May 21, 2003
GORDON SIMPSON: What's happening today?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It's the R&BB Charity of the Blind and the Queen is the patron of that. Because my wife is on the committee of that particular charity, that I'm a guest, actually.
GORDON SIMPSON: At the Palace; is it?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It's? James Palace; not Buckingham Palace, James Palace. I've been there before.
GORDON SIMPSON: Is there a personal audience?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I think so, yes.
GORDON SIMPSON: This is today?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes.
GORDON SIMPSON: Well, here we are again, Colin. As we say, your record is exemplary, not to say probably the best of anyone in the field. What is it about Wentworth that brings the best out in you.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I don't know. I think it's the time of year I start playing quite well, actually and feel I'm playing well again. I've been on the leaderboard the last three weeks and have not finished on it. Apart from Italy I was second. I was 32 holes at Belfry and finished badly. I was -- if I had holed an 8-footer at the 6th on Sunday there, I was one off the lead. So that didn't quite happen.
So disappointing, really, to finish this way, but I'm saying that, because I'm playing better and well. So I'm looking forward, here. Obviously had a good round today. Everything is in place for a good week. So let's hope that we can have another one. There's no reason why not. I feel very confident here. People know that. I am. We'll see how we go.
GORDON SIMPSON: If you have the option, do you prefer the May conditions to the October ones? I know you've won in it in both.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I've won both. Doesn't really matter. Doesn't really matter. I don't mind either, as long as I beat my opponent in October or all 155 others here. Doesn't really matter what the conditions are.
Q. Can you understand Padraig's difference between May and October?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No. Can't understand Padraig anyway. (Laughter.) So I don't. No, I don't understand that. That's for him to decide, but I don't understand it.
Q. He said the greens are different.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, he does say that. I don't understand that, either. So I don't understand that. (Laughter.)
Q. That's clear.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Is that quite clear? Glad I made myself clear. I don't understand his decision.
Q. Do you appreciate his decision at all?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Appreciate it?
Q. In terms of looking ahead to the bigger picture of the U.S. Open, playing two weeks in America before now will help him in that particular quest.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: That's his decision. I can't say where or where not to play. I would hopefully that he would see this as a bigger picture, this tournament as a bigger picture, as a big picture.
Q. In the future?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: In the future. Not having won here, you know. I would think he would have wanted to have tried to win this tournament, and it's a shame that he's not here.
Q. Having won here yourself --
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, a number of times, actually. (Laughter.) Just thought I'd get that in.
Q. Would you consider in a quest for a major pulling out of the European Tour?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No.
Q. Even with a victory?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No. I will always play here if invited to. If qualified to do so, will always enter here, yes. Yes, there's certain tournaments that I feel that I enter, TPC in America is one of them, the Volvo PGA is another and the four majors. The U.S. Open is a few weeks away, so there's certain tournaments that I'd like to try and enter every year, provided that I'm qualified for, obviously, and this is one of them.
Q. He's had his ear bashed on this subject.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Has he?
Q. By several people, yes. Have you spoken to him about it?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, I haven't spoken to him. I've always left the club before he's finished. (Laughter.)
No, I haven't spoken to him about the situation. Not at all.
GORDON SIMPSON: You feel much more at ease with yourself, obviously, than you were the first couple of months of the year.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Obviously, I had a very poor start to the year and recovering, but it takes time. I'm just coming too a good spell here, so I'm looking forward to this week and to the Wales open next week and a week off before the U.S. Open. That's my preparation. If someone want to prepare differently, we are all entitled to do what we want to do. We are all self-employed and we have options, which is very fortunate. He's taken that option. It might pay off. We'll see.
Q. Do you feel you need to make a statement in terms of, "I'm still around, guys." Has that come into your head at all, in terms of winning this week?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Why do you ask that? Do you feel you're asking that question yourselves?
Q. Not particularly. But you always talk about being on the leaderboard and everyone else knows that Monty is there, and especially here.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Especially here, yes. I don't have to prove myself, no. I'm not out to -- I'm not out to have to prove myself in this event. Hopefully I've done that. No one has ever won this three times in a row and that's been done; second again last year and what have you. So I don't have to prove myself here at all. I would just like to obviously win for the sake of winning. Whether it's this week or next week, but it would obviously be great if it was this. But I don't feel I have to prove myself or I have to owe it to myself to actually get on the leaderboard and stay there, no. But I look forward to this event.
Q. Do you feel you're still the man to beat here?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes.
Q. Even with Ernie starting the year so well?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Oh, sure, but Ernie's a great player and it's a very strong field. I'm sure if you ask the other players, I'm sure that would be the same -- you'd get the same reply an awful lot.
Q. Do you come here expecting to win?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I would expect to be speaking to you here on Sunday.
Q. This is the one you have more confidence around than any other tournament of the year?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes.
Q. By a long way?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Not by a long way, no. But I'm confident at Loch Lomond. I have a good record there. I enjoy playing there. I'm confident here.
I've got to be. If you're not confident, if I'm not saying that, well, I might as well not enter, you know what I mean? I'm not trying to be big-headed or boastful or anything like that. I'm just trying to say that I'm confident at doing well, and if I'm not confident, well, I shouldn't really enter.
