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August 10, 2005

Colin Montgomerie


JULIUS MASON: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Colin Montgomerie joining us at the 87th PGA Championship. Colin is playing in his 14th PGA Championship. Colin, welcome to Baltusrol Golf Club.


JULIUS MASON: Some opening thoughts on the golf course and we'll go to Q&A, please.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, the golf course is obviously longer than it was before, much, much longer but everything seems to be that way, but a good golf course. Nothing sort of stands out in any major way but it's just 18 good holes of golf and we look forward to tomorrow morning. I've got a good time tomorrow morning, 7:45, and I look forward to competing.

Q. How is the hand and did you get to test it out of the rough yesterday at all?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, my hand was okay yesterday. I decided to play 18 holes. I was due to play nine, but I decided to play 18. It was feeling okay, the painkiller was obviously working, which was great. I did not go in the rough yesterday, no. Any shot that happened to go in the rough I just left it there or got the marshal to throw it back to my caddie, so I didn't go in the rough yesterday. I haven't hit a shot out of the rough yet. If that so happens, I'll take it on when it comes and not before then.

Q. Is there a concern about that?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, of course. That's why I didn't hit a shot out of the rough. No, that's why there's a concern, so I didn't bother. I'd rather and I'm not playing today. I'm just resting today and I've just putted this morning and I'll rest this afternoon and go for it tomorrow morning.

Q. Are you encouraged by your performance in the British Open?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, not at all. It was a terrible performance (laughter). Encouragement, no, not at all.

Q. The fact that you were so close, you know, and could have pulled off a nice little feather in your cap in your career, wouldn't you say?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It would have been a nice little feather. It would have been a big, bloody feather, I can assure you.

I got quite close. If the putt had gone in on the ninth on Sunday for an eagle, I'd have tied Tiger with nine holes to play, and who knows, you know. I didn't, and he birdied the hole and it was a two shot swing. So I got quite close and I got as close as I have for many years in a major, and it was good to show that I have not completely gone away and I'm still around. It was quite good to have that feeling again, you know, to be in contention, which is what we always want to be.

Q. Vijay was just in here and he has had such a great run of play since the start of 2004, yet at times it seems there can be a hesitation by the public to embrace him. I'm wondering why you think that might be?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I don't know. I think it's not I think to answer that question, it's not just him that's not embraced. I think Retief might feel that way. I think Ernie Els might feel that way, as well. I think it's just the dominance of Tiger on and off the course, I believe, his personality and his charisma are so strong on and off the course that it tends to feel that others aren't getting a look in, if you like. I don't think it's against them; I think it's more the fact that Tiger is who he is. Good answer, that (laughter).

JULIUS MASON: That was a good answer.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Right, more good questions, and I can give you more good answers (laughter).

Q. We're coming on the 75th anniversary of Bobby Jones' Grand Slam. What do you think of his accomplishments and are things that he's done that you think could never be matched?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, we have someone that I actually believe, someone who holds four major championships at the same time. Whether it will be in the same year or not, he won four in a row, and I would say that was a Grand Slam in anyone's reckoning. So we have someone in our era, and we're very lucky to have that person in our era achieve that goal. I think he's emulated Bobby Jones in every way.

Q. Can you speak to, please, the par 5, par 5 finish, its uniqueness here at this golf course, and also sort of the strategy, the potential that that offers?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, we have a course in England, Wentworth, that finishes with two par 5s. And it does change the way that people play the last obviously the last of the five holes. Coming into that 17th hole at Wentworth, we've seen it so many times in our PGA Championship and also the World Match Play that things change dramatically with two par 5s to come. There are more chance of eagles and bogeys happening.

So it will be interesting, you play 16 holes waiting for a par 5 to come and the bloody thing is 650 yards long. It's as difficult as any.

We look forward to the two par 5s in thinking that there are chances of a couple of late birdies possibly, and if you're 3 or 4 over or whatever having a sort of poor day, you can make it into a not so bad one and give yourself confidence for the next morning.

So it's a long wait, but it's a wait that might be a plus for some players, and obviously if they try too much, it can be negative are for others. It's actually quite a good finish, I like it.

Q. Can you tell us what was the longest club you had to hit into a par 4 for your second shot yesterday and if you feel that length is far and away the main asset in this particular major championship?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Length is becoming a big, big issue, isn't it? Everywhere seems to be lengthening every course we go back to. We haven't been here for, what, say 12 years, and I don't remember this course at all being as long as it is. I think the length now is outdoing technology. However, probably over the 18 holes, I'm probably 100 yards longer than, say, my 18 holes of golf, and this course is 300 yards, so I've lost 200 somewhere. Technology has given me 100 yards, but this has taken away another 200.

So it is very much longer. Iron shots are longer coming into greens, of course they are not stopping as quickly. And what we have found is that pin positions are much, much harder. The location of the pin is much more towards the edges of the greens than it ever was before. So therefore scoring is probably not as good as it was.

But these are major championships and we want to be tested in a major way, and we certainly are this week, and you know, I hear The Masters again has gone even longer, Augusta, so it's amazing how things are changing. Some, as I say, for the good, and some not. This is to be seen, but I was hitting 3 irons into 3 , 4 , 5 irons into a lot of the holes and that's enough. Or a good drive to hit a 3 iron into a par 4 now, you know, 505 yards was always a chance of a birdie as a par 5, now it's an obvious chance of a bogey.

