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October 6, 2005

Colin Montgomerie


RODDY WILLIAMS: Terrific opening round there, 6 under par 64, no bogeys. Could you sum up that round for us?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, very easily. I hit most of the fairways. And if I hit the fairways I can hit the greens and then I can score. But the round was made 16, 17, 18, especially 18. That's the toughest hole on the course, and it was nice to birdie that and it got me really going at 5 under. It's not easy out there. It got quite cool and the wind picked up, and I hear the weather is to change tonight and tomorrow a little bit, very difficult tomorrow. I'm just glad I'm in in one piece, and 64 is a good start.

RODDY WILLIAMS: Playing well coming off last week, as well.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, I won on Sunday there at St. Andrews, and that was a delight for me. It gave me some confidence. I haven't won for 19 months and it's nice to win again, especially there, and come over here with a lot more self esteem and a lot more confidence than I have had, and I proved it out there today. I was very relaxed and I had a good group to play with. I played with Freddie Couples and Sergio, and we all got on very well. And it was a nice, relaxed group and I look forward to playing tomorrow.

Q. You were two lipped putts away from a 62, I suppose.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, I was also a couple of ten footers away from a 66 (laughter). "If" is a very big word, especially on a golf course.

No, I'll take 64 in here, don't worry about that.

Q. You talked about last week. How much carryover is there? I know it's entirely different conditions, but how much of your play today could have been carryover from Sunday?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: A huge amount. 90 percent of it is carryover from Sunday. If I finished 3rd or 4th on Sunday I wouldn't have shot 64 today. Simple as that. Of course it's a carryover.

Q. In what ways?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, just in the confidence factor, I suppose. It's given me a huge boost in my career really. I'm 42 now, and we're supposed to be going a little bit down, and it's nice when it goes the other way. It doesn't happen very often, and it's nice when it does.

And I looked forward to coming over here. I like the city of San Francisco. It's very cosmopolitan, and I've always enjoyed coming over to this coast. It's a long way. It's an eight hour time difference. It's 10:30 at home, and that's my time. I haven't adjusted yet at all. So I'm glad I've got this so I can hopefully get back to the hotel and catch some more sleep tonight and come out and hopefully have a decent day tomorrow.

Q. Has there been any technical changes at all, or is this just purely a case of, as you said, playing on confidence?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, there's a few technical changes that I worked out myself, really. I was swinging the club quite well at the World Match Play. I lost to Mark Hensby at the World Match Play, although I was playing okay, just one of those things at Match Play, sometimes your opponent plays better. Then the Seve Trophy was good for us all, all the British players, and then we took it into St. Andrews. I've been playing well the last month. As I said, I'm hitting the ball on the fairways. If I can do that the rest of the three days, I have an opportunity. If I can't, I don't have a chance.

Q. What were the changes, Colin?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I could thrill you with science here, and I don't want to bother with that. Just a couple of timing issues, really. That's all. It hasn't really changed. My swing hasn't changed for 30 years, and it's knot going to now. It's just a couple of timing issues, really.

Q. I got the impression reading your comments yesterday that given the travel schedule and the emotions of winning that your expectations were really no expectations, just come play. If that's the case, how does that change the dynamics of playing sometimes when you're not thinking about anything but just playing?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I understand what you're saying. It does change your attitude to the game having my goal. My goal was the start of the Ryder Cup qualification. Our Ryder Cup in Europe, our qualifications started, what, about a month ago, didn't it, and we got through the whole year. That was my goal, is to try and make the Ryder Cup team. I felt a little bit out of it last time having to get picked, being picked as a captain's pick, and I don't want that to have to happen again.

So I was determined to get off to a good start, and that's relaxed me in one way, and my attitude toward the game has relaxed me, as well. With a win, as well, you do relax after having won. I've won every year somewhere in the world for 13 years in a row now, and I had to keep that record alive, and I've left it until the end of October to achieve that. But that's okay. That's a record I'm very proud of, as well. Even if you have a downtime, I've still managed to win somewhere, and I'm glad about that. That's kept that record alive.

So there's a lot that happened through last week, and I felt very relaxed out there today, and hopefully I will do it tomorrow.

Q. Had this tournament been closer to Scotland, if you hadn't had to travel so much coming off a win, would you have expected differently of yourself?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, not at all, not at all. Coming off a win you gain a lot of confidence, and it doesn't matter where you play the next week. You can get on an airplane on a two hour flight, it just happened to be a 12 hour flight. It doesn't really matter, a flight is a flight. They're take offs and landings, it doesn't really matter how far it is. I have a decent seat (laughter).

Q. When you were here in '98 for the U.S. Open, that was sort of the height of the heckling of the fans and attention. Today, from what I saw, it seemed extremely supportive.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Extremely supportive out there today, yes.

Q. Why do you think the fans seem more welcoming in America now than they were then?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I think there's more respect for me in the last two Ryder Cups, the 2002 Ryder Cup and the 2004 Ryder Cup that just passed, and I think there's more respect for me. I think that's key. I'm not the same threat that I was possibly in the '90s. There's better European players than me now. I was the No. 1 threat, I suppose, when I was No. 2 in the world to Greg Norman, and he wasn't American.

There's better Europeans now. There's three or four better Europeans than me in the World Listing even now. So I think they're very relaxed about it, and so am I. I think it's a big difference, and it does help when you have the support out there, which I certainly did. It was good out there today.

