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May 23, 2006

Colin Montgomerie


GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you very much for your attendance this afternoon. It's good to see very nearly a full house for this announcement with Colin and Papillon Golf Resort. First of all, I'd like to announce the top table. From the far left we have Gary Johnston, who is a designer with EGD, European Golf Design. Next to Gary is Colin, and next to Colin is Mustafa Nazik who is the president of Papillon Hotels.

First of all, I think Mustafa, would you like to see a few words to start with.

MUSTAFA NAZIK: I would like to say a nice warm hello. I'm happy to be together with Colin, the No. 1 golf player in Europe, to design our golf course . The Papillon Golf Club with the Montgomerie course, it's about quality, and quality means Colin Montgomerie. I'm not going to say more words about it. We it will be best the best in Turkey with Colin's name. The Papillon name, it's one of the top in turkey. We have four hotels and then we have our next project, we have two more hotels, one in Istanbul, and also we have two more golf course projects. We are happy to work with Colin, and we look forward to being together in the future also. Thank you for coming here today. (Applause.)

GORDON SIMPSON: Would you like to say awe few words?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, thank you for your attendance today. This is another big project for me as well, especially coming off the back, I hope a successful Nissan Irish Open last week where the weather unfortunately played its part. I hope it doesn't this week, either. I'm delighted to be associated with this Papillon Hotel and Golf Course and Turkey. And I look forward to going down with Gary on a number of occasions in construction and building what we hope will be yet another good tournament venue, and you never know, one day in our ever expanding European Tour that we have a Turkish Open, and would love it to be played on this particular golf course.

GORDON SIMPSON: What are the principle traits of this Montgomerie Course compared to the likes of the one in Dubai or Carton House?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Most of my courses have a unique feature in them being that they are of punishing hazards, meaning bunkers. This will be no different, and this will be a tournament venue, one that we hope will encourage British and French and German tourists down to this area, where, of course, you know, we can't buy a tear, but 330 days of sunshine. We just can't buy that here, and it proves it yet again where we are today.

And depending on the lie of the land and what we've got to work with, this will be very similar to the Irish Open course at Carton House as we saw last week.

GORDON SIMPSON: I think we'll open up to questions now, please.

Q. Is it your intention to try and build an inland links then in Turkey?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: This is on a coastal resort, so we have a real links this time. (Laughing).

We tried to build the inland links in Ireland. I don't know what you guys feel, but I think it was a very successful project. And unfortunately the Irish Open is going away from Carton. They are taking the Irish Open around the country again, but we were lucky to have that for two years there.

This will be different. This will be a true links. This will be on a coastal resort with pine trees and also with links land. So I look forward to building along with Gary a fabulous golf course.

Q. It's built on sand?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, very sandy subsoil.

Q. How many courses will that be for you again?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Oh, goodness, I don't keep count thank goodness, but roundabout a dozen now, 15, in play, and say half a dozen more, at least, in the signing and construction stage.

Q. How much time do you have to devote to a project like this?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I just wish there was more than 24 hours in a day. I'm very, very busy trying to play tournament golf and also have a business part of my life. It is very busy, it's very busy, but I've been coping okay, and hopefully cope again.

This will take a few visits down here. I want to get this one right, as I have with all my courses. This has got great potential here. As I said, you know, this is one of my greatest honors, actually, to have a European Tour tournament played on one of your courses like last week. I've love this to happen again here.

Q. Is it kind of the work where you would be sort of on the site, or is there as much work sitting and looking at plans?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: There's a lot of work looking at plans, of course there is. You only get to see the real thing when you're there, and I plan ongoing down on a number of occasions down here and enjoying the whole aspect of it. I really do enjoy this, I do. I've played enough bad courses to know what's good, and this will be one of them, I can tell you, this will be a good one.

Q. Want to name some bad ones?


Q. Just going back to Carton House a second, the problems seemed to be on the first day, certainly the exposed two fourth and fifth greens being exposed.


Q. In links courses you get dunes which actually protect the ball, can you talk about banking those greens slightly?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: We might make some changes there. Nothing is perfect first time out. If Augusta was perfect first time out, they had have left it alone. Augusta changes every year we go back there. This might change. We might get a little more protection, but we have to realise, that was freak conditions that we had there on Thursday. There was 60 mile an hour winds blowing. Now, that was a very, very freak type conditions that we had in May. That doesn't happen very often.

So it was very unlucky that the tournament had to be stopped, and of course, it couldn't unfortunately take as much rain as it had. The drainage is fantastic on that course, but eventually with anything, nature takes its course. I was very happy with the way the course stood up, considering the conditions that we had.

