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August 22, 2000

Colin Montgomerie


GORDON SIMPSON: Colin, thanks for coming in. Another season is gone in terms of the majors, but still some major championships still to be won, this one being one of them. What are your impressions of Firestone and recollections of last year?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I think it's a wonderful setup we have here. The fewer players that are playing, the better. And I think it is a great -- a great golf course, a driver's golf course, which should suit me. I didn't play very well last year. It was one of these trips that we came back and forth for, if you remember. We had to go from Medinah back to BMW, and then BMW to back here. And I had just won BMW coming back here, and it was very tiring, and I was very tired coming in here last year, if you remember. So, I don't have that problem this year. And fully acclimatized after last week, and so I'm looking forward to playing here this week and then going back home to see my family, and then off to the BMW and try and defend next week. So, I've got a good run coming up. I'm looking forward to it.

GORDON SIMPSON: You seemed to be treated with a great deal of respect last week. Does that help?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: A huge difference. A massive difference in the whole way that I feel about playing here. And that was -- that was, to me, if I didn't win, well, that was the next best thing. And it was pleasant to play there last week, and I envision the same thing happening here again. And I look forward to it happening again. I think the weight loss has helped. I think anyone that loses weight, people feel good about. They say, okay, you know, you've seen that problem in your life, or you see a part of your life that you're not happy with and change that, and people abide by that; they go with it and are very positive with you. And I found that last week. And, as I say, I should find it again here.

Q. Colin, American crowds, they like good players to interact with them. If you hit a 4-iron to three feet --


Q. -- and they applaud when you come up, they like to see you smile --


Q. -- noticed last week you were smiling a lot more than you normally do. Was that a deliberate thing?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: This is a conscious effort, yes indeed. I think it's a give and take, if you like. It is a conscious effort. And I feel better about myself, as well, because I've lost a bit of weight, a lot of weight. I feel better about myself. I feel more confident. My self-esteem has risen; and thus, feeling better about yourself, you tend to walk taller, you tend to smile, you tend to be better off, naturally. And yes, it was not so much a conscious effort, don't get me wrong, but it just happened because I felt better about myself.

Q. Is there any way in which this interaction and the better relationship might persuade you to play any more over here?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Not necessarily. Not necessarily. Although, you know, we have -- we have next year, of course, we have even Valderrama is moving over here next year because we are at Melbourne. There's always five major tournaments over here: The majors, plus the TOUR Championship is over here. That's five times. Plus the Bay Hill, TPC, which I enjoy playing in, and then another couple. So, yes, I mean, I play around about eight or nine tournaments again next year; and hopefully, now, enjoy them an awful lot more than I used to, and my family can as well.

Q. On the same subject, Colin, the European players respect, I'm sure, you and the value your opinion. What advice would you give to Thomas who was quoted at the weekend who was saying he was swithering about U.S. membership? Do you have an opinion on that?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I don't. You've thrown me a googly


Q. (Inaudible.)

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, you know, I can understand -- I can understand Thomas feeling that way and thinking that way. He has done very well over here. And having a second and a third in the last two majors has given him a new confidence, if you like, and a feeling that: Okay, well, where are the best players in the world playing week-in, week-out? And it is over here; we have to admit that. And he's probably young enough to do so. And good luck to him if he decides on that -- on that road for himself. I'll be 38 next year, and it would be difficult for me to sort of up it off, if you like, at this stage of my career. I'm very happy with what I do, playing my 18 tournaments in Europe and my 8 over here, and 4 or 5 world -- other events, and getting up to nearly 30 events for the year. And I'm very happy doing that, personally. But if Thomas, and I hear Jimenez, Olazabal and these type of people want to do that, well, that's up to them. I feel sorry that the Ryder Cup position will be hurt through this, dramatically hurt, if these players decide to play over here. We only have two picks. And there goes -- there goes a few good players that are going to be left out. You know, I've always said -- I've always said, you know, pick your twelve, or at least six and six, because people are playing in different areas of the world now, and we need our strongest team. And I feel sorry for Sam Torrance, whose hands are tied right now in that area. And I feel for Sam, if these players decide to go over here, that they are all wanting a pick, and needing one, and he doesn't have that -- he doesn't have that facility. So, it's unfortunate for that angle; but, of course, golf is an individual game and everyone is entitled to play where they want to play, and good luck to anybody who takes this on as a challenge.

Q. Would that facility be changed?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: We have not started qualifying yet.

Q. Exactly. That's why I'm saying, would it be changed?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Our boss is coming in this week, I think; and if you want to speak to him, that's fine, fine by me.

Q. They changed it for this, didn't they?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: They did change it for this. They changed it for this. And as long as it is changed before -- if we can do something before the -- before the qualification, it depends on how many people -- don't get me wrong, don't make an issue out -- this has not started yet. But, the thought is that a number of players are going to play over here next year, and then there might well be a problem. But there isn't a problem right now. But there might become one, okay, if. And, you know, Faldo is finding his form as well, and he's another one. There's a few others. So, there might become a problem. But right now, there is not until these people say before Switzerland starts in three weeks, they have to let people know, and then we can hopefully do something about it.

Q. Can you reflect on your time here last year? You had two very good days and two days that were not quite as good.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, that's very diplomatic, "quite as good ones." In actual fact, I'd say the four days were not quite as good. Yeah, I just -- it was one of these things, it was unfortunate. We played in Scandinavia, and then we came over here to Medinah for the U.S. PGA. I had won Scandinavia, and I had finished Medinah. And I flew home from Medinah in Chicago to win the BMW, and came back from BMW over here, and I was tired, okay. And globe-trotting around like that was not the best preparation for this tournament. As I said earlier on that, I'm better prepared now, because I'm here, I've got two full practice days and looking forward to -- looking forward to it this year more than I did last, because I was very tired. However easy it seems winning, it's not. It does take it out of you, mentally more than physically, and that was a problem here last year.

