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June 16, 2006

Colin Montgomerie


RAND JERRIS: We're now joined by Colin Montgomerie with a 1 over par 71 today, even par 140 for the Championship. Maybe just start us off with some general comments about the afternoon.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Severe lack of birdies in my round today. In fact, none. But at the same time, it's not the birdies you make in these type of courses, it's the mistakes that you don't make, and I only made one today, and that's good, very good. So I'm delighted with playing in the afternoon, playing very much more difficult than the morning. The course dries out and becomes very tricky. The greens get quite crusty and fast, so 71 is a good score this afternoon. I'm delighted to get in and get in the last group in the U.S. Open. It's been nine years since I was last at Congressional, so it's nice to achieve that goal, aim, and we'll see what happens over the weekend.

Q. I think the plan tomorrow is use the back tees on 3 and 12.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Great (laughter).

Q. You have no problem with that decision. Which one is the harder one to make the decision which they add the yardage.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, 12 we used the back tee yesterday. It's a three shot hole anyway. It's 570 from the forward tee. That's a par 5 in my book.

The 3rd hole makes a difference, a big difference. When you add 30 yards it was playing 217 today, so if we go back 30 yards, that's 247, so that's a serious hit up a hill, and if it's breezy, it becomes a serious shot. That's the difficult one. The par 5 you just have to hit the fairway the same as you do normally.

Q. I'm just wondering what your reaction to Tiger not making the cut here. He's made 39 cuts in a row in majors in his career.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, it's a shame that all sort of records come to an end, I suppose, or whatever. He tied that record, I believe, and it would have been nice for him to break that. But 40 cuts is you add that up, that's ten years of not missing a major cut, and that's difficult playing against the best players in the world. Obviously he hasn't played much golf over the last month and a half, say, since The Masters, and I'm sure he'll come back.

Q. It seemed as though the fans were quite supportive. I'm wondering whether here in your old age you've become a sentimental favorite.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah (smiling), the New York crowds are different. I can't believe how people can shout that loud; I just can't understand it. But they do, and I knew that would happen on Friday afternoon here coming up 7:00 o'clock and we're finished, and a bit of alcohol was consumed and a bit of sunlight, and you put those two together and you get a rowdy crowd. It was great, very supportive. There was nothing in it at all.

David was going well, and it's nice to see him come back, and most of the support was for David, which was fine. It is great to see him come back onto some sort of form. To be 4 under par at one stage during that round is a great effort, and good luck to him.

But yeah, I expect the same sort of thing tomorrow afternoon. We will look forward to having a rowdy crowd tomorrow afternoon.

Q. You spoke of your severe lack of birdies. You had a very close chance on 7 coming in and you backed off the par putt. Was there just disappointment from the miss?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, disappointment for the miss.

Q. With that in mind, does it make it easier with this New York crowd to be playing with a Steve Stricker or Phil Mickelson or somebody else that may bring out even more of the crowd enthusiasm?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, I don't think so, although no, there should be the crowd favorite is obviously Phil Mickelson wherever Phil plays in the States, and that's quite obvious. I just have a job to do tomorrow and concentrate on what I'm doing, and if I can get 17 pars out of this thing tomorrow, I'll be happy, as well, whatever the 18th one is.

Q. What do you think the chances of somebody finishing under par come Sunday night to win this thing are?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It's possible. You know, there's one guy under par as there was yesterday, and nothing much has changed today, other than people have gone backwards, I suppose. I don't know what the average score was today. Plus 9 is your cut, a bit high considering the good weather conditions, but that proves how difficult the course is.

Put it this way: If somebody does finish under par, they win.

Q. You've always said how difficult it is to win majors in the Tiger Woods era, yet you've paid tribute to Tiger's record. The fact that he won't be there for the weekend does that give you a different mindset?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, it helps. It helps us all. It helps Phil Mickelson, for God's sake. I've always said it's difficult to win majors in this era. It usually takes two of them, so that leaves two available, Phil and Ernie and Goosen and Vijay take the rest of them, so there actually none left now (laughter). Why am I here (laughter)? Now Tiger is not here, of course it gives everybody an opportunity. The one time that he has missed the cut, it would be nice to take full advantage of it, sure.

Q. Can you just identify for us the one mistake you feel you made out there?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I hit a great drive at 14. It's a very difficult drive for me because I can't fly the left hand bunker so I have to go right, and I hit a great drive, 6 iron in, I just blocked it. I couldn't afford to go left. For obvious reasons left is dead, so I decided to go right, and it just went down the hill and I chipped up to six foot and I missed it. God, simple, you know. It can happen on any hole anywhere. I scrambled a couple times at the 4th and the 5th and at 8 to get pars out of it. That was good at the 3rd, as well. I left my first putt about ten foot short and holed that one.

So all in all, yeah, to get out with only one mistake was good.

Q. You talked about the fact that you have a job to do over the weekend now. How much are you looking forward to the fact that that could be a winning job, or is it too early at this stage?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, it's not too early. We're halfway there now. It's about time we talked about winning (smiling). Of course, yeah, I have a chance, okay? That's all it is. My job in any competition and any tournament or any championship that I enter is to try to get into contention on Saturday night, so tomorrow's round is very important to stay in there and to give myself a chance on Sunday. That's all one can do. So my job tomorrow is to hang on in there the way I did today. If I can hang in there and have a chance on Sunday, one never knows. But that's the job tomorrow, to stay in contention for Sunday's round.

RAND JERRIS: Colin, thank you for your time, and we wish you luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts.

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