home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


July 13, 2004

Colin Montgomerie


STEWART McDOUGALL: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Colin Montgomerie. You're back in your hometown. How does it feel to play in The Open once again?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It's a delight to play in The Open once again. I thought back in June that I wasn't going to be playing at all, so it's a delight to be here in the first place. It would have been a shame to go down the road back to London after Loch Lomond and miss this event. So it's a delight that I'm here in the first place. And I will do my utmost to do as well as I can.

Q. One of the members yesterday described the 8th to me as the wee beastie, is it apt?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It's apt. It's a hole you're going to get through. There's certain holes in world golf that spring to mind. The 12th at Augusta and the 7th at Pebble Beach is another, and the 8th at Troon springs to mind, as well, and you can run up a big score in a hurry there if you're not careful. So you've got to be very, very careful and treat that little hole with an awful lot of respect.

Q. If the 8th is the wee beastie, what is the 11th?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: That's a very long beastie. In fact from the 10th tee onwards it's a long way home. I played last night, and I wouldn't say it was a wind, it was a stiff breeze, I suppose, and apart from the 12th I hit no shorter club than a 4-iron into any of the par 4's or par 3's. So it's a very long way home. And that's with the course running quite firm right now. So it's a very long way home and one of the toughest, if not the toughest, back nine we have in this championship, and it's one of these courses that you make your score on the way out and you hang on on the way home. If you don't make it on the way out you're in trouble.

Q. What did you hit on 11?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: 11 was 2-wood.

Q. Did you get up?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I got up, yeah.

Q. You said on Sunday that it was the most relaxed you've been before a Troon open.


Q. Now that you're here, how do you feel?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Very relaxed, really. A little bit of tension on me, but that's okay. I can handle that. And it's nice to be here, really, I suppose, and I'm going out there with less expectation than I have had in Opens in the past, especially here when I came here in '97. Of course I was sort of No. 1 in Europe, and I was one of the favorites to win. This year I'm not one of the favorites to win, although we've had some nonfavorites winning this tournament before. So who knows. Who knows. I'm 80-to-1 this week, so we're Greece, so it's interesting. For the American cousins, that's a soccer term, and the underdogs won, so we'll see how that goes.

Q. Colin, as a Troon man, myself, I know the whole time you look behind you, would the hometown support help with a couple of shots?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Could well, if it's channeled in the right direction by myself, it well could be. Sometimes it's difficult to play with a popular home support, if you like. But I don't find that, I haven't in the past and I look forward to that support. And yes, you never know, it could help a couple of putts just go in, you never know. And if it does, we'll see. But I'm looking forward to that support come Thursday through Sunday and therefore look forward to the whole week, yeah.

Q. Is it fair to say you've played this course more than anybody else in the field and how often -- how many times have you played it, would you say, in a round number?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I've definitely played this course more than anyone else in the field. I'm the only member playing, I think. I don't know how many times one plays a golf course. Hundreds and hundreds of times, I suppose, yeah.

Q. Since what age?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: When I was allowed to come on here. They have certain rules here (laughter). But we don't want to get into that. 16 was my first time allowed to play. You're not allowed to play under 16.

Q. Did you play before you were 16?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, I didn't, I wasn't allowed to (laughter). So hundreds of times, yes.

Q. Two hundred, three hundred?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Difficult to say, hundreds. But, yes I've played this course more than anyone else in the field. So therefore have an advantage to that degree. Is it such an advantage? I don't know. It's the same for everybody come Thursday, I suppose. I just know some lines on holes. But after three or four days practice nowadays we tend to figure out where not to go and what to do, and I know that so as much as anybody. It doesn't give me that much of an advantage. The biggest thing for me is the home support.

Q. Did you ever sneak on and were you ever chased off the course by the secretary or anybody else?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, the previous secretary was a real hard nut. But, no, no, not at all. You never break rules around these type of places, and I wasn't prepared to do it either. So, no, not at all. I had to wait until 16 before I was able to play.

