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February 8, 2006

Colin Montgomerie


GORDON SIMPSON: You haven't been able to raise a glass to Johnnie Walker yet - maybe change in luck this time?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It was 1991 or '92 that Nick Faldo left his putt short and it went in. Anyway, that was very close. I came very close and I've come close in other events. I just hope that I can do better here and win. It would be great to win again, fantastic, kick the season off if you like. There's only been a few tournaments since I won last. Nothing much has happened since. And I've played well enough and I'm looking forward to getting a podium finish at least, and if I'm in a podium finish once or twice the door will open and I'll stand on top of it.

GORDON SIMPSON: The start of the year, European No. 1, an interesting little match at the end of the season.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, a great year, Ryder Cup year, of course, and there's a lot to play for, a lot for me to play for. I look forward to it. Yeah, I look forward to every year, and this is no different. I've had a Top 10 already at Abu Dhabi and my game, I feel very confident playing here, so we'll see.

Q. hen you were in Australia last year your goal was to improve on 80th in the world or whatever it was?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I set myself a realistic goal I felt of the Top 25, and anything other actually was a bonus, and it certainly was a bonus to get back in the Top 10. It doesn't change my goal for this year, which was to get in the Top 10, and it still remains that way, to finish this year in the Top 10 and I'll be doing my best to try and do that.

Last year was an amazing year, from 25th and 28th on the Order of Merit, it would have been great to finish in the Top 10 even in Europe, never mind win the thing again. That was a real bonus at the end of the year to actually win the Order of Merit again and get back to a position that I felt very comfortable in through the 90s. And again, I feel very comfortable in that position. I look forward to playing the whole year as European No. 1, if you like, defending champion if you like and the whole season. I enjoy that position. I feel more comfortable in that position than I did otherwise.

Q. With the PGA Tour schedule in 2007 the way it is, have you thought about playing more in America)?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Not particularly, no, no. I always play my best golf where I'm comfortable. I've been comfortable here in Europe here in Europe, on The European Tour, and I play my best golf when I am comfortable in an environment and where I belong and among one's peers and what have you, and I look forward to supporting The European Tour for the next however many years I have playing this game at this level.

Q. There will be a lot of ranking points in these events?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Sure, provided that I'm in the Top 50 I'm quite happy. The reason I missed out on three events last year, The Match Play, the TPC and the Masters was because I wasn't in the Top 50. Now, hopefully, now I'm well in that and will stay in that until my career comes to an end. So I have no problem with that, no problem with it.

Q. Can I ask you about the course?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: You can ask me. That's your job isn't it? My job to answer. (Laughter).

The course, yes, we all know the back nine from our days when we used to come down here. But we've never seen the front nine before. It's a very different front nine this year. The greens are very severe. And one has to be quite careful with the pin positions. It will be interesting, the front nine. It's not long. It's by 2006 standards, not long, but that doesn't make it any easier. You have to be very careful where you position your ball off the tee; and therefore, the second shots coming into the pin and that's where I usually have done quite well.

So you have to find a way around this golf course and you have to think your way around, and it's very demanding this week mentally as well. I think it's a good course. We always come down to Australia and find courses in great condition, and we've come to expect that, which is wrong. But this again is in tremendous condition. The Aussie courses are always set up the way that we like them, which is hard and fast greens, very true greens, and good facilities and that's what we find here again.

Q. How about this year? You missed one cut?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I missed the cut in Dubai last week. Abu Dhabi, I finished sixth the first week out, and that was fine. Last week I wasn't mentally prepared the way I probably am normally for a tournament. And I put that behind me, put that on one big wave behind me and move on to this week and I feel confident again. Yeah, I feel good.

As I said, I'm looking for a podium finish. That's what I start every week for and I look forward to being there come Sunday afternoon. And this week is no different.

Q. Was it the off course events which meant you weren't fully attuned last week?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: That's obvious to all. I was mentally prepared to be in London all week, and thank goodness it finished early and so it enabled me to fly out on Tuesday night arriving into Dubai Wednesday morning, which didn't give me much preparation unfortunately. But I needed that first tournament, if you like, and now I'm ready to go again, back to where we do our best if you like.

Q. Are there many full driver shots out there?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No. I think I used my driver about four or five times in the round, which is unusual nowadays, you know. So, yes, you have to think. You have to think a little bit sort of Valderrama-ish, if you like, there's not many drivers out there, really.

I think it's a good thing, and it takes away some people's assets and brings in other people's assets. It can make a good par 4 or a tough par 4 to make a score on; you don't need to make it 495,000 yards long. Some of those holes are only 420, 410 but very demanding, and you have to position it. This is what we have to have more of, as opposed to just for the sake of lengthening it more. We lengthen it, sometimes it doesn't work and it goes into the favor of other players.

But this particular week isn't. I generally, being older and the way I play the game, am more comfortable this way than another wiser. (Laughter).

Q. How did you spend two days kicking your heels last weekend?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I was very fortunate last week because missed the cut is never a good thing for any of us at any level, especially me. But I was very lucky that I was opening the Montgomerie Club in Dubai, and the facilities there I have to say are very, very good, but they are. And I'm very comfortable, there's 19 rooms now above the clubhouse.

And I practiced there with my caddie, Alastair. And we flew out when we should have done, Sunday night, and I spent two days practicing as hard as I have for many years. It worked out fine; I just wasn't playing next door but I can handle it.

End of FastScripts.

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