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November 8, 2002

Colin Montgomerie


GORDON SIMPSON: Colin, as you've said, no lead is insurmountable on this golf course.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I was actually disappointed not to hole the putt at the last to give myself a good chance, I had a 10-footer at the last and I realised watch that if I holed that I would be playing with Cabrera, and I was doing that for my own benefit to put some pressure on. At the same time I'm playing ahead of him, so some pressure there as well.

I think this tournament is benefiting, being here at Valderrama. It's a superb venue and it's a great challenge for us to come here in our own sort of TOUR Championship, if you like, the Volvo Masters.

And it's great that we are back here. We have enjoyed it over the years. We've had great success here in the Ryder Cup and it's nice to come back to a place that we know and we enjoy, and I personally do, very much. So I've always enjoyed it here.

Win, lose or draw, I've always enjoyed the challenge of playing this golf course, and it does play into my hands more than most. My course management skills come out on this course more than any. I've only hit two or three drivers every day, and it's positioning; it's not really how far you hit it, it's where you hit it. It's not how many fairways you hit; it's how many fairways on the right side of the fairway you hit. It's an amazing course and it's in great condition.

We should be looking to this course for other events on our tour. This is a standard that was set 12 years ago when we first came here and it's still the standard. It's fantastic. So I personally enjoy it, and I'm glad that I'm in a position to contend at the weekend.

GORDON SIMPSON: And it's under 7,000 yards.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: What is it, 6,845? That's short these days. Some of the holes, like the 12th at Augusta, they don't have to be long to be demanding. It just proves that you don't have to build a par-3 240 yards to make it a good one.

Q. When you say you would have liked to have played with Cabrera --


Q. Is it because with him seeing you playing well --


Q. The pressure on him is, therefore, greater --


Q. Is there any other way in which you can influence --

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: You answered your own question. (Laughing.)

Any other way I could influence that? No. Only other way I could influence when playing with him is start off with a couple of birdies.

It could also backfire and say, you know, you start off with a couple of bogeys and that would have given him confidence. But playing with him, if I start off 2-under after four or something, well, game on, because, you know, any lead around here, it can dwindle. There's potential disaster around every corner on this course, and this is the biggest lead we've had in this tournament. But who says he's going to win? Best of luck to him. He's had a great year and everything, but we don't know.

Q. How highly do you rate him?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Oh, he's a very good player. For the length of ball he hits, he's awfully straight and his chipping and putting has improved. That's what's been letting him down. He's always been a great striker of the ball.

When he gets his chipping and putting right as he's obviously done this week, he's good. But you start thinking about a driver, 7-iron to the 17th yesterday, when I had a driver, 7-iron to 17, I was laying up, you know and I had hit quite a good drive. Driver, 7-iron, that's terrific.

But the only reason he's doing well, he's keeping the ball in play, obviously. But we'll see. It's a very interesting weekend ahead. Yeah, I like this. This is great.

Q. You've been playing well for a couple of months now?


Q. What turned the switch, anything in particular?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I don't know. I came back from a couple of weeks off from Seattle and I came back and I played well in Germany. I only dropped like three shots all week in Germany and that was good for me.

I played okay at the Mount Juliet and came into the Ryder Cup where I played okay. So I think that -- well, actually played bloody well there.

But I think the German Masters was a tournament that swung it. I started not making bogeys and I was making too many bogeys. I made three bogeys all week there and that was what switched it around, yeah.

Q. And then you spoke at Wentworth about how there was still the Ryder Cup vibe still around the golf course?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It is here. It is here, yeah. When I was promoting my book last week, it was amazing how much the Ryder Cup is still in people's minds. We might have sort of forgot about it, in a way, but certainly the general public have not forgotten about it. This is a big British golfing crowd here, as well, and they have not forgotten about it.

I get a number of people come up to me saying thanks for the entertainment that was given over the weekend. Everybody seemed to be watching about.

We might have forgotten about it, getting on with other tournaments, but the general public, it's still foremost in their minds.

Q. Would you rate this course alongside Wentworth among the ones you enjoy playing the most in Europe?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I enjoy -- well there's three or four I really enjoy playing. Wentworth, Loch Lomond and this one, yeah. That's the three favourite, favourite venues on tour for me, yeah. Now, other people might like the Italian Open; I'm sure Ian Poulter does.

Now we're talking European courses here. I also enjoy playing at TPC, that type of course, and it's a very similar type of course to this. You have to position it. You have to figure it out. They are not always the longest courses, no.