Q. Could you just revisit the qualifying experience after all those years --


Q. -- of exempting your way in? You look back on a couple of weeks ago and having to go through that pressure and having to handle it and now that you're here how you feel about it?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It was an event I wasn't looking forward to, to be honest, but I must admit in all credit to the R&A for setting, one, the course, I thought the course was perfect, the Sunnydale course was perfect, the two courses back-to-back in the day, I thought it was well run and very well organized and a much bigger event than I anticipated. I didn't anticipate there was 50-odd winners, international winners, and it was difficult to qualify. And having to go through the playoff situation to get here in the first place was amazing. But we finished at 9:30 that night. And we started at, what was it, 6:00, 6:30, it was a long, long day. But it was worth it to be here. I was in the same boat, Andrew Oldcorn, and how he had to qualify, because they changed the rules.

I won the PGA in 2000 and had a five-year exemption, and felt I was in this tournament, as well, and that has not been picked up at all by any of you, it was Andrew Oldcorn. I was in exactly the same boat as him with a five-year exemption and they changed the rules. I think I actually voted for it, so that was okay. Thinking I was going to be in this championship for the duration, found myself out of it. But if I have to qualify again for this championship I will do it. And I would have done for the U.S. Open, as well. I had a commitment to play in the Scottish championship up at Glen Eagles and couldn't go over to the U.S. Open qualifying or else would have done, as well.

Q. You seem to have made a very significant emotional journey over the last few months in which at the Deutsch Bank we saw you as low as I've personally seen you. Over the last few days since your qualification through Sunnydale you now seem to be at a peak. Could you describe sort of the emotional journey you've taken and how do you use it or guard against it on the golf course?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Very good question. I think I wouldn't say I was at a peak, but at the same time I'm a lot better than I was. I think time is a healer and you get on with things and that's what I've got to do. I think the more I played -- I played an awful lot of golf over this time, I played every tournament I entered for and tried to do, and I think that's good for me, to put my heart and soul in my golf and concentrate on that. And Sunnydale was a big day for me, actually, it was the first decent thing that happened to me on a golf course for a long time. And that was a big day for me and I feel that I've relaxed since then. I think you're right there and can go on.

And I had a decent sort of tournament in Loch Lomond. The third round didn't work out. Three scores in the 60s is okay, and the game is okay, and I can relax coming in here knowing that I'm playing okay, and therefore look forward to it. But a good question.

Q. This may not be quite as good a question.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Please, John, well, next question, please (laughter).

Q. I don't need to say much other than the Thomas Bjorn thing. Give us your feelings. You've been pared with a man with whom it's a matter of record that things have happened in the last year twice. You're in such a good frame of mind, I'm sure you can give us a very good answer.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I'm going to give you a very good answer.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Thomas and I had dinner last night for the nth time since we had a dispute in Bangkok at the start of the year. We had a laugh and joke last night. And if we were to speak to Thomas, and I think he's coming in later on, and I think he would say there's been no contradiction at all. That story is for you to write about and for us to get on with the golf. I'm sorry, that's a very poor answer, really. You were looking for more, weren't you?

Q. Not me.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, I think that's -- there's far too much going on on Thursday, Friday to worry about really who you're playing with. I've just got to get on with my own game and focus on what I'm doing. And as I said, to I think -- I think I found -- someone from the press told me the draw and I said fine, and I remain that way. It's a quieter draw for me. I don't have any sort of top five in the world players to play with. It's a quieter draw that way, but at the same time I look forward -- as always, I try the first two days to be ahead of my playing partners, and that's the goal that I will take into Thursday and Friday to be ahead of Thomas and also Frank.

Q. When you say you had dinner together last night, I take it that wasn't just the two of you?


Q. Do you mean that you were in the same restaurant, the same room (laughter)? Did you actually have it at the same table?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, it's like having dinner with the Queen , you and another five hundred guests (laughter). If you have had, John, I don't know. I can speak from experience (laughter). We were in the same room and we did converse a lot.

