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October 27, 2005

Colin Montgomerie


GORDON SIMPSON: Colin, excellent play today, 4 under par, joint leader. And you're going for the eighth Order of Merit, but it's really the eighth hole today that kick started the round I think.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I slightly disagree. I think the first hole was crucial. I've been anxious, obviously. That's understandable, that's human nature, for the last three or four days, to think about this and what's going on and try to get my game in some sort of shape. Of course, I was playing well anyway, so that was okay, but it was just an anxiety before I started which is understandable. I got rid of that in the first three holes. You know, to be 2 under there was a terrific start. I hit the ball exactly where I wanted to most of the day today and positioned my way around.

You know, I love this course and I love the whole place here. As I said to you before, whatever happens, whatever happens from now on to the end of this week, I'm glad that it's played here and long may it continue be played here. I think it's a fantastic test of golf and a superb, superb venue and in great condition and we all appreciate it.

But I played, I played well today, and also putted quite well. I felt the pace of the greens okay, and when the first putt goes in, I always say the first three or four putts of mine in a round of golf are very important, and today was good. To hole the first and the third was crucial for me, and it got me off to get up in contention, which I said to you yesterday was why I was here was to try and win the Volvo Masters, and everything else will take care of itself if that happens. And I'm in the last group tomorrow and I'm delighted about that. I'm in contention already and I'm looking forward now to the rest of the week as I was today.

Q. I don't think I've ever seen anybody hit a ball that far past the tree on the second hole.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It was just downwind and it got a good kick, really, yeah. I'm hitting the ball, knowing where the ball is going, I tend to hit the ball harder. And if you're not quite sure of where the ball is going, you tend to sort of back off it a little bit and not commit to the shot. And I'm committed to every shot now and I'm hitting the ball further than I ever have. So the ball is going a long way, yeah.

Q. The distance on that one?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I don't know how far that was.

Q. Not the drugs then?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, it's not. If only it was. (Laughter).

Q. You talked about the birdie putts at 1 and 3, the two shot turnaround at the last must have been pretty important, too?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I suppose. People say it's difficult to you know, you play your own game and stuff. You say you don't want to play match play out there, and of course you're aware of what your playing partner is doing in the day, and I suppose I'm more interested in Michael's play than I would be normally. Again, that's human nature. I'm not saying I wasn't and I'm sure he was me. But we respect each other. We're good friends. And we actually we actually talked an awful lot on the course today and it was a good round. Yes, he happened to bogey the last, and I happened to birdie it.

But I'm here to try and win the Volvo Masters, and that birdie for me put me in the lead this evening and I'm proud of that today. I'm proud of that. For the anxiety I was under to come out and you play against 55 of the best players in Europe, and now you're leading under that pressure was a good effort and I'm looking forward now to the rest of the week.

Q. Can you tell us what you talked about, just give us some idea of the general chat between the two of you?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Just about where people are going after this tournament and what's happening with our schedules and what he was doing two weeks down in Sydney where he was on holiday, I believe. Just general chitchat. Nothing untoward.

Q. Did you smile on the last tee before you drove off, somebody in the crowd?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: That's a President suite, I have to be careful, there's a president suite on the 17th that was clearing up, because of course the last group had finished on the 17th green and it was quite noisy and Alastair asked them to be quiet if possible and that was all.

Q. Can you describe the shot on the 8th?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It was a wedge of 111 yards, and hit it 100 sort of 12 and it backed up one and disappeared. It's always lucky; and that's the intention, of course it is, you intend to hole it, but God, it's always lucky when it comes off. That was a good boost for me to birdie that hole is good.

Q. The bogey on 5, when you missed the fairway.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: That was a good bogey, thank you very much.

Q. To get away there with 5 was all right in the end?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: When I saw the bunker, there's a very big tree in the way, I was lucky, I was looking at double there. That was a good 5.

And it's amazing, somehow, you know, you make a good bogey and you walk on to the next tee with added confidence; and I birdied the sixth, so it was completely gone. It was away. And I've been working very much on trying to forget what I've just done and get on to the next hole because I'm afraid that's what you have to do around here, a massive, massive game of patience around here on this type of course.

Q. How far was the putt?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Thirty foot up the hill I suppose. It's nice to hole a putt on that green because that's the most vicious green out here, yeah.

Q. Do you forget what you've done today before going out tomorrow? Do you consign that to history?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Totally. This is a forgotten round and we're all equal tomorrow, and I've got to go out and do my best tomorrow the way I was today. This is a forgotten round now. After I leave here, it's completely forgotten, and I'll have dinner tonight and I'll forget about it. There will be no talk about golf tonight, and I'll come back and try to do my job tomorrow.

