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June 10, 1997
LES UNGER: Well we appreciate Colin Montgomerie joining us
out of the heels of a recent victory across the ocean. Often
a contender in this event, and as you guys remember, and ladies,
there's been a couple players already to mention him as a contender.
And, I'd like to ask the first question to you: I don't know
how many rounds you've been able to play here, but how does this
court suit your game.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I think it goes without saying that all U.S.
Open courses suit me, I think the way I've been brought up and
the way I've been playing golf the last 10 years, it's no secret
that I tend to drive the ball pretty straight, and therefore can
hit my iron shots in the fairway and have birdie putts and that's
why I love -- I love this form of golf. A lot of players are
sometimes critical of this form of golf. But, I must admit, if
I don't even make the cut this week and go home on Friday night,
I'll always be a fan of this form of golf. I love this where
you have 26 to 34 yard fairways and heavy rough and what have
you. And, I always like coming to U.S. Opens and I've done quite
well in them in the past. And, I look forward to this one.
LES UNGER: How about Congressional?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Congressional, I played this morning and
a typical U.S. Open venue with an ultrastrong finish, and I think
17, if that pin goes back left, we'll have some fun. But, I think
it's a very strong golf course, and easier today because the pin
is in the middle of the greens but when they start tucking the
pins away in the corners, which they're bound to do, there won't
be many people under par at the end of the week. And, again,
I like playing a golf course where par means something. And,
yeah, I mean, it's obviously a very strong golf course and long,
LES UNGER: Any questions?
Q. Monty, Tom Watson said the rough here is as long and
as deep as he's seen any U.S. Open course in recent memory. Is
that accurate and how difficult is it?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Sure. I think Oakmont was as tough. But,
yeah, this is as near as a demanding test of golf as we'll find
anywhere because of its length. Usually, we have some holes we
can relax on to make par or even birdie. Even Oakmont, you know,
at least the 9th hole, that type of thing, but here with the two
par 5s nearly 600 yards each, there's no hole where we can relax
and think, you know, we've got ten minutes of relaxation. There's
nothing here. So, it's very, very tough. And, I have to agree
with Tom Watson's remarks. This is as tough a golf course as
we will find. And, it should be.
Q. Colin, you mentioned "Ultrastrong finish."
There's been some dialogue today about the decision to finish
with the traditional 18th hole rather than gerrymander the course
and finish on 17th. What do you think the 18th hole as --
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Great. Great. There's no controversy with
me. It's a par 3. It's got to come somewhere. Why should every
course finish with a strong par 4 or a par 5? Why not a par 3?
You know, my home course at Troon starts with three so-called
easy par 4s. I mean, if they forget to mention the next 15 --
I mean, they've got to start somewhere. They've got to come in
somewhere and they just happen to be the first three holes, par
3 just happens to finish at the last. Fine, there's some great
courses that finish with 3 and this is one of them.
Q. Colin, can a player find his game at the Open or do you
have to be on top of your game and certainly on top of the aspect
of driving the ball well when you come in here?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: You know, that's one thing I do have to agree
with, that there's nobody coming here not playing well won't win.
You have to bring what you might call your A-Game with you, to
use an American term, there's nobody going to find the game here,
no, no. The people in the practice round today with coaches trying
to work on swing thoughts and what have you, I don't think they'll
be on the leaderboard this week. I think you have to bring your
game with you, and certainly I don't think anyone's going to find
it, as you say, here, no, because it's too -- it's far too demanding
Q. Can I just ask a follow-up. I don't know if this was
asked at the very beginning, but with the way you played last
week, how much better do you feel about your chances than you
did, say, two weeks ago?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Just because I've happened to have won last
week, it doesn't affect my chances any more than I would have
otherwise. I just feel that I was due to the last month, I won
the Andersen Consulting quite well, the matchplay in Europe, then
I went on to do well at the PGA Championship and then had a win,
so things -- things are going well. I'm confident at what I'm
doing, obviously, and I'm bringing confidence to the golf course.
But, it's a whole different ball game out there. Thursday morning,
things tighten up and things happen, the course changes and the
pins are in different spots and it will be a different test.
All I can say is I'm confident of what I'm doing and that's vital
to start a U.S. Open preparation with. You have to be confident
at what you're doing. If you're not confident of what you're
doing, you might as well not tee it up.
Q. Colin, you sort of answered my question, but how anxious
were you to get here and when did you get here after winning?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, I mean, I won Sunday evening at Newcastle,
300 miles away from home. Then I had to drive home to London and
flew out Monday evening. Just got here Monday evening and saw
the golf course this morning. Obviously, because I'm confident
of what I'm doing on the golf course right now, I'm anxious to
get going in this tournament and see how I perform. I'm one of
the number of people who are confident and are bringing, you know,
some good games of golf to this tournament. I'm just one of many,
so I'm looking forward to the challenge of it.
Q. Colin, a lot of players are saying they're going to hit
a lot of irons off the tee, and your strength obviously is the
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah.
Q. You're going to hit the driver more. There's some players
saying they'll only use the driver on three or four holes.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, if I had gained a lot of length recently,
I -- well, good luck to them. They're going to have some long
irons into the holes if they do that. I mean, it's okay in practice
when you're -- when the pin is in the middle of the greens, but
if you're hitting 2-irons off the tee, you're leaving yourself
a hell of a lot of work to do coming into the greens. These greens
are going to firm up. They're not getting any softer. This course
is playing at its easiest right now. When you start putting the
pins in the corners, you're hitting 3-irons in there instead of
6-irons, there's a big difference. I think these players who
hit 2-irons and stuff will be, in my opinion, hard pushed to make
pars on some of these holes. You've got to be able to hit a driver
and a 3-wood straight.