Q. Do you find that you have to work at your confidence, keeping that confidence up, after such being a fair lot? There are golfers who have been around for a while that find their confidence begins to slip.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I think it does slip with golfers who have perform in the past that aren't now. I don't want to try to fall into that and keep that confidence as high as possible. It is difficult in some ways, but others, I don't feel I'm in that position, yet. I'll find -- I'll find I'm in that position one day, sure I will. But I don't feel I'm there yet.
Q. How do you put your finger on what went wrong at the start of the year in we saw you in December at the sponsorship deal and you really were bullish.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, very much. So I was very up about it. I got off to a particularly difficult start in missing the cut at Riviera by a shot. That threw me a bit, actually and that putt pressure on the next event, of which I lost in the first round. Then I went over to Doral and then of course the pressure is on then. I missed the cut by a couple. Then try again and, you know, it was a slippery slope, if you like and I was on that. I couldn't get off it. I made a few mistakes. I should have probably come home earlier than I had and back out again and I tried to play my way through it and tried to do the right thing and play out of it and I got sort of ground down a little bit and didn't quite get out of it.
When I got back home, I changed my irons to a set of clubs that's more like the ones I used to use and immediately finished second in Europe, so it proves the comfort levels I have over here compared to America. And, as I said, the leaderboard in the last three events. So it gives me confidence to come into this week trying to win again.
Q. Are there any positives you take out of it?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: In a way, there was some positives out of it. You learn a lot about what goes on and how to handle situations and I handled it a lot better than I would have done, say, five years ago because I had never had that position before to miss a few cuts in a row, and it was difficult.
I managed to sort of come home and learn from that and go to Italy, which was unexpected. I didn't mean to go there, really. I was added in because of my start and I did particularly well there. So that's good for the next few weeks.
Q. Would you do that again, go to the States at the beginning of the year?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No. So there's a positive. (Laughter.) Well, you asked me if I take positives out of it, that's a positive. I'm learning. Yeah, we are always learning. And I won't go again, no. Not for that length of time without a break, no.
Q. Did the Americans attitudes change towards you?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I feel that the American attitude changed towards me from the two Ryder Cups I played recently, the Brookline Ryder Cup and also The Belfry Ryder Cup. I feel that it was very much a different atmosphere when I was playing, a much nicer atmosphere to play in than I have in the past. There for I look forward to going back to the U.S. Open for a one-off week, if you like, but at the same time I've do the Denis Pugh with me, I'll have Hugh Mantle with me, as well and I look forward to go over there now. I've got my clubs set. It's taking me a little bit longer than I expected. The ball is great. My clubs are taking a little longer than I expected to get used to and now I've got the bag of clubs I want in there. There's no reason why I shouldn't be confident. There's no reason why I shouldn't be confident.
Q. You talked about the pressure of missing cuts.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes.
Q. Is saying you expect to be in on Sunday, is that putting extra pressure on yourself?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, not here. It's a whole different situation here than it is having missed three or four cuts in a row and then you come to the fifth one and that's different. You're trying to make the cut and it's like anything; if you're trying to make a 5, you'll playing a 6. If you're trying to make a 6, you'll make a 7. Look at Van de Velde, if you play for certain, you'll fail by one. That's what I was doing. To miss the TPC by one shot -- I was playing eventually to make the cut and not to win.
When I tee off here, it's a whole different -- it's a whole different mindset. I'm playing to win. That's what I need to achieve in America more than I have, but a different mindset on the first tee tomorrow afternoon, I'm playing to win. And the cut doesn't interest me, or shouldn't interest me. (Laughing).
Q. If the rules on the European Tour were so allowed, would you welcome a woman on the tee tomorrow?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Very, very good question, which is about to receive a very good answer. (Laughter.)
It's interesting that the R&A have changed the Open entry form this year. I picked up one yesterday and realised that the entries are open to male professionals or male amateurs. It didn't ever say that before. It just said professionals or amateurs. So this has changed the whole -- this has changed the wording of an entry form for the Open Championship, which is a big deal.
I feel if the European Tour so allowed, I'm sure it does allow. There's no reason why -- does it allow?
GORDON SIMPSON: Ken said yesterday that it doesn't.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, it's a silly question then.
Q. If the rules did allow?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, hell, if I'd holed a putt at Oakmont in 1994, I'd have won the U.S. Open.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Hypothetically? I wouldn't mind, no. Personally I wouldn't mind, no. I do hope that to go onto your next question, I do hope that Annika doesn't hurt herself or the LPGA. I hope she comes out unscathed and I hope their tour comes out unscathed. You talk about pressure, my God. There's pressure for you, for the whole tour. So let's hope that she comes out unscathed.
Q. How do you think she will come out?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Difficult, not having played the course and not knowing the course and the way it plays and everything, I hope she does okay. Okay meaning -- what does okay mean? Unscathed.
Q. So success would be just making the cut?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Success, what would it be, I'm not sure. That would be for opinions after Friday evening or after Sunday evening. I'm not sure. Not sure.
Q. If a sponsor came along and put up the right amount of money for to you play against Laura Davies head-to-head, would you fancy that sort of thing?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: There was something mentioned about that a few years ago when I was No. 1 and she was No. 1 and there was something about a head-to-head type of situation. It would be fine. Obviously, you'd have a lot of barracking if I lost, because you do set yourself up for that type of situation, and golf is a very difficult sport that way. But I wouldn't be adverse to that, no.
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