Q. You've often said in the past that four rounds of 4 under are going to put you in contention.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Christ, here? (Laughter).

Q. In tournaments, do you think 4 under is even better than that, do you, today?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Oh, yeah, if yeah, oh, God, yeah. 4 under is always a good round of golf. Of course it is around here. It's a very good round of golf. I've only bettered that once. I think I shot 65 around here once. I've only better that had once in all of the time I've played here, so 67 is a very good score.

But if you put four of them together, I'm afraid you're going to win this by a mile, so don't expect this to happen every day here. This is good right now. (Laughter). Don't expect this to happen every day. If the wind picks up or the weather gets any inclement at all, level par is a very, very good total, always is.

GORDON SIMPSON: So you're saying you don't want to forget about it?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, I want to put it aside. It's actually banked; it's saved; it's gone.

Q. Would you stand on this course one up?


Q. Why?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Generally because other players don't seem to some of them don't seem to enjoy it, but you've got a leaderboard that it's proving itself again. You've got Luke Donald, which I felt would always be in contention here; he plays that similar type of game. Ian Poulter, of course, comes here with huge confidence after winning last year. You've got Garcia; Olazabal has won. Garcia is a class player, and you can't forget the likes of Campbell who is only plus one. And you have Harrington, plus one who came back today; Westwood even.

There's a lot of players here who play this course quite well and players who have played this course a lot. We expect a battle over the next three days, anyway, but I'm glad that that score is banked now and I can go away from here happy.

Q. It wouldn't be unusual for you to not tee off until two o'clock, ten past two, but nonetheless it might be unusual for you not to tee off until that time, bearing in mind the importance of the event?


Q. Did you have a fretful morning or what were you doing?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Coldplay, Coldplay is good. X & Y is brilliant, so I listened to them. No, we closed breakfast today, Hugh and I, at 11:30. So we got in at 10:15 and had a chat about all sorts of things, all sorts of things happened at home and with the office and I had to deal with all that. We got here at 12:00, had a bite to eat and went on the range. So actually it wasn't too bad, and I'll do the same tomorrow.

Q. How long between breakfast and lunch?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Twenty minutes. It's great. I love it. (Laughter).

Q. Can you tell us standing over that shot at the 8th, what did you see, because could you actually see the flag through the trees?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, you can't really see the flag because I was too far right with my 2 iron, I was a little bit far right but on that hole it's very difficult. There's only five yards to hit it into, so I had it a little bit right. No, you can't really see the pin. You hit it over the top of the trees, hopefully, and hope for the best, really, as long as you've got the right yardage. And if you strike the ball well, that's all you can do, and it just so happened it went in. It was lucky, you can't I'm not saying it wasn't a good shot. It would have been inches away anyway even if it missed. But it's fortunate that a ball goes in from a fairway shot, definitely.

Q. Michael was playing from slightly further back on the same angle, would you have to get the ball up quicker than he had?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Oh, very much. The further back you are on that hole, sometimes the better it is. You can get too far forward on that hole. It's a very, very tricky hole, one of the narrowest fairways on the course, and that and 18 are the narrowest two. It's a potential problem that hole, always. It's always nice to walk off, as I said, not just with a birdie, but with an eagle, yeah.

Q. It must exceed your wildest dreams that you've already scored more Ryder Cup points in this campaign than you did in the entire last one.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Have I? (Laughter). Yeah, last time wasn't very good, though, was it? Bernhard went way down the table with me I'm afraid. What was I, 27th? You usually picked 11 or 12. I was No. 27 on that list. I was nowhere. He went down the list, he took a risk, if you like, and I'm glad it paid off for him, and for me.

Q. And that's crucial in where you are now?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Crucial. Crucial. Absolutely crucial. If I wasn't picked for that Ryder Cup, I wouldn't be here leading this tournament, no way at all. That was a crucial move on his part for my career, definitely.

Q. Why?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, because it was going in one direction, the wrong direction. He gave me an opportunity, and not just an opportunity, but it all ended up that opportunity I've always said, there's 24 guys lined up at the opening ceremony there, and one of those 24 guys, whether it be 12 Americans or 12 Europeans, one of those 24 guys is going to hole the winning putt; and this time it landed on me out of 24. I mean, you've got a 1 in 24 shot. And it wasn't just that; it was the whole week and the whole thing. So it gave me I'm not saying he saved my career, but at the same time, he was instrumental in getting me to where I am now.

Q. I don't know whether a tea toter or whether you have a drink every so often, but if you do, would tonight be a night where you would raise a glass of wine?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, no. God, no. I've said this, there's seven miles if we walk seven miles a day around this golf course, there's 21 miles to go around here, and a hell of a lot can happen in 21 miles around this place, all right. You can lose five shots in two holes around here, never mind 21 miles. So no, God, no. There's plenty of time for that to carry on on Sunday night, plenty of time. No, no, this is.

