October 2, 2002
ST. ANDREWS, SCOTLAND
ROB NOTHMAN: Colin, can you start off and talk a little bit about what the last few days have been like in the wake of a great Ryder Cup.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, it's always nice to read positive stuff in newspapers. It's been super. I think it's been great for Europe and as Tony Blair said, it was for the first time, the opposite side to George Bush, so that was quite well done.
I think it was great to go into a tournament such as that, as underdogs, and our rookies sort of were -- hate to say -- but not playing to the ability that they showed at the Ryder Cup, put it that way. It was all to do with everybody playing up until Sunday, and therefore, giving them a chance to compete on a Sunday, and not one of them having lost on a Sunday. That was why we won. It was nothing to do with anyone else. It was because the rookies won, they played on Sunday, and not one of them lost on Sunday, and that was why we won.
Q. Was that as relaxed as you've ever felt in a tournament?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, possibly. I was confident of one, in the partners that were selected for me. That gave me confidence, knowing who I was going to play with.
Two, I was confident of my putting was coming back again. I was confident about that. And therefore, on Sunday morning, people said I was relaxed when I got out in the crowd and the range -- the reason I got him out, I was embarrassed hitting shots on my own and I wanted somebody to join me. There was a lot of people, watching me and it was embarrassing so I just wanted to involve somebody, a bit of a clinic, if you like. And it actually helped me, as well, not really knowing it at the time. But I walked onto the first tee relaxed in that way and had the crowd behind me, which is huge.
Q. Do you think had that been a regular tournament, anybody could have lived with the way you played on Sunday?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I'm not sure of the other scores. You know, I was a few under par, obviously, and with a couple of par 5s to come, I don't know. But the way I was seeing the ball roll on the greens, possibly, possibly I might have won a tournament, but nothing was personal. As I said, when I finished my round, it was only one point. Yes, it was important because it was the first point, but they are all important. It was just a point and it wouldn't have meant anything if we'd lost.
So all I was trying to do was help the team. I was given a sort of responsibility, if you like, by Sam and I didn't know what he was going to do. I was given a responsibility and I'm just glad that I lived up to that responsibility by putting blue on the board. That was my job, and he told me that before I went out. I'm only glad that it took about four minutes before that happened.
Q. Your reaction when Paul McGinley's putt went in?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, I was aligned to the green, as well. Although I did not run on the green because it was besieged by that time, I would not have gone because I'm a bit slower than most people on the mark. I didn't actually go on the green at all.
I was just so glad that my point had enabled him to do what he had to do and I was glad for the rest of the team that were around me that their points that day and their points through the week, even if it was half a point, it all counted to 12 of us winning, and it proves that you need 12 guys. We all got something out of this. Whether it was half a point or whether it was four and a half, it didn't matter who it was or what was doing it. We had to get to 14-and-a-half and we achieved that goal.
Q. Do you think Sam Torrance is the man to lead the defense of the Ryder Cup next time?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Good question. I don't -- I can't speak for him, and there's no rush in that. I believe the captain will be announced, I think in December, around that time. So there's no rush for Sam to make a decision.
You know, my own personal view is, how could he possibly better that? But that's up to him. He obviously has the backing of us all. I think it's up to him, it's his decision. But at the same time, there's no rush in making a decision of that stature, I suppose, so early.
Q. Have you learned anything from the week and can you take that now into your tournament play?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I suppose. It's nice to know still that you're able -- I suppose Bernhard Langer, as well, but feel that we are the two eldest statesmen of the team, I suppose. I'm nearing 40, myself. It's nice to know that you are still able to compete at the highest level.
Sometimes you get a little bit self-doubting yourself and tournament results don't go well, and you feel, "have I reached a plateau" or whatever it might be. But it's nice to every couple of years come out and score a few points and realize that you can still play the game.
Q. Have you?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Plateaued? Possibly.
Q. Have you gone above your plateau?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: That was certainly as good a performance as I've put together in a Ryder Cup, that's for sure. Whether it's the best week of my life, I'm not sure. But at the same time, I think it's the best performance in the Ryder Cup that I've shown and it's nice that the plateau has not gone down. I haven't let it have a chance to go downward.