Q. How many holes are you going to hit the driver?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Oh, I couldn't say how many holes I'm going
to hit a driver. I use my 3-wood quite a bit. But, it happens
to be a long 3-wood, so, I'm fortunate. But, it goes in between
3-wood and driver. I never hit 1-iron off any par 4 hole. They're
all woods or metals, or whatever you call them, now days.
Q. The guy who said that was Tiger Woods.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, there you go. He's different, right?
Q. Tiger also said that he hits his 3-wood 260 to 280 and
the 2-iron 240.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I said "He was different," right?
Q. What would your numbers be on that?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I mean my 2-iron is just possibly just
short of his. But, obviously, he wins on the sort of wood department.
I think, you know, I mean, obviously he's going to run out of
fairway on a number of holes around here. There's a few doglegs
and you don't want to get too far. And, the widest part of the
fairway is sometimes a little bit shorter for him. But, no, you
know, it's -- I'm obviously behind him. Who isn't on length?
But, I'd like to think I was as accurate, if not more so.
Q. There was a lot of talk at Augusta about Tiger's experience
both before and during the event. You played with him. Do you
think experience here for him is any different than it is at Augusta
considering the type of course he's playing?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I think it was obvious to all that witnessed
Augusta, that Tiger Woods was very comfortable playing that golf
course. And, I think it will come to pass that we see him to
be comfortable playing that golf course for the next decade or
so. Here, it is different where it takes possibly his greatest
asset which is length more out of the equation and gives us mere
mortals more of an opportunity to compete. Put it this way:
The playing field is more level here than it would be at an Augusta-type
of course setup. So, we're looking forward to how he's going
to perform and how we're going to perform against him. Because
we didn't perform at all against him at Augusta. So, we'll see
how we get on here.
Q. Are the players chatting along those lines, Colin?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, we're sort of anxious to see what's
going to happen, very anxious to see what's going to happen here
compared to what transpired at Augusta. As I said, I believe
he's 5 to 1 to win and 5 to 1 to miss the cut. So it's a funny
type of thing. I don't think anyone's been in that position before.
But I'd rather have 5 to 1 on him winning than 5 to 1 on him missing
the cut. So, we'll see how it goes. We're all anxious to find
out how he copes with this form of golf against the Augusta form
of golf. And, I think if he copes with this and wins here, then
we've all got to look somewhere else because if he's winning Augusta
and here, then we're all in trouble.
Q. Colin, can you elaborate on only two foreigners winning
in the last 27 years?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I wish I could. Hopefully it's just down
to coincidence, especially on a British -- all I can mention is
the British standpoint, this tournament seems to be a very difficult
tournament for Europeans, all foreigners to win. I can't put
my finger on why we haven't won. I wish I could. It's just hopefully
coincidence that we haven't sort of won this as much as we have,
say, Augusta or other tournaments around the world. Don't know.
Let's hope it will change this year, but you can't say. You
can't say. It's just -- it's just how it happens on the day,
you know, Nick and I have come quite close obviously losing two
playoffs, but who remembers who finished second? Nobody. And,
you only remember who wins these things and when we haven't --
it always reminds me, Tony Jacklin won 27 years ago now. But,
that was too long a time, and let's hope that won't reach 30 by
the time somebody from Britain or Scotland wins this thing.
Q. Colin, how do you think Tom Lehman is going to be received
this year in terms of being an American defending the title?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, we're quite used to that. Americans
have won our British Open more than most. I think Tom Lehman
is accepted wherever he goes. He's a charming individual and
a very decent guy. And, he will be accepted anywhere. And, you
know, shouldn't be different than Lytham, but the same type of
set up and possibly will blow a little bit more than it did at
Lytham. Lytham is much more inland and Troon is right on the
front. So, will be different, but to answer your question, he
will be accepted wherever he goes. He's a fine ambassador for
Q. You played awfully well in England last week. Relative
to how you've been playing coming into U.S. Opens, how do you
really feel about this one?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, as I was saying, all I can do is be
confident, try and bring my best game to here, and winning obviously
means that I'm confident and I'm capable of playing good golf
right now. And, that's all I can do. That's all I can do is
be prepared 100 percent to try and win this tournament. And,
by winning last week, well, and by having a good month prior to
this, it's all leading up to me having a good time here. All
I can do is try to get into contention here, and hope to get fortunate
down the stretch on Sunday. But, that's all I can say right now.
I'm obviously confident of what I'm doing. But, at the same
time, this course is such a demanding test, that it can break
someone's confidence in a hurry. So, it's a very fine line.
Q. Do you regret the fact that the way the USGA's set up
U.S. Open courses tends to take, at least, some of the short game
out of the test of golf, it becomes much more of a lottery around
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, I don't think there's enough bunkers
around here, that skill. There's still an awful amount of skill
getting the ball up-and-down from a difficult lie around the greens.
It's not so much of a lottery. The skill involved has actually
not been in that position at all. The skill involved is hitting
the fairways and then hitting the greens and then you don't have
to chip at all. That's the skill to me. And then if you do happen
to miss the green, well you've got to be skillful to get up-and-down.
As I said earlier, if I fly home 20 over par on Friday night,
I'll still be a fan of this form of golf. Always will be. This,
to me, is total golf. It starts from when you tee the ball up
on the tee, and the tee shot really, really does mean something
here, more than anywhere else in the world. And, I'm a great
fan of that.
LES UNGER: Anyone else? Best of luck.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Thank you.
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