Q. You never do between rounds?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Not really. I might have a glass of wine and I will tonight, but I won't be no, you said, raise a glass. To what? To what?

Q. Us.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, well, I would do that. (Laughter). For ten years, I'll always do that to you guys. No, I'm not raising a glass to anybody. I always have a glass of wine, I always do, but I won't be having a Freddie Flintoff night, all right.

Q. How far were the putts?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: The first was about eight foot and the third hole was about 15 feet.

Q. Did you think about going for it in two like Michael did?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I did, because I was first to play, my ball was about three inches behind his. Because I was first to play, I didn't.

Q. So there was an element of match play in the way you were thinking out there?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I told you, there has to be. There has to be. Because I was first to play, I'm 2 under after three, I'm not going to throw it way. I'm not going to put it in a river, all right, and give him momentum, no, no. I did exactly the right thing there. We've done this before. I've been in this position a few times here, and I'm not going to be silly about it, I can assure you, yeah.

Q. That was the putt that you missed?

COLIN MONTGOMERKIE: It was about a 5 footer. I played the hole properly, I just happened to miss it, one of these things.

Q. Did you feel at any stage in the round that Michael sort of may have been raising a white flag?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Not at all. Not at all. Michael was.

Q. Anything in his body language?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Michael got up and down the 15th, 16th, 17th for pars and almost made a miraculous par on the last as well from where he was in two. No, no, Michael is a competitor. Michael is a competitor. Michael is still in this tournament, there's no question.

Q. Is there anything that you've done over the last couple of months, vis a vis your putting?


Q. You tell us a lot about how frustrating that side of it can be.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It always is, yeah.

Q. You've putted well for the last couple of months.


Q. Is it just confidence or is there something you're doing a little bit differently?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I think so. I think I'm putting a little bit better. I'm practicing harder than I ever have, and I think that it's paying off. I practiced hard here for the first three days when I was down here, kind of got the feel of the greens. But I've putted better the last the dunhill links, I putted well in America. I putted okay until the end, and I putted well at the NEC tournament in America.

So I've been putting a little bit better this year. Since I've gone back to my short putter, I'm getting the pace of the putts a lot better than I did before.

Q. What was the date you went back?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It was the first tournament I changed, whatever date that was, May.

Q. Is it possible you're playing the best golf of your career?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: This is, I said to you earlier on, with the seven Orders of Merit, I was one putt a round; I putted well today, so this is the same as I was doing before.

Q. In terms of your career, are you playing better golf now ball striking better than did you five years ago?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes. Yes. Technology helps there, technology helps. But, yes I'm hitting the ball further, straighter and better than I've ever done before.

Q. Are you thinking your way around the golf course better?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I spent a couple of years not because I wasn't with someone who thinks same way I do, and Alastair thinks the same way I do. There's no question, there's no doubt that, for instance, at the fourth hole was a decision to be made well, there wasn't a question that I was laying up with a 7 iron. There was no doubt. We think the same way. It's brilliant to have someone thinking exactly the same way you are out there. It really helps. It's only him and I out there. There's no one else.

Q. At what stage in your career, do you accept the need for practice?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Good question. I think I've always practiced away from sites. I'm a great believer in bringing ones game to a tournament and not finding it here, great believer in that. I see people on the range being coached here. Well, I'm afraid that's too late. Too late. Players out here being coached now, even after they have had a disappointing day, for instance, they are out there being coached by people, that to me is too late, in my opinion.

I don't do that. I go to Wisley quite a lot, I practice, I've been putting more but nothing really. I know if I hook it and I know if I fade it too much, I know what I've done wrong, you know. But it's mostly just the practice and getting myself confidence on the putts that's key for me.

Q. It was a long period in the early part of your career when you despised practice.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, you didn't see me practice.

Q. You said you didn't, that's why.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, you didn't see me. (Laughter).

I practiced a little bit more than you might have thought I was. I didn't practice a lot, don't get me wrong, because, you know, it was flowing, it was going, it was okay. But I practice a little bit more now than I have to because I have to keep up with the competition. The competition has improved and I have to go along with it.

Q. Any specific reason, for missing fairways left,5 and 9? Were you pulling the ball instead of fading?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I don't know, the wind discretion, sometimes you just over compensate whatever. But two bogeys resulted, unfortunately. You can't go around here missing fairways. I was very glad at last fairway I hit there, that was a brilliant drive down the last there right down the middle and left myself a great angle into the pin and made birdie and it's amazing if you do that around here, you can score, if you do hit it in the rough, I'm afraid it doesn't matter who you are, you're not going to get around here.


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