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September 30, 2005

Colin Montgomerie


SCOTT CROCKETT: Colin, thanks for coming in as always. Many, many congratulations, a fine day's work. You said you were looking forward to coming to St. Andrews, and you certainly proved that to be the case. You must be delighted with that.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, in my interview with the Golf Channel, they said the average score around St. Andrews is 73.5, so my 65 sounds quite good at that stage.

It was very difficult today. I said yesterday I looked forward to coming back and playing St. Andrews just two months after the positive, the positive Open that I had here. Started off incredibly, it's the only course I haven't practiced on. I practiced at Carnoustie and Kingsbarns, but I knew my way around here. I've been coming here since 1988 and I haven't missed a dunhill links, I don't believe, or a Dunhill Cup. And that's 17 years of playing this course and the tournament conditions and professional tournament conditions. I'm just right now very comfortable with this course. I've just got to work it all out.

I'm comfortable around this course in any condition at this stage, from the first shot to the last shot and I just left my putt at last short there. But I'm very comfortable with knowing what to do, and so is my caddie. We can play chess with this course now and we can get around it and that's what I did today. I hit the ball in the right place. When I had to be big, I was big; and when I was short, I was short and we did exactly the right thing. We did well today. That was a very good effort. I started the day in 25th spot or something and ended the day two ahead. That's great day and I look forward not just to coming back here Sunday, but to play Kingsbarns tomorrow.

SCOTT CROCKETT: A nice bonus, you tied the course record, set by David Frost who did that in the Open on the lengthened course. You did that, as well.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I wasn't aware of that. I'd hit my putt hard at the last if I knew then.

Q. The wind?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, it was gusting, I had passed Paul Casey on the 11th and the 7th, we crossed each other, for those of the press who have ever walked out that far (laughter) the 7th/11th crossing, and we spoke to each other and it was almost at the stage where the balls were blowing. They were oscillating but they were not quite blowing off the greens, and it was almost that stage. So it was very, very gusty. It was gusting to 40 at that stage, so, very difficult. 65 with no bogeys in these conditions is as good as I've done, yeah.

Q. Where would you rank that round?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Right up there, when you hear the average score of the day, that's eight and a half less, that's good. Some days you score 63. I've shot 61 in Switzerland, but the average score wasn't eight and a half more than that. So that's probably the best I've done, against the field. It's not the lowest score I've scored obviously, but against the field, it's probably the best day I've had.

Q. Your best score in difficult wind?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I've never really enjoyed the wind in the past. But around here, this is probably the course to play, out of the three courses this particular week, if it is windy. And obviously starting out tomorrow, full of confidence and back again here on Sunday.

Q. How long would you say that you have felt comfortable here, just this year?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I think when you do as well as I did at the Open, it gives you confidence and a positive frame of mind starting the event. I felt at the Open I was beginning to be able to get around, and putting my shots in the right place. And there is a place to put your shots on this course. Yeah, we can do that now. I used to make mistakes. I used to make mental errors, and that's what it is around here. I used to make mental errors but I'm not making them now.

I did look forward to playing here, but I didn't realize I was going to do this well.

Q. Was there a time you didn�t enjoy coming here?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, I had a run in the Dunhill Cup which wasn't very good. I kept losing to our Asian friends, Paraguayan, South American friends, as well, and had a run of three years in a row that you really enjoyed, your sports editors enjoyed making up some headlines for me. (Laughter). So did you. And so I'm glad I was able to overcome that around here. And now having shot 66 in the Open the second day and also 65 here, I'm finding my way around this course.

Q. What was the difference today to your round in the Open, was it ball striking or pressure or conditions?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Pin positions. The pin locations potions and where the holes are located for the dunhill links is a lot fairer than they are at the British Open. The Sunday of the British Open, if you went to the pins, you are going to make you had a chance at making birdies, but you also brought in the word "bogey."

Around here today, the pins are a lot fairer. There are they are a couple of yards further away from hills. There are a couple of yards further area way from bunkers and it makes a big difference arch this course.

Obviously for pace of play, we have amateurs playing that we don't have okay, what, what time did we start, half ten. It was six hours for us as it was. If the pins are located if you leave these pins in Sunday positions at the Open, it would have been a lot longer.

Q. Was there a point, say, a year ago, when you feared you would not have inaudible in your career?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes. Good question. I hope the answer was long enough.

