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August 25, 2001

Colin Montgomerie


COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I enjoy playing with David Duval. He is very relaxed. Obviously, if he is not relaxed, no one will be. Good luck to him. I enjoyed playing with him and got off to a good start. First time this week I have, actually. I've been 1-over after four and 3-over after five the first two days; and this time, at least I was 3-under after five, and that was the key to it, really. It was quite warm out there toward the end, and we can get up at 16 tee today -- we can get up to 16 but it is still very dangerous. I managed to birdie that one. But I had good chances after I holed a 20-footer at the fifth, I had good chances at 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and didn't hole them, unfortunately. But I played a lot better. I hit every one, but one fairway and that helps. If I do that, I'll usually score pretty good. So I played -- I played well today and look forward to tomorrow. Earlier start. Should be a bit cooler and beat the weather home.

Q. Can you go out aggressive on the course tomorrow?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Can I? Oh, I can, I suppose. But do I is a different matter. It depends on what's happening. I'm 7-under. The lead will be Tiger's 10. I can't see him being less than that when he is finished. So, I mean, you've got to be looking at 11-under, at least; 16 he's on. We're looking at 11-under, at least, so that's four behind. At least it beats six at the start of the day, but at the same time it's a lot to catch up on. Yesterday's performance wasn't -- I didn't drive the ball well at all and scored 71 because of it and that really threw me out because you know that the standard over here is very, very high and you've got to put four good scores together. You can't really afford an over-par score, especially around a course that is giving up birdies because the greens are very soft. We'll see about winning, but at the same time, I'm delighted to have 66 in the third round, because that's the round that's been bothering me over the years here in America, anyway. I don't seem to have had a problem over in Europe, but I do in America. I can't put my finger on why. It's nice that I got a 66 out of this one.

Q. Chasing the world's top two is a pretty tall order?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Best of luck to Phil Mickelson, after last week, as well. He must have been physically, mentally and everything else trained. Good luck to him to be right there, just one behind, as I finished; I don't know if he still is. But to do it all over again is a superb effort on his half.

Q. What is the hole that you think works the best for you on this golf course and what's the one that is the toughest one for you?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: 9. I had difficulty, but I've managed to play it 1-under this week, which is good. I find 9 the most difficult drive on the course, length and accuracy, because I don't have the necessary length to clear the hump in the middle of the fairway and it kicks it all right into the rough. The easiest hole -- I don't know it depends on the ones you birdie on the day. So there's no easy hole. 9, I find definitely, as most players do, I'm sure.

Q. Have you almost got nothing to lose tomorrow; in you don't have any Ryder Cup concerns, you don't worry about money anymore?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Excuse me? (Laughter.)

Q. You saved in airfare?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Saved in airfare, yeah. Obviously I want to do as well as I can, and it so happens I have a chance of winning tomorrow, if I get off to a good start as I did today; if I get to three under after five or six tomorrow and get into a position where I get to double figures and have a chance, obviously, things will change. But right now, if you don't win, you know, you look as -- you look to finish as high as you possibly can. And yes, I don't have any Ryder Cup worries or anything else, financial worries, if you like. But at the same time, I'm here to do as well as I possibly can; and if you don't win, you look to finishing second. And then if you don't finish second, you look to finish third and it goes on from there so you just go do the best that you can.

Q. Do the World Ranking points come into the question, Colin?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, it's nice to get some more World Ranking points. I have sort of slipped a little bit this year, although I have three wins, I've slipped a little this year. I started off at 7 and now I'm at 8 or 9 or 10 or something, I believe. I'd like to get back into that Top-10. But doesn't really affect much, to be honest. You know you're not going to get to No. 1 until 2010, so -- (laughter). Minimum. So, you know, whether you're second to 20th, it doesn't really affect things. You're getting into every tournament that you want to play in, so as long as I'm in that category now it doesn't matter. When I was No. 2 to Greg Norman back in '96 and I got quite close to Greg there to be No. 1, it mattered. But right now, there's very little chance of anyone going to No. 1 so it doesn't really affect it the same.

Q. What are your thoughts on this course and the fact that you guys won't play here next year?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, it's a shame. This is my third effort at this course and I like the course, personally. It's a shame that we are not here again. Sahalee is a good course, as well, and these World Golf Championships events, I suppose have to go around the globe. The Match Play has changed and the AMEX tournament has changed so why shouldn't this one change, I suppose. And I hear that we are back here in 2003, and that's fine.

Q. Is there going to be any change in rhythm -- you are used to playing relatively late on Sundays. Is there any change in rhythm that might affect play tomorrow because they pushed it up?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, I think they have pushed it up very, very early,7:45 and two pulls off two tees so the last times have to be just about 9:00. They have pushed up so early that we are not rushing around. Even if a thunderstorm does come around we still have time afterwards to complete so we have done very well. All credit to them. I think they got caught out a little last year when we finished in pitch black and they don't want the same to happen again. I think they have done the right thing.