Q. Bearing in mind what happened here last year, do you think what happened last week will be good for this tournament?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, not just for this tournament, but I think that you'll see -- you will certainly see benefits for us all. I think that the benefits will be seen for the European Tour. I think Ken Schofield is a very happy man right now, and quite rightly so. In this economic climate that we have, it's more difficult to sell as a sponsorship case, and I'm sure that his job isn't made an awful lot easier by the result of his tour players on Sunday, and I think that you'll see the benefits of every tournament through the next couple of years, I'm sure. And only rightly, too.
Q. How tired are you after the weekend and how much are you looking forward to this tournament?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Obviously we are all very tired. I drove up this morning, quite early, and had a few meetings here today, and haven't had a practice round. Now, I possibly would have done, not under normal circumstances, but I haven't had a practice round in any of the three courses. So I go to Carnoustie tomorrow morning with Alan Hamson (ph) and we'll see how we get on.
It's a bit of pot luck, really. I know I'm swinging the club well. It's just a matter of if you are fortunate on the days you play the certain courses with the wind direction, I suppose, and what have you.
I look forward to this event. I enjoyed this event last year, and it was very unfortunate that the weather was so inclement last year that we had to finish a day later. Hopefully, well, the forecast seems a little bit better this year. It would have done well to move this tournament almost a month ahead. Let's hope we can get some decent weather and a much better event because of it.
Q. When did the significance of never being behind in any of your matches at the Ryder Cup hit home?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It was actually quite significant when Bernhard Langer had to follow in -- now, forgive me, I think it was Scott Verplank who holed a putt on the first green against us on Saturday morning foursomes, Bernhard had my 7-iron to hole, if you like. I hit the green with a 7-iron and he had a 10-footer to hole for a halve.
I said to him, "You realize we have not been down yet, and I don't want to start now." So we lined the putt up and he holed it.
So significant even from the third round, but I didn't want to go down, ever go down. It's the first time it's happened to me and I think it's the first time it's ever happened, I think, but no one has ever been down at all in any game. I don't think Langer was either. He could not have been either because he played with me for three days and he beat Hal Sutton 4-3, so I don't think he was down much either. The two of us came out to bat unscathed, which was a good effort. That says a lot for him.
Q. Did you have moments of self-doubt before the Ryder Cup?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Not really. The two lead-up tournaments that I was using as practice, the Masters and the American Express tournament -- I hope you don't mind me saying that, but it was for me on a physical level more than a mental one -- and I managed to play these rounds, and my worst run was 72 out the eight rounds and I was 25-under par in the two tournaments leading up to it. So the self-doubt was away by the time I arrived at The Belfry. I do tend to get up, anyway. I drove in the gate at The Belfry and I felt good about, it for the team's sake. You sort of leave your ego at the door and pick it up on the way out in a team competition. There was no big egos in our team room. We didn't have anybody that was treated any different from anyone else, and Sam was very keen on trying to maintain that; that the rookies had the same time and everything around the team room as everyone else did. It's most important to have that feeling of unity within the team.
Q. Scott Hoch's comment had said he had never seen anybody putt that well; is that the most unexpected compliment of your career?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I'll have you know, there was two people that came into our team room on Sunday at Valderrama and shook everyone's hand, including the caddie's. One was Scott Hoch and one was Mark O'Meara at Valderrama, and Scott had just finished a game. All credit to him for doing that. And this time again, there was one person who made a huge effort to congratulate all our team, and it was Scott Hoch.
So, it didn't surprise me, no. No. He was obviously -- he was obviously shocked, because I had played him three times and I had won on every occasion, this series of games, and I had not missed many makeable putts, if at all. He must have loved to see the back of me.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, it's always nice for me to be seen as putting well. That gives me great confidence. Great confidence.
Q. Paul McGinley's gesture of getting the winning ball mounted for Sam, does that represent just how much the team thought of Sam?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, and the team thought of each other. We were all confident in each other's ability. There was no one there that was in any way not part of that team, and it was great that we all played before the singles and we all got half a point. So we all added to the team effort, and it's most important. I've never been in a team situation where we really felt very, very unified, even from Monday when we arrived there.
