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August 26, 2004

Colin Montgomerie


SCOTT CROCKETT: You said to the TV there, almost no bogeys is as good as the eagle and the birdies, but it was a Montgomerie round of old almost.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, I always pride myself on the fact that I don't make bogeys, and it's quite difficult out there actually. The wind is swirling and it's heavy conditions.

What I would like to say is the course is in fantastic condition, the best in the 14 years that I've been here, and a fabulous-conditioned course.

It was nice to get off to a decent start. I did putt particularly well today. I changed the grip on my putter, on my hands, and it seems to be working well.

You know, the main reason for this is my caddie, actually. I've always put a huge emphasis on who carries my bag around a golf course and I've missed Alastair McLean, the last sort of two years, really, I suppose. We were both quite wise never to shut the door on a sort of caddie relationship, and I was glad that I was able to call him on Sunday. He said, "Look, I'll come and help you out." He was on holiday. Came back and we shot 67. I felt very confident with him on the bag, and that was a good round of golf.

Q. What made you call him?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I suppose it's going back. We have a past together and a very successful past together. We won 25 tournaments together, I think, or 27, I think and all seven Order of Merits was Alastair. I think it was right that we got a bit stale after sort of ten and a half years together, and I think it was right we went sort off to find new ground.

But I'm delighted that he's back on the bag. I think it just gives me confidence. This whole game is based on confidence. If you think you're going to achieve something, you're halfway there. I feel very confident with Alastair there, with the clubs in my hand and my club selection and everything around the game with him, and it worked well today.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Give us the details of your birdies.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I hit a wedge into four foot. Then I hit two 3-irons. My course management is different, as well. Played differently than we would have done normally. Hit two 3-irons and a wedge and holed the putt and that was the best way to play the hole. Always been told it was the best way to play the was two irons, a wedge and a putt, making a 4 and on a par-5. 16 was a very long putt for me, about a

30-, 40-footer which was quite a bonus for there.

Now ask the questions you want to ask.

Q. First time you played with Luke Donald competitively?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I'd like to say -- yes. I'd like to say I was very, very impressed. I know he's one of the players that Bernhard Langer must be looking at as a potential wild-card.

He was very impressive today. He's under quite a lot of pressure out here to perform, and he's performing very well for a young man. Very, very impressed indeed when I was with him today.

Q. If you did have the two picks, would you relish the chance of playing with him?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Oh, well, that's down the line. Let's just wait and see. Pairings are a thing of the future. Let's wait until Sunday and find out if either of us are on the team or not.

Q. You were talking about the pressure he was feeling. Were you not feeling the same pressure?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Good question. I don't feel as much pressure as Luke Donald, no. No. I think why, because as I said, I think Bernhard knows me more and knows what I can do in that type of competition a little bit more than he does with Luke Donald. Luke Donald is a rookie, and if I was a rookie I would have to prove myself someone more than had played in six Ryder Cups before, anyways. I think that's why he was slightly under more pressure, and that's why I think his score was better on the day than mine today. He did very well today.

Q. Can you just elaborate on what was said on the phone with Alastair?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I don't know. I don't actually know. The conversation, we spent the first half an hour on the phone. I phoned him on the way to the airport on Sunday. First half an hour was talking about other things; you can imagine what it was talking about.

Then I came out, like I said, "there's a reason why I'm calling."

He said, "Yeah, I thought there might be."

He said, "Yeah, yeah, great, come on." We'll see what we can do.

Q. Luke said before you even teed off, that you said to him, "do you think we're okay," was that an ice-breaker?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No. I was thinking it was going to rain. (Laughter.)

I would never ever say that to him if I thought that, never, ever. If I said to someone on the tee, "Do you think we're okay," I meant it was going to rain or not. I would never, ever say that to him going to the first tee. I'm far too professional for that.

Q. This is the sort of round that you want in this first day of this sort of last Ryder Cup qualifying tournament?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It doesn't hurt, does it? It doesn't hurt. If I went out there and shot 78 today, you know, what's happening here? Of course it doesn't hurt. Of course there's a bit of pressure on me. Of course there has to be. And I'm delighted with scoring 67, don't get me wrong.

But at the same time, you know, I'm just now thinking about for the sponsors of this particular tournament, I'm thinking about trying to win here, all right, and then I have more of a chance of getting selected if I win here than otherwise.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Well done, Colin. Good luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts.

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