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July 16, 2005

Colin Montgomerie


STEWART McDOUGALL: Colin, that was a great three on the 18th. That must have given you a lift at that stage.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It was a great three on. I can't hit a putt that hard. It was a mistake. I should have hit a 7 iron pitch and run. I hit it that hard it had back spin on it. I got the next one, which was vital for me. And it was just one less shot that I have to find tomorrow, really, the closer I can get to Tiger, obviously. But I gained one shot today and I was at 4. And I've got to gain another three at least tomorrow. I feel I'm playing well enough tee to green, I just didn't hit my putts hard enough today. And I will tomorrow.

Q. Shortly after the round in the TV corral, you talked about Tiger not being bulletproof and how that showed today. Can you expand on that? And you talked yesterday about hoping he stuttered a little bit. Do you feel that that occurred today?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: A couple of drives out there that obviously he wouldn't be happy with, either, the one at the 6th and the one at the 9th. He had two penalty drops in his score. So that's what I was saying, really. But I know, as well as everyone else knows in this field, that Tiger has probably had his hiccup today, and he got around under par because the later starters, as well, had the most difficult of the conditions.

The wind picked up. It came right across the course. All of a sudden there was no hole that was straight in or straight down. It was across us all the time and it was very, very difficult out there. The course dried out considerably, and it was very difficult to get the ball close to any pin. So we had the toughest of the conditions and our scores sort of proved that, because I played quite well for just scoring 2 under, I did, and nothing much went wrong. It's difficult to get the ball close to the hole to make birdie putts.

Q. Despite the fact that it was windy, you looked as though you were really enjoying it out there and enjoying the battle with Tiger.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I enjoyed the competition, yes. I am a competitive person and I enjoy the competition. And I enjoyed the competition today. It was a challenge for me. In the third round of majors before that I've been in contention, a few lately, not the '94 and '97 stuff, but a few lately, I sort of haven't quite performed to my ability, and today I did okay.

As I say, I've gained one out of the four shots I need. I've got to find another three tomorrow. And rest assured I will not leave that's the goal tomorrow, not leave any putt short of the hole. I've got an opportunity here to win a major and I can't afford to leave any putt short.

Q. You were given a standing ovation at one of the grandstands. Was that a pleasant surprise?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: You obviously weren't there. It wasn't just one of the grandstands. There were about 15 grandstands out there and it was a standing ovation on every one of them. It was quite an unbelievable situation to find myself in here. The crowds have been quite fantastic. I'd like to do well for them tomorrow, especially. It would be fantastic if we could get through this together. It would be great.

Q. Why did you leave so many putts short?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Why? Well, if we knew that I wouldn't I think the greens looked an awful lot quicker than they actually are on the surface and there's a bit of grain on them. And I'm sure they do grow towards the end of the day. And Tiger and I were just slightly short on a number of putts. But I've got to follow through. I've always had a problem the last couple of years to follow through. I've been a little bit hesitant, possibly, on my putting, and I've got to get the ball to the hole. And I have difficulty doing that. Yesterday I managed it and today was half and half.

Q. Obviously you've had a good tournament up to now and it's kind of sitting right in front of you. Can you talk about the importance of winning a major for you? Obviously you were even close a number of times and maybe many people thought your prime was over, but now you've had a bit of resurgence. Can you talk about the importance if you were able to break through?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I can't really talk about that right now. You'll have to speak to me tomorrow evening if that all goes according to plan, really. I can't talk about that right now. I've been close in majors a number of times in the '90s.

And 2001 was a great opportunity for me at Lytham and I didn't take that forward. And let's hope tomorrow I can get off to a decent start, to be a couple under after 5 or something and get to 11 and put some type of pressure on Tiger. Who knows. Who knows what can happen. There's a 7 mile walk out there tomorrow and there's a lot of bounces that can take place in or out or around or up and down. So there's a lot that can go on tomorrow and I just hope that I can play probably I need to score 66 to beat Tiger by a minimum three. So I've given myself a chance. If I can score 66 around here I have a chance, and that's the aim tomorrow.

Q. In terms of the putts Tiger had at 16, 17 and 18, the little one he made at 16, the 10 footer at 17, the lag at 18, how important were they in terms of momentum and eliminating some people on the leaderboard?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, yeah, I suppose so, eliminating those a little bit behind us, probably. The putt on 16 was very good because he made a couple of errors. His second shot and third shot were a couple of errors and he did well to make 5 there.

17 is always a tricky green to read and he holed a good putt there. And he had a fantastic putt at the last. I gave him a bit of a line, but I was about 30 foot, 35 foot short and he hit it absolutely stiff, which was a fantastic putt at the last because it's not easy from there. It's very, very slow up there, I just proved it to him. So he's eliminated a number of people, because if those 3 putts hadn't gone, well then it's a different ballgame. He's still leading, he's still leading by 2 he's leading by, and anything can happen. It's a 7 mile walk tomorrow and he's obviously favorite as he started the tournament. He copes with the pressure and the situation around him, being Tiger Woods, incredibly well. And if he does win this again it's an amazing effort.

Q. Can you tell us what it feels like to walk on the fairways with the galleries supporting you the way they do?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Unbelievable, really. There's no words can describe how you feel, really. It's so exciting and so lovely to feel the warmth of support, I suppose, from a whole nation, if you like, because golf is our national sport here. It might not be in your country, but you have the three major sports, I suppose. But golf is, in this country, it's our national sport, really. And it's fantastic to play here in front of that crowd at St. Andrews. It is quite unbelievable to come up the last hole that way and to finish the way I did, it was fantastic.

Q. Just to follow on that thought, where does this course and this town rank for you in your golf travels?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: The town itself, I don't know whether you know, it's a very old university town, the third oldest university in the country after Oxford and Cambridge. It's a fantastic town. It's a lovely place to be, visit, never mind if you're not even a golfer. This is a very special place.

As I said, I've been coming here for the last 17 years as a pro to play in the Dunhill Cup and the Dunhill Links and in three Opens I've played here, so it is a very special place. I enjoy coming here every time I do.

Q. Is there any more pressure on you because of all the attention with the fans? Is that strictly support?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, that's strictly support. There's no more pressure they put on me. They're only helping me. I felt that ball at the last hole willing into the hole and it somehow got there, I thought it was short. It managed to trickle in the left hand edge. I felt the crowd were almost helping that one in. It was fantastic.

Q. Have you been with Tiger in a two ball before in a major championship?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Not many have (laughter). Have I? I don't know. Augusta in '97 I didn't, nobody did that. No, I don't think I have, no. And there's a few you have 150 players up here and they'll give you the same answer.

Q. You talked the last few years about how deflating missing the putt at Lytham on Friday was because of your weekend. What does the putt you made today, what kind of mindset does that give you? What were you feeling after that putt went in?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: That's given me as I said, it's one less shot I have to find tomorrow. And it's given me huge confidence knowing that I can do it in that situation. It's very easy to miss that and walk on and very easy to sort of lag up and do that. But I made sure that I got the ball to the hole and got the right line and it went in. It was super confidence boosting for me. It's one less shot I have to find out there somewhere tomorrow.

STEWART McDOUGALL: Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts.

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