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April 20, 2005

Colin Montgomerie


SCOTT CROCKETT: Colin, it's a pleasure, as always, to welcome you.


SCOTT CROCKETT: It was a big day yesterday with the announcement at The Great Wall, the announcement of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, and you're now the chairman. Can you could speak about that, the honor that is, and also this week playing in the Johnnie Walker Classic?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I'll start off -- I'll translate into Mandarin, it's no problem. I'll start off with the Johnnie Walker Classic here first. It's my second time to Pine Valley Country Club here, and I'd enjoy playing here if it wasn't so windy. As much as all of the other players, look forward to playing this week.

The course is excellent and we have a very, very strong field, I think one of the strongest fields that's been assembled in Asia for any event, and we look forward to playing.

As regards the Diageo Championship, now being rebranded as the Johnnie Walker Championship, it is a great honor for me to be announced as the chairman of that event. And hopefully I can contribute in many ways on and off the course to try and make that event one of the best and most popular on the Tour.

Q. What exactly is the role of chairman?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I would like to think of it very similar as the role of Bernhard Langer at the Linde German Masters. I believe something similar in that vein that can help with bringing in sponsors, to bringing in my expertise within the Pro-Am situation, with bringing in certain players from abroad, and generally aiding the tournament as to what players might think could help the event in some ways.

And I could be the liaison between the players and the organizers of the event. We all know what Gleneagles was back when I started playing in the late 80s, early 90s at the Bell�s Scottish Open and what a marvelous event that was, and everyone look forward to playing in that event. And hopefully we can get the Johnnie Walker Championship as it is now up to that level of excitement for the European Tour.

Q. I know we are here for the Johnnie Walker Classic this week, but will you be speaking to any of the players that are playing here this week to compete at Gleneagles?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I will, definitely, yes. I hope to be able to use whatever skill and power I have in the game to actually help to increase the level of so-called star players and bring them to Gleneagles to participate. We have good prize money. It's a fantastic estate as we know, and hopefully we can, as I say, to get this event back to the levels of the early 90s, which I'm sure we can do; up until, of course, and building up for the 2014 Ryder Cup which is held at that venue.

Q. A question about competing here in China this week. How important and how beneficial has it been to your career to compete around the globe? I know you've done it a lot just recently, but you've always fancied yourself as a world player.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I think it's important to have traveled and it's a great education traveling anyway. Apart from that, I enjoy traveling around. I enjoy the art of it and the act of it very much. I've been around a lot this year because circumstances have dictated that. I've had to to try and make up some ground, some lost ground that happened last year.

So I've got to try to make up ground and I've done that and here we are again, again to make up lost ground. This is a big tournament world points-wise. It's Asia's premiere golf event here, and lots of world points available, so I would like to take home as many of them as possible.

Q. You have a lot of achievements, including seven years straight of winning the Order of Merit in Europe, do you get a lot of help from your mental coach or do you have a mental coach?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: A good question, my mental coach. Yes, I have someone that I talk to on a regular basis, and I have done so since 1993. So he's been with me for 12 years now. He's been invaluable into giving me, when I have a little bit of self-doubt, I suppose; he prevents that from taking over and he's been very helpful.

Q. How regularly do you talk to him?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Oh, nearly every day.

Q. We know you're very famous in China and you're one of the favorite golf players among Chinese audience, can you say some words to the Chinese audience, TV audience?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: To all of the Chinese viewers and listeners, I would like to wish them every success in their golf, and hopefully they can find opportunity to play this wonderful game and when they do, work hard and you never know, you might be able to turn pro one day. Thank you. That was different.

Q. You have been to China several times. What do you think of the media from China, and was that your closest encounter with a Chinese journalist?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, by far, yes. Coming to China is always an experience. I've been here many times. I have many golf course design projects here in China, and so have been a few times before, and of course will be coming here many times in the future. I always enjoy -- I enjoy the different questions and the different types of questions and different acts of questions that appear.

Q. These conditions, hopefully they will peter out by tomorrow, but no one really likes playing in these conditions obviously. With yourself, you've had plenty of experience at links courses and very high winds; would you consider you might have an edge over some of the other players in these conditions?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, good question. I think I've been quite fortunate tomorrow in that I'm starting in the afternoon, and I think the morning, as it proved this morning to be very, very cold and quite windy, which tomorrow morning is the forecast. Hopefully, you never know, but we think the afternoon times will be better, slightly warmer and the wind dying off during the day.

It is very difficult, very cold. We've been playing in some warmer climates. I've been in Phuket the last the last three days doing a charity skins game and it was 39, 40 degrees and now you come here and it's cool, it's a dramatic difference. Hopefully it can peter out, as you say. This wind, it's no fun for anybody, players or spectators alike. Hopefully tomorrow it will be slightly better, and fingers crossed, I've got a lucky draw.

Q. Two-part question, please.


Q. We know how much you tried to get into Augusta.


Q. Did you force yourself to watch coverage of the Masters?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Did I watch the Masters? Yes, I did watch the Masters, as I do. I watch most of sport to learn, actually, to watch certain shots and to watch how people pass and fail, I suppose. You know, it's interesting watching other sportsmen perform and it was having to see Tiger and how he performed and how Chris DiMarco performed so well.

So, yes, I did watch. The last two days I did, yeah. The first two days, I don't know what happened; it was all raining and it was a mess.

Q. Second part was, you also were trying to get yourself into the U.S. Open at Pinehurst.


Q. When does that become a forefront priority?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I have five events to try and gain three spots. I'm 53rd, I believe, in the world and I've got to get into the Top-50 by the end of the PGA at Wentworth. So I've got this week, I've got next week, I've got the British Masters and I've got the Irish Open, and then the BMW Championship at Wentworth. So I've got five events to gain three spots. I think I can do that.

Q. What do you think will be the biggest challenge for you in this tournament, the weather or the course or other players?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: The biggest challenge is always the course, okay, because I'm playing my own ball, all right. If this was a match-play tournament, the biggest challenge would be my opponent for that day. But because it's not, because it's a stroke-play event, the biggest challenge for me is the course. If I'm after the course, I'm after the tournament.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Colin, many thanks as always, and good luck in the tournament.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts.

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