Q. At this point in your career, what would it mean to pick off a victory in the United States?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I would love to win in America. There's no secret to that. I haven't won a stroke play event here in the States. I won the before it became Accenture World Match Play, I won that over in Phoenix, but I haven't won a stroke play event.

There's no secret that I would love to win an event over in America before I finish. Yeah, I'd love to. Whether that happens or not, it won't change my life either way, right? I'm not suddenly going to change my lifestyle because I've won, but I would love to win over here, yes, I really would.

Q. What about the World Cup?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I won the World Cup, I suppose, the individual World Cup, but that's not really an individual stroke play event, although it's an individual stroke play event (laughter).

Q. At what point do maybe some of these younger players that you're talking about, all these good Europeans come up to you and call you an elder statesman?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: That's been happening for a few years now. I've been the oldest on the Ryder Cup team the last two occasions, 2002 and 2004. I've been the oldest, I believe. No, Langer played in 2002. I was the oldest in 2004. Yes, suddenly you go from being one of the youngest not long ago to suddenly the oldest player, and it is different. It is a different feeling, and it's good in many ways, but as a golfer you're very lucky that at 42 years old you can still compete at a top level, and I feel very lucky to be able to do that. In any other physical sport I'd be finished ten years ago, so I feel very fortunate that I can compete at this level at 42.

Q. As a result of this improvement in timing, what is it that you're doing now that you weren't doing when there was something wrong with your timing?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Missing the fairways.

Q. So it's driving accuracy?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Driving has always been key for me. That's why I got to No. 2 in the world, was because I hit fairways. The only reason I was a good iron player was because I was on the fairway for a start. You know, the key was hitting the fairways, and that's what I did today and that's what I did through the last week. It's amazing how well I can do if I can hit the fairway.

Q. One of the running story lines this week is the golf course itself. It's an 80 year old municipal course that once had Hogan and Nelson here and fell into disrepair. Curious as to your impressions of your walk around the course, now played, how it held up against the best in the world and any awareness of the history here?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I remember that the San Francisco Open finished here in, I believe, '69 because the course was in disrepair or whatever it was. I don't know. I was only 6.

But I heard that they spent a lot of money here, $16 odd million, and it's been money well spent. It's a very, very good golf course, and it has stood up. It has stood up. Third place is 3 under or something. So that's a testament to the quality of the golf course, and it is firm. They've got it firm and fast running. The greens are firm and true, and it's a very good test of golf.

Q. You mentioned your birdie on 18. What do you think about that hole? It's obviously distinctive from the other 17 in many ways. Do you like it?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I personally love it obviously (laughter). You've just got to try and the number one thing is to try and hit the fairway. You can go too far left and be in real trouble. Because I actually fade the ball, I'm going the other way. It actually favors me. I'm not going down that left hand side at all. I just play down the right hand side and be short of the right hand bunker. I hit in with a 5 iron today and managed to hole a putt.

But anything can happen around there. It's a very, very tough finish, especially if you don't know where the wind is blowing. If it's into you at all, it's a very, very demanding hole. We were lucky today, it was sort of downwind off the tee shot, but if it's the other way around, it can be very, very difficult.

Q. With all these new golf courses and the railroad ties and the extended length, do you like getting back to a course like this, the so called old fashioned course?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Very much so. Very much so. There's a lot of courses that just get longer and longer for the sake of it. This course, there's a few doglegs there, there's a few shots that have to be threaded through tree lined shots, and it's a very, very good demanding test of golf. There's some right to left, there's left to right; it's not just tee it up and give it a big old bash, which has never been my game. I'll never compete in that world. I'll never do that. I only compete with courses that I can control the ball on, and this is one of them.

Q. When you were mentioning you of course had a great chance at the U.S. Open where you have to put it on the fairway, and that was the one major where you thought you'd win, and you got in a playoff and won and 3rd in another.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I did. Do you want to remind me more? Because I know exactly my U.S. record (laughter). If you want to go through every shot, I'll go through every shot.

Q. But basically that was your driver?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: That was my driver, yes. Basically that was because I drove the ball straight, yes, very straight at that stage. Basically that was all that was. I got to the U.S. Open, I didn't really have a practice round. It wasn't really worthwhile. It was because I knew exactly what I had to do before I got there. That was the only shot I was interested in, was the first one, then I could play. The second shot didn't really mean much. The first shot is the key shot at a U.S. Open on the fairway.

Q. Can you comment on Sergio's play coming in? He was pretty hot coming down the stretch.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, he was. He almost caught me at the I had to hole a good ten footer at the 6th hole for a par, or else we would have been tied. He's a very good golfer, obviously, in the top six or seven in the world, obviously, and a very exciting prospect. He made a great birdie from the trees at the 6th there, and he's a super kid and there's a fantastic future for him, of course there is.

Q. You only played one practice round yesterday. Did you find the greens difficult to read having only played them once?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, not particularly. They're so true, really. They're a fantastic surface. I wish all greens were like this. They're not too quick, and sometimes you come over to the States and find the greens extremely quick. They're firm, a really good surface. I didn't have too much trouble reading the greens. You're probably talking to the wrong person about that. The leader doesn't usually have problems reading the greens (laughter), and I didn't today, and a few of them did, which is great. I just hope I can putt as well, but mainly drive the ball as well tomorrow.

RODDY WILLIAMS: Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts.

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