Q. Thank you very much.

Can you talk about the adjustment in having to lower your expectations, and at this point in your career what do you think you're capable of doing this week?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I tell you what, if I was capable of finishing 10th here I wouldn't be here, right, I've said that many times. And the day will come when all I can do is expect to finish in the top ten, well, I won't be here. The reason I'm here is because I think I can still win. And that's why I'm here. That's why I entered, that's why I qualified because I feel that I can still win. If I didn't feel that way I wouldn't be here. So although my expectations are lower personally than they were, say, in '97, having been one of the favorites, I still feel deep down there's an opportunity to be here. And that goes for any tournament I enter.

Q. In the states, Phil Mickelson has made a huge breakthrough in his career, everyone is going crazy for him in America. Do you draw any sort of inspiration from that or do you have any feeling about how his career has changed and sympathy for it?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I think that over the years he came so close to winning majors and I've seen many times when he's been in that position and been unfortunate, unfortunate that someone else performed better on the day or unfortunate that he hadn't, if you like, and it works both ways. And he's come here having finished first and second in the first two majors, a fantastic performance. And obviously one of the real favorites here. And all credit to him. It had to change some time. He's too good a player not to have won majors. And of course so was Mark O'Meara and he won two. It's like waiting for a bus. They don't turn up, and then two show up at the same time. And it was almost like Phil Mickelson, very nearly waited all his career to win a major, and almost won two in a row, which is incredible nowadays with the competition around. So all credit to him. And obviously one of the favorites here, if not the favorite.

Q. At 80-to-1, are you going to put some money on yourself?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, I don't gamble at all, really. So, no, I don't put money on myself at 80-to-1. The first check is enough to cope with that.

Q. Do you have your own theory on why it's been such a lean period for Europeans recently?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I think it's timing, really. We're going through a bad spell, people recover and times recover. I think that it just so happens that the domination is for the rest of the world right now as opposed to Europe. We had a domination back in the '80s, I suppose, and early '90s, but it seems to have dried up slightly and that will come back. That will come back. It's just a matter of when and how. But we just go through a bit of a dry spell right now. It doesn't change anything, it just so happens that this week it might change.

Q. But players seem to get inspired at Ryder Cups. Are they not in the majors at the moment? Would you agree with that?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: The Ryder Cup is a whole different ballgame. It's like playing tennis on grass court to clay court. We all think how good Federer is, but he didn't win. It's all different circumstances. Forget the Ryder Cup. This is a four-round stroke-play event on a very fair golf course. And we feel the best player of the week, the best striker of the ball, you know, will win here. This course has been set up very, very fair, and we're looking forward to the challenge of it. The Ryder Cup is a different ballgame. You've got 12 guys, 11 guys behind you, if you like. If I fail, I don't have 11 supporters behind me if I fail. It's a whole different game.

Q. Returning to the draw just for a second, given the fact that yourself and Thomas and Frank have all had the ability in the past to, shall we say, get down on yourselves --

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Is that an ability?

Q. Not an ability, a capacity, shall we say. Do you think that's a threesome that photographers should flock to or stay away from?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, with my affiliation here at Troon, I consider there will be a few more photographer come Thursday morning than normal, and Friday evening, I suppose. But as I said earlier, we'll all be so focused on what we're doing that that won't be interrupting, and all the photographer are very professional people and will respect when someone else is playing and whenever. So there's no problem there. That's something for you to make a story of and for us to get on with.

Q. If you didn't play here before you were 16, where did you play?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Okay, good, well, the practice ground where officially the children's course is just behind has a rather large exhibition tent on it and that's where I played up until the age of about 12. And then I moved on to the Troon Portland course, which is the practice ground area, which is actually the ladies club here. And you were allowed to play there before 16. And then you transferred on to the main course, the old course we all call it.

Q. Did you play the municipal courses in town?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, I didn't, really, no.

Q. Is it correct that you were standing around the green when Gene Sarazen got a hole in one?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, I wasn't. I was here, but I wasn't standing around the green, no. That was my first event here. I was ten. Ages me slightly, doesn't it?

STEWART McDOUGALL: Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts.

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297