Q. Your previous near misses in the majors came before Tiger's period of dominance.


Q. As well as taking a bit of encouragement from St. Andrews, would it give you a lot more pleasure if you could knock one over in the era when he is No. 1?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, it would give anybody a lot of delight to beat him in any competition, especially a major. Majors have become a lot tougher since he emerged in 1997. They have become a lot, lot harder to win, and he seems to be able to cope with the different pressures more than anyone in our generation.

You know, earlier on, '94, '95, I was competing against Ernie and Phil Mickelson and Greg Norman, that sort of player. Now there's one name that springs to mind very, very much, and it's one Mr. Woods.

So it will be interesting to see how he gets on here. He's still got to hit the fairways, he's still got to do the job at hand, and he knows that more than anyone. There's still a lot going on, and I know if I put four good rounds together, four 68s together, for instance, you have a great opportunity of winning.

So I'm capable of doing that, it's just a matter of going out and trying to prove it.

Q. There was some thought that because of the length of the golf course that maybe only 10 to 12 players are capable of winning here.


Q. Vijay disputed that, and he said that there are maybe 10 or 12 players that cannot win here because the course is eminently playable and you could actually hit the greens from the rough. I'm wondering where you fall in on that.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, I feel it could be the opposite. I think it's the players that are going to put the ball in play that are going to win around here. Everyone in the field is capable of hitting all the par 4s in two shots. Now, if that wasn't the case, yes, I'd agree with your statement.

Everyone in the field is capable of hitting every par 4 in two. Until that time comes where I cannot physically hit in two shots the par 4s, then length becomes the issue. So the ten people that can't win the tournament are the ten crookedest drivers out here, right. They are the ten that can't win. We all can cope with hitting the greens from the fairway.

Q. Despite great, great success in the Ryder Cup, Europeans have struggled in majors recently. Why do you think that is?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I can't answer that. I think we've all had a look at that and put everything together and come up with nothing.

I think that we just have to put it down to coincidence that it hasn't happened for awhile. We have top players in Sergio and Padraig Harrington and Darren I suppose and Luke Donald now just coming into the fore, but none in a worldwide dominance type of force, and it has been more difficult over the years since Tiger has been around. There is that factor. I think it's just purely coincidence that it has not happened, and let's hope it finishes sooner than later.

Q. Certainly you would be counted with past performance among that group of players who can find a lot of fairways on a course setup like this, but you mentioned that you picked up 100 yards or so through technology. With that advent of technology, have you had to sacrifice anything accuracy wise, or is that affected, that end of it?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I think some players have that hit the ball that far, if you like. I've gained over the years I'm hitting the ball further now than I ever did before in my 20s. I'm hitting the ball say ten yards further possibly off the tee, and I haven't found any accuracy difficulties in that. Some players have that have found another 30 yards, say, and then the accuracy begins to become a problem. I've found ten yards more, which is fine, and can cope with the accuracy in that the further one hits the ball, obviously the less accurate it becomes. I don't find a problem about trying to hit the fairways. No, the ball is not I'm not losing controlling of the ball, if you like.

Q. Is that somewhat by design? Could you get another 20 yards if you wanted to through some combination, or you don't do it because you don't want to sacrifice accuracy?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, this is the next thing. You know, do I, do I want to hit the ball 20 yards further in the rough, or do I want to be 20 yards back in the fairway? Well, I'll take 20 yards back in the fairway every day. Every day.

Q. Before St. Andrews, was there ever a time in the past few years where you thought your chances might have gone in the majors?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, you think that, really. I have to be honest with you and say yes, really. I think there almost was, and it's nice to know that in a career that sort of 15, 16 years at a certain level in the game of golf, the top level, that it can come back after five years that haven't really haven't really been in contention. So it's nice to know that it's possible to come back from that.

But the last four years, possibly not. I knew I had a couple of chances to get into contention, and that's given me hope to be in contention again sometime, whether it be this week or whether it be the next majors down the road. Give me a chance to be in contention for majors and see what happens. It will be a small feather in my cap if I can actually win one. Big feathers (laughter).

Q. Enough with the feathers, let's go to something smaller. Jack Nicklaus was in here awhile ago talking about the technology, and he said the main problem might be in the golf ball, that it might have to be scaled back. Do you agree with that? Would you be in favor of that?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Totally. I've said that for years; our technology is 20 percent the club and 80 percent the ball. Totally.

Q. When you say that you are one of those that would prefer to be 20 yards further back but in the fairway every time, do you think you're in the majority of today's top pros?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I don't know, I haven't really spoken to many. That's my objective to do whenever I tee off is to hit the fairway. That's why they cut them for you (laughter).

I don't really I don't know what other players there's some players I know have a view that will just rip this as far down there as possible, and it's going to go off anyway, so it might as well be a lot closer to the green than it is. I don't have that view. I've never had that view. I've always had the view of it's a lot easier to control the next shot from the fairway, however long it is. I'd rather have a 5 iron from the fairway into a green than a wedge shot from deep rough.

Now, we're talking 100 yards back, but I'd rather have that shot. I'd get inside the guy with the wedge a lot more often than he would me.

JULIUS MASON: Colin Montgomerie, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much for coming down and joining us today.

End of FastScripts.

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