Yes, we had the advantage of a year extra so we had meetings in Germany. We tried to get together as much as we could, and that helped us, but as soon as we arrived on Monday, we realized that there was a different atmosphere, I felt, in the team room, and having been on five before, I realized this was slightly different; that there was no stars on that team. We were all there to try to get 14-and-a-half points. It didn't matter who the hell got them it. It was just trying to get to the magic number of 14-and-a-half. As underdogs, that was a difficult task.
Q. What was it that you felt you could do for the less-experienced players?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I was speaking to Phillip Price and Pierre Fulke and Niclas Fasth, I believe, on the way home from the ill-fated AMEX tournament last year. I was using that time in the airport lounge to talk to them about the feelings and Peter Coleman and Andy were there, as well and they were thanking me for helping them at that stage. I felt an obligation -- I wasn't asked by Sam to do anything. I just felt an obligation to make them feel part of -- part of a team, and it's most important to feel that way. Yes, I was speaking to them, but I wasn't asked by Sam. I just felt an obligation on my part to do something to help. As I say, I go into these tournaments as a very different person. I go in as a team member and not as an individual.
Q. What were you like on the Sunday night of the Ryder Cup? Win?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I've been fortunate, I've won three times now and lost three. Believe me, it's a lot better winning.
I'm not a great partier and not a big drinker, and don't tend to go the way others do, I suppose, within the team. I went out back to the room at about 3 o'clock which was very early and started packing.
Q. Is captaining the team in your mind now?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, yes. I mean, you know, I think it's common knowledge that I would like to captain the team at some stage. It would be a great honor for me to do so. And if so, I'm determined to do -- to try and do as good a job as Sam Torrance did. If I can achieve anything, anything like the way he captained our team, I would be thrilled with myself.
Q. Do you think the Americans would be delighted if you were captaining in 2006, rather than playing?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: If I do happen to captain the team then, I would not play. I would feel that my presence as a captain would be as much as my presence would be as a player.
Q. Was there anything that you specifically learned from Sam's captaincy?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I've learned a lot over the years and had four different captains. What I have learned, and it's not just in golf, but in life in general, but to make it big, which was a Ryder Cup win for Europe, is a big, big achievement for us. You realize what Sam did on Sunday night, on Saturday night, rather, with the draw, was a risk.
You don't get rewards in life, I don't think big rewards in life, unless you risk something. And he risked an awful lot. He was very courageous in what he did. If the first six or seven games did not go the way Sam had hoped, we would not have won. He was very courageous in what he did and it all worked out for him and all credit to him for being courageous. He was very brave and also fortunate.
Q. Of the young players playing this week, who do you rate as the next big name?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: There's a few good players, especially English players coming through. Justin Rose had a super year, and I'm sure he'll be a very good asset to our Ryder Cup team in two years time. I suppose I would say he would be the No. 1 player to come through from that young breed of English players, but there's a lot of them, and that wasn't, say, five years ago and there is now and it's great to see. I wish there was more Scotts.
Q. Did Sam ask for any input from you in the setup of the course?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes. (Laughter.)
Q. What did you ask for?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: We didn't ask for anything. The course is there. You can't really do anything with it. What we did find, I think, that we were as surprised as anybody was that the fairways were quite narrow, and there was less room on the fairways than there is, say, in the Benson and Hedges tournament.
I think without planning it as such, I think it helped us more than it did them. The course really was set up really -- I mean, I don't think any team was particularly favored by the course setup. I think it was there to be played. There was nothing that was going on behind the scenes about the golf course. The golf course was there to be played.
Q. Was the 10th hole an intent part of the discussions?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It was strange that the 10th was discussed. The back tee was to be used, and it's funny that the Americans -- only one of them had a go. Only David Duval had to go once and that was it, but we had to go more than they did, especially young Sergio. He had to go every one. But that was not in my repetoire. I can't do that anymore. I'm getting a bit old for that.
ROB NOTHMAN: Okay. Colin, well, congratulations again last week and have a good week.
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