Q. This is a big week for a number of reasons?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It's a big week for three reasons. The Order of Merit is coming up. There's a few tournaments left, and of course there's world (ranking) points and there's also Ryder Cup points. And you know how much I'd like to try and play in the Ryder Cup at least one more time, especially in Ireland. This weekend is very important for me to try and make inroads into getting in the Ryder Cup and also for the Order of Merit. You know, I'm lying fourth right now; if I do do well here, I'd almost get to the first spot, and then I look forward to Valderrama, as well.

So there's a lot to look forward to toward the end of the year here.

Q. How do you cope with the six hours around the course when you are one of the fastest players on Tour?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: You are just aware of the fact before you start. I think if the expectation is you're going it take six hours, so you play accordingly.

The trouble is with me if I'm expecting to go around in four hours and ten minutes and it takes six hours, that's your problem. But expectation here is six hours. Yesterday we were five hours and ten around Carnoustie which is fine, but this as we know is the slowest course of all because of all of the double greens.

So this is acceptable. The amateurs this year I'm finding are picking up the balls more readily than they used to, and rounds are not taking quite as long as they did when we first started this format.

Q. Four birdies and an eagle against the wind, one birdie downwind or is that too simplistic?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, that's far too simplistic. The first nine were slightly down and more across. If I tell that you the wind was coming from, say, eight o'clock I suppose, the front nine, and the back nine it was coming from, say, two o'clock. So, yes, it was slightly helping and across on the way out and it was slightly hurting and into, off the right on the way in. So, yeah, too simplistic for that. And also, sometimes a links course playing downwind is more difficult to stop the ball.

Q. Given your relationship with St. Andrews, what's your relationship with Kingsbarns?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Last time I had to try and make the cut, I missed out here playing with Hugh Grant two years ago and I had to shoot 64 and I shot 65 around Kingsbarns. I did well, that was 7 under and I think did I okay last year. I think I was 4 under playing with Jodie Kidd. So let's hope I can do something similar.

But the weather conditions dictate what you score around there. I think that if it is windy, that's probably the hardest course to score on. It's more exposed than Carnoustie and/or here. So it is the toughest course to possibly score on, and we'll just have to be very, very careful tomorrow and play chess with that course as well. So we're in a position where we can try and win this tournament here on Sunday.

Q. Since the Open your form has been poor. What has thrown the switch now?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I actually played okay, I had two weeks off after the Open and hurt myself at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, and had a decent performance at the NEC where I finished in the Top 10 there, that's always a reasonable performance. And I played okay at The Match Play, just not good enough. I didn't hole enough putts. And last week, that was a busy week for me, that Seve Trophy.

So I haven't played badly. It's just I haven't quite done as well as my Open performance should have done. I just like it here now.

Q. Standing on the seventh tee six under par, did any of your partners say anything?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, they were too wise not to. In different conditions, something might have been said, if it was a fair day and it was sunny, 6 under after six and you have an opportunity of doing something. Not today. They knew that I knew if I could get in with one more birdie there was very few, from the 7 tee onwards; finished 1 under, never mind 6 under after six. So I was very happy to get in without making a bogey and just one more birdie coming in. That was good from the 7 tee. That was very difficult.

Q. This was reminiscent of your 64 at Muirfield?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, that was a good score. I lost the course record here. I think in the old Dunhill Cup days it became 62, but it's nice to hold all three course records here on the East Coast. I hold the course record at Muirfield, 64; and I hold the course record at Carnoustie, 64; and now I hold the course record here at 65 because of the new tees obviously. That's nicer, on the Eastern side I just have to deal with Turnberry and Troon. So that's nice. It's nice to hold course records at Open venues.

Q. Can you explain the difference between the last round at the Open and the challenge of today because we will have to try and explain that to our readers tomorrow?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I shot 72 the last day at the Open and gained ground. The pin positions at the Open were very, very severe. The course was much faster running, which makes courses more difficult to get the ball close to the hole. The grass is slightly longer and it does make the whole thing run a little bit slower, which therefore, makes the course play easier.

Q. Can you comment on the condition of the course?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Considering the amount of play that this course has, and we all know this course must be worn out over the year. Every ten minutes there's a four ball going off somewhere around this course. I think it's incredible condition that the course is in. The course was fantastic for the Open and there's no real difference apart from the rough is the rough was rough here, where there is rough and it's cut back obviously for the amateur players here. But considering the amount of play that this course gets, it's incredible, because it doesn't grow back readily.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Colin, congratulations.

End of FastScripts.

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