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December 9, 2004

Colin Montgomerie


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you Colin for joining us for a few minutes. You're in a three-way tie at the top, how do you feel.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Good, I'm delighted.

Q. You've been playing quite a bit, haven't you?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I have. I have traveled world. I've crossed the date line three times in the last month, but it's good; I play better when I'm half asleep, and I am now. I'll go back and rest now. Came from Japan and that was a nine-hour difference from London, and then I came home for half a day and I'm out here and that's eight hour's difference; that's 17; that messes you up completely. So I had two days in the rain here, which was a pleasure, and came out and God, I birdied the second hole, I couldn't believe it.

And then we got going and I got to 5-under which was good, I eagled 16th, which was good. I hit a 5-wood in to about five feet and eagled 16th. And made a big, silly mistake on the 17th, pushed an 8-iron right, and holed my putt at the last for birdie so I played quite well. 4-under is okay. Anything that equals Tiger Woods, well, it's okay.

Q. With all of the traveling you've done this year, are you surprised you're playing so well?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, I suppose. I'm getting my game back again. You know, it's been a crap year and I'm getting my game back again to a certain degree. I'm looking forward now to the start of the next three rounds I'm looking forward to and the start of 2005 to start again, yeah.

Q. Is golf keeping -- I don't want to get -- is golf keeping you busy?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, very much so. I've kept very busy for a reason, yeah, yeah. Very fortunate to be able to travel and go different places and to get away from things and very, very fortunate that golf gives you that opportunity to travel and to get away sometimes, and it's been a benefit the last six months.

Q. The holidays, is that going to be difficult?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Holidays, I don't have holidays. Holidays is a nightmare, so I'll work that one out.

Q. Also, I understand you were a little surprised to be invited here because you had not played particularly well.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I believe I'm the world's worst-ranked player here in some way. I started here about 30 and now I'm 78. I've gone down, I think you all know why, and so I'll battle my way back again.

But it's nice to have certain respect from a Mr. Woods who gives his invites out, I believe. And I got a call at the Dunhill Links when I was there saying that Tiger had invited me personally to this tournament, and it had a bit to do with the Ryder Cup, I believe. And it's nice to have respect and a feel a genuine warmth out there from the crowd. I'm enjoying playing my golf here much more than I ever have before, and I intend to play a little bit more here in the years to come.

Q. How much next year do you think?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I don't know. I don't know. But a little bit more than I have in the past.

Q. When you say here you mean in the United States?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Here, L.A., California, U.S., here. (Laughter.)

Q. After the last really major problem I can remember was McCarron a couple of years ago at the Match-Play, and since then, things seemed to have turned around, people feeling like we were wrong.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I wouldn't say that. I wouldn't say that. No one is perfect. I've had my mistakes as well, but I think the Ryder Cup has given me more respect over here, '99, 2001, and also 2004 has given me a lot of respect over here, and that's nice to have.

Q. With all you've gone through this year, getting the invite, like you said, having someone like Tiger show you some respect, does it make you feel even a little better this year because of all the stuff you've gone through?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, in a way, of course, it makes you feel good. Your confidence goes up a little bit, yeah. And I wanted to not just come here and play, but I wanted to come here and compete, yeah.

So it's nice I got a 67 on the board and it's only a start, but at the same time, you know, it's a reasonable one and I can hopefully build from that.

Q. Would you consider playing here full-time?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No. My home is in Europe and I've always been there. I wouldn't play here full-time. I would just like to play a little bit more over here.

Q. Before the majors?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, I'm not saying I would be full I'm over here, but it's nice to feel a warmth when you are here.

Q. From the time you first played at Pebble in '92, were you ever attempted to at least play one year here full-time?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I was tempted back in about '95, '96 when I was No. 2 in the world, '96, '97, to Greg, and I was tempted to come over here then. But I made a decision then for family reasons that I would stay in Europe.

Q. And in relation to golf in the last couple of years, going down to 70 whatever it is --


Q. When what would you say is the primary cause, just holing putts or -- was that funny?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: The primary course for me sliding down the Order of Merit was getting divorced, okay. Obviously you don't have that emotion in your game, but when you are playing out in public, it's very, very difficult to concentrate on what one's doing. So that's why I've dropped 40 spots in the world and I intend to get that back in hurry.

Q. I didn't mean to belittle that, but I was talking primarily also from the past maybe two, three, four years, doesn't seem like --

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: If I remained No. 1 in Europe, you know, now, still that would have been, what, 11 years now. You know everything has to come to an end at some stage I suppose. Had you Muhammad Ali would still be world champion, I suppose wouldn't he? Everything has to come to an end at some stage. You can't stay No. 1 forever. I did it more than anyone else has done, and I was proud to do that, and of course it has to come to an end. Something has to come to an end. And that was the case then. And it's sometimes difficult to get it back, and then you try a little bit harder to get it back, and of course you know yourself and golf, if you know if you try too hard it's a Catch 22 it spirals downhill. So I've tried to get it back. I probably tried too hard, and then it all went pear-shaped in April so that aided its fall.

Q. The good news was Troon, though?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Troon was fantastic for me.

Q. It was a great week.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Whoever was there understood the warmth of the crowd towards me there. It was unbelievable what happened at the Open and that was tremendous. I only got into it in a playoff. I had fallen out of the Top-50 by that stage, and I wasn't in the Open at Troon and it was my home course; it was the last time I would ever play the Open on my home course. And you know, it was fantastic to have that warmth there, yeah.

Q. I think you played the first part of this year -- inaudible?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I won the first one, and here we are in the last one. It would be very, very pleasing indeed. But there's a lot of golf to be played. It's seven miles of golf walked every round; there's 21 miles to go and an awful lot can happen in 21 miles, believe me, an awful lot. So hopefully we can keep it going.

Q. Curious, from someone who plays the European Tour, your thoughts on what Vijay did over here, appreciation from yonder?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Of course, there's appreciation of anyone that overtook or overtakes Tiger; that we never thought would happen at least for five years, really, and had happened a lot quicker than we ever thought it was going to. Not really due to Tiger's demise, but of Vijay's fantastic play. I mean, every tournament he was entering, he was either winning or right there. It was incredible. And best of luck to him.

You know, the domination has not happened that way since the year 2000, since Tiger dominated the world of golf, and Vijay certainly has this year. It will be very interesting when Tiger comes out next year and tries to get that No. 1 spot back again, because I'm sure he feels that that's his. So it will be very interesting to see what happens.

Q. Details of the eagle?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: 3-wood and 5-wood and a putt from about eight-foot.

Q. How far was the 5-wood?


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts.

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