Q. Carton witnessed one very notable incident yesterday morning. Darren Clarke, his lie was improved overnight by whatever was left, spectators or whatever, and he chose not to take advantage and played his ball chipped out on to the fairway as he would have done the night before.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I didn't see this but I've heard about it from players, and that just proves what a character Darren Clarke it, right. Very easy for Darren to have hit that ball an awful lot further than he did. Sometimes when heavy, heavy rain comes down, it flattens the grass around the ball. When you put back a ball, of course the ball appears to be in a better position than it was. And the rules state that you don't have to recreate the lie that you were on, but place the ball back where it was. The ball appeared to be a lot better than where it was and that proves what a character Darren Clarke was, and it's only a shame that he don't go on and win the tournament because of that.

Q. The irony is that he actually left his ball there overnight.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Oh, really? Again, I wasn't aware of that fact. But around the ball, when it's heavy, heavy rain, it does eventually flatten the grass. Just a shame that he couldn't go on and win.

GORDON SIMPSON: Since we're talking about course design, there's been a few changes to this course. Have you had the opportunity to play today?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I played this course today, Wentworth, and it's a very, very different golf course from what we've seen in the past, it's 300 yards longer and we believe, 2 to 2 1/2 shots harder around, which over four days is 10 shots. The winning score last year was 13, the second place was 11. So you're roundabout level par winning this thing now. I remember the days when I was winning at 17 , 18 under; those days are gone around here.

This is a very, very difficult golf course now, very tough. All the par 5s have changed, and that was the way around this course. You used to birdie 6, 12, 17 and 18; you score four 68s and you score 16 under. It wasn't that difficult.

Now these par 5s have all changed. 4 is a lot, lot longer. 12, the ditch has come in right and left. 18, you can't reach. This is what makes this course tough. Whenever you can't reach the par 5s in two, scoring goes high, and this is what will happen this week to Wentworth. It will find that the winning score will be roundabout level par, especially with weather conditions that we're going to experience.

Q. Do you approve of the changes


Q. given the technology?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Given the fact that we haven't done anything about the golf ball going as far, we have to change the courses.

What we have to do is change the golf ball unfortunately and make it less go as less, because in five years time, what we've done here will be out of date. We can't keep doing this. We can't keep borrowing land from other courses and other private gardens and all sorts of stuff that they had to do here. So we have to do something about the golf ball. I've said that for years. I'm not alone in my views.

Q. Jack Nicklaus has in particular been a champion of a different or smaller ball. Are we reaching a point where someone has to make a decision?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: We are reaching a point a decision has to be made, yes. We cannot keep spending money, keep, as you say, extending, using new land. That we don't really have to do. We don't have to borrow new land. We have an option. We can change the golf ball. Environmentally friendly, more friendly. We don't have to spend as much money. Very easy thing to do is change the golf ball. Much simpler. I'm talking for us, not everybody. Just for our standard.

Q. So you would have a professional golf ball?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Professional golf ball, yeah.

Q. My question is for Mr. Nazik. My question is about the total budget of the project.

MUSTAFA NAZIK: This project totals around $100 million. It's including 600 for a five star golf resort, and also an 18 hole golf course with the academy. This is one of the best golf courses, that's our aim to have with this project.

Q. Just going back to the course, what length will it be?


Q. And that will be off the back tees?


Q. What about yours?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Same tees, come on. (Laughter).

Q. Your prospects of this week, you have a great record in this event.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I have a good record here.

Q. It's been an indifferent season.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It's been a very indifferent season. That's very kind of you to put. (Laughter) And let's hope that things can change around when I feel as comfortable as I do around here. I think it's obvious that I have a reasonable record here and I want to try and use this springboard, if you like, to feel as comfortable as I do on a course like this. Hopefully this is a springboard to a decent back end to this year.

Q. How concerned are you about your game?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Not probably as concerned as you are.

Q. I'm not concerned at all. (Laughter)?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, if you're not concerned, neither am I. (Laughter).

Actually I practiced a lot better today and got my rhythm and better timing. I look forward to challenging here this week, I do.

Q. And the changes to the course don't change how you feel about it or your chances? Do they improve?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Not at all. It's improved because I'm not such a long hitter anymore, I think it's taken away some hazards that long hitters can still drive into. So iron play, there's actually more good not hitting the ball around as far here than there was before.

Q. You said the same about Augusta, didn't you, the lengthening?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, I keep saying the same thing about every course.

Q. That it didn't harm you.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It doesn't harm me. I got unlucky at Augusta, spun off the green and that was that. Sometimes you lengthen a course and it favours the short well shorter hitters, I'm not a short hitter, but shorter.

GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you very much, everyone.

End of FastScripts.

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