Q. You didn't seem to be beating up on yourself after the PGA. Is that a sign that --

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: As I said, if I was not going to win, what happened to me personally at the PGA Championship was a -- was a win in itself. And so, I didn't beat myself up over it, no. You're right. I didn't do that. And I was conscious of not doing that. I finished my round and wanted to think positively on that week and not negatively at all.

Q. As well as the physical change, have you changed your attitude at all towards practice?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I think that I need to practice more.

Q. Is it Tiger-induced?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Not necessarily, no. You'd like to think it was, because it makes more of a story. But it's not actually Tiger-induced. No, it is self-induced, that, as I say, I've got six years left hopefully being in the Top-10 in the world, and I'd like to give it my best shot. And I would regret if I finished my career and thought, "Oh, I wish I had practiced," or, "I wish I had done that" or something, or "Wish I had been a bit lighter through the last six years," or whatever. I'm say two-thirds through, 12 out of 18, I suppose. And I'm lucky to say that, because most people do not get to -- one, to this level; and two, sustain it for this length of time. And so I'm fortunate in saying that. So, yes, I practiced now down at Wisley, which is very near my home. And I'm using the facility there quite a bit, and I enjoy doing that. And it's been good for me, and I will continue to do so.

Q. Do you ever actually see pictures yourself?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I do. 1995, I saw picture of myself in my study from 1995 when I won the Dunhill Cup with Sam and Andrew Coltart, and I was too heavy. Far too heavy. And well, since then, that was the heaviest I have ever been and then I lost a lot of weight before Dubai started in 1996, but nothing like this. And the difference from then, I'd like to see a television photo of there to now, because it would be a dramatic difference from then to now.

Q. You told us you lost about 20 pound recently or a little over?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Since the Open, yeah.

Q. What would it be between the '95 Montgomerie and this one?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Oh, boy, 45, 50? 45, certainly.

Q. Have you ever done a full circle on the weight scale?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, I never reached the bottom. If you reach the bottom, you're in real trouble. No, no. But '95, I saw a picture in my I study and I was -- I didn't look a sportsman, if you like. I didn't like the way I looked.

Q. When did you look at the picture?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Just after the Open. Yeah, I got back into my house.

Q. Is it still there?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Oh, yeah. Oh, it's a good picture. It's a good picture because it's the only time I've ever won -- it was my only success in Scotland until last year, and it is a good photo, a memory playing with Sam and Andrew, to win the Dunhill Cup. But it is a memory in a number of ways, as well.

GORDON SIMPSON: Did you find it easier or harder to do it this time around?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Easier. Much more determined now. Much more determined.

Q. What have you what are you down to now?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: About 200 pounds. That's 14 stone 4.

Q. Is it just the heat that triggers the migraines?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Mostly the heat. I didn't feel that well in Sweden. But mostly the heat. I've always suffered with heat, and I might even wear a baseball-type cap this week, as opposed to a advisor. A visor does not protect the same way as a baseball cap does, and I might wear a baseball cap this week to see how that goes, and that might help, because I get headaches coming up the back nine and it is no good, no use.

Q. You don't particularly like wearing a visor, do you?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I can't say that now. (Pointing to Callaway insignia). At the same time, I never -- I'm always fiddling with it because it is not natural, and I'm always fiddling with it. But it's becoming -- because I do it most days of my life now. You know, it is becoming -- I am becoming used to it but it never was natural when I started.

Q. Have you ever worn a baseball cap?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No. Most American kids grew up wearing baseball caps. This fellow has got one here you see.

Q. Did you wear one to lunch?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Golly, never. I wore it when I won at Forest Arden last year and that was all and it didn't really suit me because I was too heavy. As long as it says Callaway golf on it, I don't think anyone cares what it looks like.

Q. I know the Order of Merit was not your order of priority this year, and you are quite a long way behind that. Would you see this week as one of the -- the big prizes that would give you a chance of at least --

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, if I win here I go to No. 1 again, and also Valderrama is another one as well, and of course we have a number of larger tournaments left, the Volvo Masters is double what it was last year, but I'm a long way back and that doesn't it doesn't affect me the same way as it did. I really wanted to equal Seve's record and then equal Peter's record and after that get five. 6 and 7 were a bonus, if you like. Because I wanted 5. Once you've got 4, you want to beat the record. 6 and 7 were a real bonus and 8 would be something -- something else, but it doesn't affect me one way or another.

Q. I just wondered if you were maybe needing some new motivation for the rest of the year now that the majors are out of the way, is all?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I want to win twice more in the year, I want to win twice more. Whether that comes in one of these events or a European Tour event or whatever, but I'd like to win twice more. To win four times again this year would be satisfying for me.

Q. You decided at the beginning of the year that you wanted to be -- second place in the world rankings --

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I still do. I started at third and I'm now fifth, I believe, but it's all pretty close and a good performance here will get me back to fourth possibly, or depending on the result, and I believe if I'm in the Top 5 in the world, you know, I'm pretty happy in that position.

Q. You've always prided yourself on improving year by year, what would you have to do this year for that?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I'd probably have to win three times this year to improve. Possibly get back to No. 2 in the world, which would be difficult, but these events are worth a lot of points, if you like, and Valderrama at the end, I'm looking forward to that, as well. And with a number of larger tournaments left, I've only got one win to come off now. All these wins that come off hurt, in a World Ranking position, and I've only got one win left to come off. So that's encouraging. Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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