Q. You talked about playing here in America. Is there a -- I guess a trait of American golf courses that you notice that's different from, say, the rest of the world or can it be generalized that way?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Sorry, I'm not quite with you.

Q. When you start playing in America, did you notice, for example any big differences in the courses here from the rest of the world?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, the manicured courses over here. I spent four years at university over here from'83- to'87 down in Houston and I noticed a great deal of time and money is spent on getting these courses in the conditions that they are. I mean, this type of course here just doesn't happen. There's a lot of time, a lot of money and a lot of effort being put into getting this course in this condition. Sometimes in Europe and the rest of the world we don't have that financing to put that into function. I would not like to pay the maintenance bill on this course, for instance, and we sometimes don't have the finances in the rest of the world to compete that way, but at the same time, that's the main difference.

Q. Sort of as a spin-off from that World Ranking question, there was some talk in the last couple days about the possibility that the U.S. or the American Tour Player of the Year award might be up for grabs, perhaps. From your view from afar, does Phil challenge Tiger on that or is it pretty clear-cut?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Wow. It's difficult to say. You know, Tiger and Phil have won a major, I suppose, and David Toms, all credit to him, and Phil hasn't, I suppose, and that's usually the gauge in these things. But at the same time, if Phil happens to win the Money List, I think that would change. Possibly Phil's record this year has been -- has been extraordinary. You know, he seems to be in contention every week he plays and he seems to be playing an awful lot. I know that the birth of his second child is coming in so he wants to get it all in before that happens which I can't blame him for, but at the same time he does seem to be in contention an awful lot. It does seem to be up for grabs for the first time in a few years, sure.

Q. What do you think of Lee Westwood withdrawing --

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I heard Lee had pulled out. Then I heard it was ligament trouble, which is almost worse than a break in a way. It lakes longer to heal sometimes. A little bit concerned. I'm sure Sam Torrance was on the phone and finding out what's the cause, because I heard it was four to six weeks or something, which incorporates one particular tournament that we are looking forward to. So, we'll see. We'll see how that happens. But I hope he gets -- I hope he gets fit as soon as he possibly can.

Q. To follow up, could you give us your big picture assessment of your side going into the Ryder Cup? As it stands today with three players on the bubble and Lee's injury?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Sure. I think it's -- I didn't fancy our chances about three or four months ago, but recently I think that things are turning. Although we didn't have a good year in the U.S. PGA, but Bernhard Langer showing some good form as well as myself and Clarke doing a lot better here and Fulke, 65, that will give him a lot of confidence. There's always the 10th place up for grabs. It is the Tom Lehman position and it is not a good position to be in. You feel that someone is going to overtake you and Phil Price is in that position right now. And he'll see how it goes tomorrow at Gleneagles and for him. I would say it is more equal than it was, say, four months ago. Four months ago it was not looking so good for our side, but right now, it's looking a little bit better.

Q. Do you like Poulter's game?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: He's done okay to come over here, especially the first round to score 67 when he has to. That's always the hardest thing in life in any job, when you have to do something, you're going out and doing it. So he's doing okay. If he doesn't make it this time, I'm sure he will next, sort of thing. But it's a tall order to actually -- first time to actually go out and do it, and this, tomorrow's round for him is very important and also the BMW is, as well.

Q. I was wondering if -- there's another World Golf Championship later this year and I was wondering if you were going to play in Japan and if you know much about the course?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I have played the course before and unfortunately I won't be competing there this year.

Q. What can you tell me about the course?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Japan, it was awfully cold when I was there last time, but that was in late November, December. It was very, very cold. Mt. Fuji is not far away. The wind blows off there and it gets quite cold. Quite hilly and good condition course. I finished fourth there, I believe and I enjoyed it. That was the only week I ever played in Japan, actually. I've only been there ones and played on that particular golf course.

Q. I don't know if you knew but they are tweaking the qualification requirements for this tournament. They are going to expand it. Are you okay with that?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Provided I'm one of the ones that it expands to include, yes. (Laughter.)

Q. As you know it was originally intended for Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup --

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, it was. I think these world events, I think the other two incorporate the sort of 64, the Match-Play and in two weeks' time, we are playing the top, similar-ish to make it the same type of thing. I think especially with our team, I think that we never had a proper qualification system. We kept changing our system. Every year our system seemed to change. So I think it is quite good that it incorporates the Top-50 in the world, say and look forward to going to Seattle. It's a good course up there.

Q. In other words, we won't have a situation like we have with Parnevik and Garcia in the future?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Exactly. I don't want to say anybody against anybody here, but at the same time these World Golf Championships events were brought together to bring the world's best players to play together more often. It's unfortunate for Garcia and Parnevik to miss out. Next year, we'll change that.

End of FastScripts....

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