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September 17, 2004

Padraig Harrington

Colin Montgomerie


JULIUS MASON: Hello again, ladies and gentlemen. As you know we've got hopefully a handful of players to come down so we're going to try to get through this quickly as we can. I'll go ahead and open it up to Colin Montgomerie with some comments about the match today and we'll go to Q&A after we get a comment from Mr. Harrington.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Thank you. Obviously, the last game is 2-up now with two to play. So providing, you know, no disasters, it's been a very, very good opening day for us. I'm not speaking on behalf -- Bernhard will come in here and tell you an overall picture. All I can say is on behalf of Padraig and myself, we've had a very, very good day. We've very few days in Ryder Cup play have I personally enjoyed as much, and in anything, if you enjoy what you do, you're usually quite good at it. So we really enjoyed playing together. (Laughter). And that's the third time we've done this and we've been quite successful together.

You know, all we can do is look forward to the next couple of days, but at the same time we have a long way to go. We know that, as a team, we've been here before. It's a long way to go. There's three very important rounds of golf to be played yet and, you know, we've got off to a good start but that's all it is. We know if we can have a good day like that today, I'm sure the U.S. Team can do the same tomorrow. So we have to be on guard and we have to keep playing the way we have as a team today.

JULIUS MASON: Mr. Harrington, as happy as Monty, are you?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: That's for sure. Obviously we had a very good day on the golf course. Any time you win both of your matches. But it was an enjoyable day. We got on very well. Obviously we had momentum carried on from this morning into this afternoon. You know, the right things went for us at important times when anything was put up to us, we seemed to come back at the next hole and make birdie. So we had a good day.

The only thing I can say is we've now got ourselves in a situation that we've kind of put ourselves up there for the U.S. Team to come back at us. So it's going to be a tough -- tomorrow is going to be a very difficult day. The U.S. Team are obviously going to have something to prove and come out tomorrow very strong, all guns blazing. It's going to be a tough day for us. So it will be interesting to see how it goes tomorrow.

Q. For Monty, any surprise at all, or did it pretty much go as expected today?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I don't think you would expect, say we don't lose the last two holes, I don't think we would have expected 6 and 1/2 points out of 8, no. So it's gone a little bit better than we'd expected.

Q. What's your secret with match-play? What makes you thrive in this arena and this venue?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I choose my partners very well. That's key. I had a very, very good one last year -- and you know, three with Bernhard and one with Padraig last year and two with Padraig now. You know, the last partnerships, that's six matches and that's 5 1/2 points. Choosing partners is vital and I've been very, very fortunate to be given good ones.

But at the same time, I do enjoy the format. I do enjoy the team format of this competition. That's proven.

I just enjoy being part of a team, possibly more than I do having to play myself.

Q. How much of today's enjoyment relates to just going back to '99 and the time you had there and being able to come out and play good golf in front of a good crowd and that whole thing?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It was to you, Colin.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, pity. (Laughter.) In '99? No. I had more fun today. (Laughter.)

Q. Along those lines, Monty, it seemed like the crowd treated you very well, as opposed to 1999, any thoughts on how you were treated today in?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Thank you very much.

The crowd were very fair. I'd like to say that today. Obviously, the cheers were louder, you do know in these competitions who is playing at home, and you do know that the cheer for the home team is slightly louder than the team playing away from home, and that's obvious.

But the crowds were good today. They cheered good golf and that's what we're hoping for and we hope for more of the same tomorrow.

Q. It looked like you and Padraig were getting along fine as usual, did you sense that Phil and Tiger looked comfortable or felt comfortable with each other at all out there today?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, you know, it's difficult for anybody. We went out and birdied six out of the first eight holes, and they birdied the first four, first off in a Ryder Cup match and the tension and the situation. We did particularly well. You know, we got them on the back foot early on and it was important. We had to do that. We knew that, if you give Tiger and Phil an opportunity, they are going to take it. And we took that opportunity away from them early on.

So, nothing against their play. We happened to do particularly well.

Q. This is your seventh European Team that you've been on, changing tack with it, is this the fittest team you've been associated with of the seven? (Laughter.)

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I think it's the youngest. So therefore, possibly the fittest. (Laughter.)

I think people are beginning to look after themselves better than before. I think Darren and myself and Lee are looking slightly trimmer than we have in the past. I think, to answer your question, yes, I do think it is, yes.

Q. Did you get the sense that your teammates fed off the way you guys started and then they saw you guys putting up the numbers early, did you guys sense that that helped your teammates and how important did you see this match as far as setting the tone for the day going out there?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: We definitely felt going out that was going to be a very important match. You know, we knew what was ahead of us and we kind of felt that was worth more than a point based on the fact that the U.S. guys were expected to win; that we were put out there first to lead the U.S. Team. If we could put anything up against them and even stem the tide, get some blue figures up there, it would help the guys behind. That was the thinking in our team room. When we did get ahead and kept ahead, it definitely gave some momentum to the rest of the team.

It was very important for us and we did feel like if we could get a point in the first match out, it was worth more to the team than just the one point. The others would gain a little from us, as well.

Q. When you got up to your ball at the back of the eighth green, I think your reaction was "Wow". Can you talk us through the shot you played and how highly you rated that shot?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, it was how highly Padraig rated it, really, to be honest with you. I didn't want to leave him too much to do. They were on the green, and we didn't want to -- we just --

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: The timing of it was so important.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: We had just made a mess of the --


COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Seventh, to do particularly well to birdie 5 and 6. We had a bit of a mess at 7 and it was important to keep the momentum going. So it was important for us to get up-and-down. The shot necessitated a shot that I had to hit sideways, directly sideways and it just happened to work. It was one of these things that worked well and it kept the momentum going because then Padraig hit a superb shot on the 9th. So instead of looking like going back, sort of you know all-square or, you know, 1-up or all-square, we're suddenly 3-up and it changed the tone of the day.

So it was important to keep -- when you have momentum, it's so important to try and keep it out there.

Q. Colin, in '99, you had a similar lead as a team and things kind of went awry at the end. Is there anything that you can take from '99 outside of the crowd issues, but take as a positive out of '99 that you'll apply as a team on these next few days?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I think I'd like to answer that question for you. I think our captain is due to come in here, I believe, is that right, after the day's play. If you want to ask him that question, I think he would answer that in a more appropriate manner than one just one of his players. Sorry, I don't mean to be, but he would answer that question in a more appropriate manner.

Q. How did you rate Colin's shot on 8 and what were the blustery conditions and how they affected it, the play today?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: The conditions were very difficult for foursomes. That was for sure. You know, swirling wind, gusting at times, greens firming up, getting faster, it was a day that you were thinking, keep making pars and you would do well.

Thankfully we made a few birdies. But to be honest, Colin shot an ace. It's amazing how circumstances change. I hit a good 4-iron in there pitched pin-high and we could have walked up, and it was unlucky to finish where it was because it was stone dead. We felt there was no way of getting up-and-down. We had just messed up 7, and all of a sudden this match is going to go away from us.

Colin hit the perfect chip, unbelievable, and it won the match there and then. The fact that our ball got stuck up in the fringe behind was a stroke of luck for us, because Colin hit a chip shot, turned that hole around and then all of the sudden we won the next three holes. It was, in one shot, we won the match there and then. The whole momentum swung towards us and from there on, we could do no wrong.

JULIUS MASON: Mr. Montgomerie, Mr. Harrington. Thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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