hours, 50. So the more that that can be seen and publicized by you guys, the better, because that's the pace of play that we have to -- I'm not saying we have to get back to, but surely, surely everybody in the three ball can play under three hours, or under four hours, sorry.

Q. What do you think the major reason is for it?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: There's a number of reasons, really. The yardages that we never seem to have, all the sprinklers now have yardages on them and meters and yards now, and the caddies playing and people. I think the money is a big, big deal as well. People are taking money because there's more on it, more resting on it. The line of the golf ball as well. People lining up the ball, No, it's not right, you have to remark it, and remark it again. If everyone does that and it takes 10, 15 seconds to do that, if everyone does that, God, it's 30 minutes extra. And all you've done is remarked the ball once.

There's a number of reasons why. It's a more technical game now as opposed to a more natural game. You used to see it by sight. Lee Trevino always saw it by sight, didn't he? And he felt it was a 7-iron or a 6 whatever and hit it. Now yardage is everything. It is, it's too long, far too long to play, and it's one of the reasons why the game of golf has less people playing the game of golf or there's less members of golf clubs nowadays because it is taking too long away from the family and we have to get this back.

Q. (Inaudible).
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, yes, I would hopefully do well at Carnoustie, and if I can take something from this today. I found something, believe it or not, on the 13th, believe it or not with about six holes to go, it was about 66 holes late I found it. And to play the last six holes and level, I could sell that later on, I can assure you. Six pars coming in here the last six holes, I could sell that to the leaders.

But at the same time, yeah, I've always loved playing in this championship. My open record isn't that great, really. I haven't really performed that well, but at the same time I've always enjoyed the whole theater of the thing, and hopefully this won't be my last.

Q. (Inaudible).
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I did, indeed. That was right.

Q. (Inaudible).
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Not particularly, no. The R&A have a rule where they do not want someone to go out on their own. It's an R&A rule as opposed to my own. I had no choice. I had no option. The R&A supply a marker, who I happen to know him well. He's the head pro here, Kieron, so he's a lovely guy. I have known him, he's the head pro here for years since Brian Anderson left, so it was easy. But I didn't have an option as I did at Gleneagles.

Q. (Inaudible).
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I think I was two hours at Gleneagles and that was a long walk up that third hole, crumbs.

Q. Do you have time to talk to (Inaudible).
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Oh, yes. Not at all. You have a chat around. You're walking off the tees together, you have a chat, yeah. Then you split up wherever your balls might be and you meet up at the green again like a normal round of golf. There was no rush there at all.

Q. (Inaudible).
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, exactly. People think oh, you need time. You need time to talk. You need time to do business, whatever the case may be. There is a lot of business done on golf courses as we know that. But, no, that's two hours, 50 minutes is not fast. It's not fast. Two hours is quick when you're out here. Okay, that's fast, right? Two hours 50 is not quick to play a round of golf. Not fast, no.

Q. (Inaudible).
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, Thursday was Ryder Cup-esque. I think most people witnessed that that were there. It was theater on the first tee, really, and I was honoured to have the first shot to start it off. I'm glad I sort of made sensible contact with it because the Ryder Cup is -- it's like the Ryder Cup and it is quite daunting in many ways. Expectation is high and what have you. And it is difficult.

This morning, it's amazing, I didn't realise, but the stand was half full this morning even at 7:40. Good luck to them all. The spectators here, they've battled way, way hard. It's £80 to get in. It's not cheap and they've done well to come in and battle hard knowing that the conditions are going to be difficult. You know there's not the -- as we said, the Duel in the Sun at Turnberry where the birdies were going in left, right and centre, and the crowds were getting excited. This is hard work. Pars are good. It's just tough, very, very tough.

Q. We've seen a lot 40-year-olds (Inaudible).
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, it always gives the opportunity for the older player, I've felt that, on a links course. This is different because it was playing so soft today. This week it was playing so soft because of the rains we've had in July. This is the opportunity. Tom Watson proved the opportunity for an older generation to do well. And Phil Mickelson's proving that as well. But it's unfair. He's unique at 46, is he, 45, 46, that he's unique. He's still extremely competitive. You wouldn't have said Tom Watson was competitive on the U.S. Tour. Phil Mickelson is. And that's why he's there. I mean, his short game yesterday and the first two days was quite phenomenal, and it might just see him through here. You never know.

Q. (Inaudible).
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, yes. Well, yeah. You've got to be realistic and think that it might well be the last time I'm here at an Open, and I'd love to think it won't be, but, yeah, it might well be. It's good to finish with six pars there. Good to hit a nice 4-iron into the last hole and have a chance at birdie and finish off.

Just a shame I was on my own because the stands were empty, really. And it was a pity. I'd love to play in the middle of the pack where the stands are beginning to become full, and that would have been more emotional, possibly than it was when they're empty. But I got a good ovation, anyway, which was super from the following crowd that were walking around with the group, yeah.

Q. You obviously qualified for The Senior Open.

Q. (Inaudible).
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, I have to think what the schedule's like. Qualifying took two weeks out of the Champions Tour for me, and I missed two events. The Champions Tour is strange. It hits the same sort of guys that are doing well every week. So if you lose two weeks, it's difficult to catch up. So it depends how I start next year. But I'd love to think that I can do this again and try and qualify again.

Yeah, the Glasgow Golf Club are very hospitable to me. They allowed me on for two separate practise rounds before the official practise round on Monday with the members. They were very hospitable. The Gailes Club, part of the Glasgow Golf Club, and thank them for the hospitality to allow me to try and qualify here to get here in the first place. Yeah, so I'd love to try and do that again.

Q. (Inaudible).
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, no, I didn't. I didn't feel that. The goal at the start of the week was to play on Sunday, really. Anything beyond that was a bonus.

When I saw the course in practise, really how long the course was playing, it really took it out of my hands I'm afraid. I needed it to be running like a Turnberry 2009 or a Hoylake back in 2006 or '07, I believe, where the course was fast-running and gave me an opportunity to go into the holes with a decent club as opposed to going in with four 3-irons when the rest of the field are going in with 8s and 9s. It's a big difference. Especially with the Open pins behind bunkers and stuff. So as soon as I saw the conditions, it was really against me.

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