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February 22, 2000

Colin Montgomerie


GORDON SIMPSON: Colin, nice to see you come out of winter hibernation in the year 2000. Maybe you'd like to tell us what you've been doing over the last few months, before we get into golf.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Nothing much, really, which is great. I had about ten weeks off, I believe, didn't hit a ball. My first round of golf this year was yesterday, here. And I don't do much. I suddenly have become a husband and father for ten weeks, which I don't do for most of the year. I was very busy toward the end of the year, as you're probably aware, and I decided to take ten weeks off, as I usually do, and don't play golf. And come out fresh, and ready to go, want to go play. I'm not stale. And we all love this game, but at the same time, you need a break from it, and take stock of what's going on and what's happening, and come back to it fresh, and that's where I am now.

GORDON SIMPSON: You feel you're going to be sharp enough with a couple of rounds under your belt?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: There's no reason why I can't do it again, I've done it with 12 weeks off before.

GORDON SIMPSON: You've won the World Golf Championships - Andersen Consulting Match Play Championship in its previous format, and you've won the Cisco World Match Play at Wentworth, and obviously these events have been kind to you.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I enjoy match play, I enjoy the challenge of it, and I enjoy one-on-one situation. I don't get the opportunity of doing it very much, and I enjoy that intensely. As I say, I look forward to it. And last year didn't work, but at the same time it didn't work for a number of people, I wasn't the only one. I was one of a number. It's like playing one set of tennis, like 18 holes of match play, it's over very quickly. And anybody is capable of beating anybody else out here, and it proved it last year, and will again.

Q. After having your rest, you kept an eye on Tiger, obviously. Have you thought about how he's just gone on and on, hasn't he, as a player?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Sure. There's nothing I can say that hasn't been said already. The guy is playing phenomenally well. Good luck to him. He's a streak ahead of anybody else. And our job, as I said at the end of last year is to raise our games. It's up to us to raise our games to his. We're finding it very difficult, a lot of us.

Q. How do you raise a game, which by your standards is already quite up there?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It's well up there, but it's not raised to its pinnacle, hopefully. I can still improve. I want to improve. And I, along with the rest of us, have to get better. Now, what that means, we're not quite sure right now. Technology is improving, which is helping us; it's helping him as well. So it's difficult. If the guy has that much talent and ability and has a will to win and a drive and ambition that he seems to have, that's everything. And we have to try and come to terms with that and accept it and go towards it. But right now, as I said, we're not finding it very easy.

Q. Have you got any new technology this season?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, there's a number of things, with Callaway Golf, especially, have been working on. And I've been sort of having a look at, obviously not testing that much, because I haven't really done anything. But looking at it, and you'll find new things appearing in my bag throughout the year to hopefully improve and get better. I've started the year seventh last year, and finished off third. And my goal, I suppose, at the start of any year is to improve, and that means I can't improve much in Europe, so I have to think about the world. If I can get to No. 2 in the world at the end of this year, that would be a improvement. I can't get to No. 1, not this year, anyway.

Q. Are you playing the new Callaway Golf ball?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I'm contracted with Titleist.

Q. Have you tried the new Callaway golf ball?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I'm contracted to Titleist.

Q. Colin, when you say you've literally not hit -- when you've not hit a shot, do you mean literally? And does that include not putting in the house and chipping around the bedroom?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I said I wasn't going to putt -- no, I don't play golf.

Q. You don't lift up a club?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I don't play golf, no. In fact I had to open my thing, my bag up, Sun City I finished, and I haven't played since. I just don't play. And, one, I don't miss it, and two, I enjoy the break. I enjoy the break. I enjoy spending time with my family and doing other things. It's not like I haven't been doing other things, I've been looking at golf course designs and all sorts of stuff, and I haven't been sitting at home doing nothing. I've spent as much time away as players have playing golf, I just haven't played golf.

Q. When did you get here, Colin?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: The other day, Saturday, Sunday -- yeah, so I've just been -- my first round of golf this year was yesterday.

Q. Does the course disappoint you?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It was a lot better than it was last year, the course. The rough is more severe, which is good. I like that. It's just a shame that the weather is okay today, but we're not playing today. Apparently tomorrow is going to be bad again, and that's a shame for the tournament, because the course is much better this year, it's playing longer and more challenging than it was last year.

Q. Colin, how well do you understand the world ranking system? Can you explain it to somebody in less than ten minutes?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It's actually -- I don't know -- what are you trying to say?

Q. A lot of players --?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: What are you trying to get me to say?

Q. I'm not trying to get you to say anything.


Q. I'm not. If you were sitting down, for example, with your wife and trying to explain to her the system, could you explain it?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: She knows the system (laughter) as well as I do.

Q. She knows it as well as you do, but how well is that? I want to know how well you understand the system.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I know the system very well.

Q. Can you explain it to us?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Why, you don't?

Q. I don't understand it completely, no. That's why I want a genius like you to explain it.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Why don't you understand it?

Q. It's confusing.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: You're a golf journalist, right?

Q. Right.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Sorry, I don't know you. But you should know the system, then. What's the problem?

