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March 21, 2002

Colin Montgomerie


COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Earlier it was not very difficult, and it's gusting now, but it was not gusting before. It's gusting now and it makes this course very difficult, when you are looking to pitch it within the odd yard or so, and when the wind is gusting it makes it very difficult. But then again, I classify this as a major championship, and never, ever has a major championship been easy.

Q. Glad you came so far? (Laughter.)

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I like the "so far" bit. 70 is okay. That's very safe. It's not a great start, but it's not a bad start. You can only lose it today; you can't really win it. 70 is a good, safe start for me. I've always tended to compete around here. It's a course that I like personally, more so than some of the major championship courses, if you like, and this suits my type of game. I hit more fairways than most, and that counts around here and I did that today, especially the back nine.

Q. The fans reaction seems to be very positive?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Very positive, indeed, very positive, and I'm glad to see that. There's no reason why that shouldn't remain.

Q. You mentioned after the weekend at La Costa, the situation, did you get phone calls, e-mail, letters? How did people contact and you make you feel better?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: We've been through this a number of times, but at the same time, I got phone calls from players and golf fans, and fantastic support. And that's what changed my mind, really, really and I'm glad I came; and as you say so far, I'm glad I came.

Q. Do you regret the circumstances of -- if you were quoted accurately at La Costa?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: You had quotes, quotes, and quotes at the same time. I'm sure we all regret certain things we have done in our lives. I'm sure you're probably the only one that's perfect here. (Laughter.) I'm certainly not and we all regret some things we do and say and act and what-have-you in public position, but at the same time I'm glad I'm here and I'm glad I'm playing well.

Q. Did anybody do anything today? This is your first competitive round since, any yelling, anything?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Nothing at all. It was very positive, very positive indeed. As I said earlier, there's no reason why that should not remain.

A lot of support, an awful lot of support.

Q. Like what?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, just like, you know, "I'm glad to see you're playing here" and "good luck to you." And "I'm Scotch." Really -- (laughter)-- a lot of that.

Q. Long day, but for the early start you must have got up around 5:00 AM, and two-and-a-half-hour gap, do you have to regenerate yourself after that?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, it's not difficult to get up to play this golf course. I really enjoy playing this course. Really have always enjoyed playing it. It was a real challenge. Every shot you've got to hit, you've got to hit well. With the tee shot, you've got to start thinking where the pin is and where the positioning is, and I really love this course. There's no problem about getting most motivated to play here.

Q. How is your back?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: My back's fine, thanks. I've been working out quite a bit. I'm putting on more weight now in America; the food is too good. But at the same time, my back's okay, thank you.

Q. Did you lose weight to ease the pressure?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I was told to lose 30 pounds. I lost 30, but I've put a bit on.

Q. Your schedule leading into the Masters?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I'm playing Houston and Atlanta and also the Masters. So I'm here for a month and I'm looking forward to it and that's a good start today.

Q. Will you get to Augusta before the event?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, unfortunately, I won't. I'll just drive over on Monday.

Q. Four in a row, is that a different approach to going into the Masters for you?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It's actually six in row, really. I've been two tournaments down in the Middle East, and try and get competitive, last week was my first full-round tournament of the year. It's a bit late to be saying that, and so I've got to get competitive. So I thought the best way to do is to try and play golf and I was fortunate to get invited to Houston and Atlanta before the Masters. So I feel fortunate that I'm able to play.

Q. Was there any advantage of playing early today?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: There usually is around here. Today, there wasn't, no. There's no advantage here to be playing early. Usually, yes, before the moon and the tide and all of the stuff that causes wind happens. But today, around the second or third hole, the wind sprung up; so there was no advantage to play early today.

Q. Are you in a more positive frame of mind to play today?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I'm very positive playing this golf course, yes. Very positive playing here, which is great.

Q. (Inaudible.)

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I worked quite a bit -- when you miss a cut and you've got to stay out there -- I practiced a lot at Dubai and I chipped in again today at 15 on the back edge and that has not happened for a long time. So that's a real bonus. To me, that's saving two shots. To most people it's saving one, but to me it's saving two, so that was good.

Q. (Inaudible)?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: If I stand on the 15th tee and say you'll take 2-under, I'll say thank you very much and walk in in a hurry.

Q. You said at the British Open when your weight got back up, you said this is your fighting weight?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, it was for the first two days, wasn't it? (Laughter.)

Q. Now you're back down again?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, I go up and down. A little bit of yo-yo. But I'm happier a little bit -- a little bit slimmer, because it helps my back, really. That's the main thing. It takes pressure off it.

Q. Does it affect your swing?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Not really. No, not really. I've shot 80 thin and heavy. So it doesn't really affect me. (Laughter.)

End of FastScripts....

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