Q. Is the front nine tougher on this course?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I think the front nine is slightly tougher. 11 is playing downwind, so we can get on that. I hit 3-iron in there. So you can get on 11, provided you hit a drive, obviously.

But I think, you know, come Sunday, 13 in is -- 12 in is a long way in. That's what I had against Sam back here in '95. It's a long way in. I missed my birdie on 11 and I felt, where is this birdie going to come from? I was lucky it came at 12, which is a hole I wasn't thinking about that. Probably I didn't birdied it.

But yeah, the front nine is difficult. 7, 8, they are all potential disasters, every hole. Every hole. That's why it's so good.

Q. What's your feeling on 17 here at Valderrama? Some say it's a bad hole.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: What type of golfer is saying it's a bad hole? Are you talking the members here or are you talking about us?

Q. Most of those who hit 10 or 9 or 8 --

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I'm talking about golfers here. (Laughter).

Well, I saw poor Padraig take 7 there yesterday, and I've taken 8 there myself. I think that's my highest score.

Well, I can't say, yeah or nay. I birdied it today so that was okay. I played the hole properly today. I hit my driver, 5-iron lay up and my L-wedge in there about a foot. Yes, it's playable, but you have to be very careful; as is the 13th and 15th at Augusta. They are playable, but at the same time, I've made my 8s there as well.

I wouldn't say are they bad, no. It ranks up there with those holes. You have to be very careful and hit a precise golf shot. It's very, very difficult.

Q. You've said before it was like a lottery.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I did when the wind was blowing so hard into us that Tiger hit the perfect shot and it still went wet. That was a lottery because of the wind conditions and the dryness and hardness of the greens.

The way it's playing today, it's okay today. We're very lucky with the weather. Very fortunate. Let's hope it remains.

Q. Is Padraig's task still insurmountable?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: He's a very, very good player and he showed what he can do at the Italian Open to finish at 63. He needs something like that over the weekend. He's three shots behind Goosen and he's 15,000 behind. The three shots isn't the problem; it's the 15,000 that's the problem.

You know, if it was that easy, we'd all be doing it, you know.

Q. Does it make you appreciate what you did, winning seven consecutive No. 1s? Can you see the desire that Padraig has; and two years ago, Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke were in a similar spot?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Sure. It does put it into perspective slightly how difficult they seem to find it. And then I go, "God, I won seven of these."

And entering this press centre, there's a list on the board and it's nice that my name is so long; it actually catches one¹s eye. It's good. (Laughing).

But it does say something, that Ken is probably right; it probably won't happen again, no.

Q. Does it heighten your own appetite to get your name on the board one more time because you can see how much it means to these guys?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, it means a lot to these guys. It meant a lot to me. But at the same time, if I ever win eight, it doesn't really -- now, that's -- it won't mean the same as a seven in a row did. Can't.

It will be nice to be top in Europe again, but I still feel I'm one of the best players in Europe anyway. If I'm in that position, I'm quite happy.

It doesn't mean the same. I have a tee shirt with that big No. 7 on the back of it, and I'm very proud of that. How difficult people seem to find to win it, makes my record -- yeah, I think you're right. I think that my record then I go back and think, wow, it must have been quite difficult, and that's why no one's achieved it before, because it was difficult. Good luck to either of them.

But Goosen is definitely a favourite at this stage at halfway, very much so, and Harrington has to pull out two of the best rounds of his year to do this now. This is a very difficult course, as well, to attack. I was surprised at his second shot to 17 yesterday. You can't win this tournament the first day. You can only lose it. I was surprised.

Q. Besides the Ryder Cup, when was the last time you felt this excited going into the weekend?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I suppose since then, the Dunhill Cup, I was excited going into Sunday, I suppose, because the weather was great and I was playing well after the Ryder Cup. I looked forward to that round and did okay, but not since then, no. I'm looking forward to this now. I really am. This is good for me. I'm really fired up here. This is good.

Q. Have you decided what you're going to do at the start of next year?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Not really, no. I come back from holiday. I'll come back from holiday and have a month probably and then see what's what. See what's what.

Probably start, I don't know when or what, but there's a World Golf Championship event in the middle of February and I'll probably be there, La Costa. I love it there. It's great. (Laughter.)

Q. You haven't got angry for five years.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, I haven't been angry for five years, so there's no reason why I should be angry. (Laughter.)

End of FastScripts....

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