Q. Well, I'm asking you --?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Average points per tournament, and Tiger Woods has got 20 of them, per tournament, and I've got 10. I didn't do as well as he did.

Q. How many points would you get this week if you win?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I don't know. I'm looking for Wednesday, hole-by-hole, Wednesday, I'm not looking beyond that. And I know I don't get better off by losing the first round, I assure you. So I understand the system quite well. And it goes in the calendar years, and we'll see. You win and you lose points according to the calendar year and not the tournament. And I think unless something comes up, I believe in the States they're trying to say that the official world rankings isn't quite right, but at the same time it's the best we've got. It's a very, very difficult way of trying to judge one's form, having five or six different Tours and people playing against each other in different parts of the globe and what have you. We can't use monetary terms, so we use a point system. And as I say, if no one comes up with a better system, which I don't think the other one is, this is the best we've got.

Q. If the course is longer and more challenging as you just told us, there may be fewer upsets this year than there was last?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Possibly. Anyone is capable of beating anyone on a day. If this was over a year, this tournament, there might be a different outcome, but because it's a day, and because it's like one set of tennis and not three or five, it's very, very quick and it's over very quickly, and anyone is capable of beating anyone else still, on any course. But I think you're right in saying that there might be less higher-ranked players losing in the first day, possibly. But one would never know.

Q. What about your opponent tomorrow, what do you know of him?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Not much. I played with him the last day in Atlanta last year, and we played very well. Obviously a long hitter, which would help him around here. But at the same time, I think it's his first time in this event, so we'll see. But obviously you can't say. Yes, I suppose I'm favorite, but at the same time he can beat me as well as I can beat him on a day-to-day basis.

Q. Colin, does a player of your stature not have an edge on the first tee, in a situation like this?


Q. Colin, Dennis is also a local guy, around San Diego. Do you think he'll get a lot of support, and does that come into play much when it's one-on-one?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Obviously there will be more support. If this tournament was held in Glasgow, I obviously would have more support than he would. He's from here, and that's fine. It doesn't really affect me. It wouldn't affect me.

Q. How was your first round of golf, and is there anything you're concerned about or anything you need to work on today, tomorrow?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, not really. I actually played quite well, surprisingly, and I'm looking forward to playing again today, and get all the rust out of the system, and we'll go Wednesday. That's all I need, really. I don't need much time to work things out, the swing hasn't changed in any way, shape, or form over the ten-week break. So I'll come out and -- my last tournament I was 20-under at Sun City, and I'm taking that into this one and hoping I'll do well.

Q. Will you be in Melbourne for this tournament next January the 3rd?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I've just finalized this year's schedule really, to be honest. We'll see. It is early, but at the same time depends. If I'm defending champion, I'll go.

Q. Colin, after the Ryder Cup a lot of people said bridges have to be built. Is that -- is that not a factor or is it?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, this is a world event. And I was surprised to see on the telecast last year where it said foreigners who have made the second day. Well, to me we're all foreign, in a world event. And this is a world event, so it's not a Europe-versus-America type of idea, and that's once every two years. And this has nothing to do with that. This is a one on one match between players ranked in the world rankings. It's a world event, it's not a European -American thing. So it doesn't come into it.

Q. Now that you've done your schedule, how many are you playing over here?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Just the same as it was when I said, I'll play here, then also the TPC and The Masters and the other world events and majors. And the only other event I'm playing apart from that would be the TPC.

GORDON SIMPSON: Any other questions.

Q. Desert Island Disks?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I believe it's coming on just before The Masters time, otherwise it might be out of date. So, yeah, it was good.

Q. What would you take with you to the Desert Island?


Q. Just a tidbit?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: World Service will carry it. I can't tell you, that's --.

Q. Just tickle our fancy.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Tickle you? (Laughter).

Q. Confidentially?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, I'm not. You have to listen. Someone will have to listen and tell you.

Q. Did you choose Robbie Williams' song "Angel" because -- "Angels," because you're an angel on the golf course?


Q. One of your records is Robbie Williams' "Angels"?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: If you all know what was on it, why are you asking? That was the reason.

Q. What was the highlight, the single most fun thing you did during your ten weeks off. Can you pick out one?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, the Millennium Dome, wasn't it?

Q. You went, didn't you?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, the British Aerospace -- I was there in the Mind Zone, it was interesting. Let me think. No particular highlight. I had two holidays, one in Barbados and one in Switzerland, I enjoyed that with the family, I suppose that was it, really.

GORDON SIMPSON: You were appointed in an ambassadorial role for Scotland, weren't you?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, one official title, which is great. And trying to publicize the fact that Scotland is more on its own than it ever was before, and it's very interesting, and I spent a good day in Edinburgh and spoke to a load of captains of industry, about 400, and I enjoyed it thoroughly, and will enjoy the role.

Q. You mean you had 400 captains of industry sitting in front of you?


Q. For how long?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Ten, 15 minutes.

Q. Was their putting any better?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: They didn't teach me that.

Q. Did you address the world rankings?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: They knew, actually. They were very good. They knew all about the world rankings, I don't know why you guys don't. They knew very much, yeah. They knew what was going on.

End of FastScripts...

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