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July 6, 2007

Colin Montgomerie


RODDY WILLIAMS: 64, low round of the day, tell us all about it.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I got off to a very poor start. Three-putted the second. I don't know where that came from, terrible first putt and a bad second one and I was 1-over after two, and I thought, God, you know, back to level par for the tournament.
And then immediately start thinking about cuts and stuff, I was only one away from the cut mark. I was fortunate to birdie the third and fourth and seventh and eighth. When I get into that there, I can keep going and another three birdies came on the back nine on the 10th, which was nearly reachable; and the 12th was a good 5-iron.
And then I had a number of chances actually on 14, 15, 16, it never went in. And 17, and then I got one at the last, I hit a 7-iron to about three-foot directly short of the pin, a good shot there and holed that.
But as I was saying, you know -- the weather is unbelievable. The two Irish Opens that were played on my course at Carton House were horrendous weather, and the Irish Open that Padraig won was horrific; the Ryder Cup was horrific; this is horrific. And we're looking forward to coming back for the Seve trophy in September. Bring your umbrellas.

Q. You are back using the belly putter?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: A couple putts were four, five and six feet, it's much better for me on these particular putts. I still prefer the short putter on the longer putts but unfortunately I can't use two -- well, I could use two, but I'm not going to. I'd be embarrassed using two. So I get on with what I've got, and it seems to be holing out better, yes.
Everyone said how well I putted at the Ryder Cup in 2002 at The Belfry with that, I never really missed. And I'm trying to go back to that type of stroke. I've tried going back to the short one, this gives me more confidence. I listened to Mark Roe on the golf program on SKY Sports, and he said if I'd used a belly putter in the French Open last week, I'd be French Open champion.
So, I listened to that and took it on board and came out this week with the belly putter, and it's proving it's worth so far, so we just have to wait and see. Tomorrow is a very important round. I want to sustain my position on the leaderboard tomorrow evening. So tomorrow night's a very important round.
But I'm swinging the club well, I'm hitting the fairways and hitting the greens in regulation and giving myself a number of opportunities and some are going in. So this is the way I used to play, the French Open, finishing third and in contention again this week and hopefully the next couple as well.
But this is what I used to do in the mid to late 90s when I used to come to an event and leave finishing third or fourth or win or whatever and sort of go home and not really realize what I had done. That's what I feeling for those seven years that I was No. 1 out here, and it's nice to have that feeling and that feeling has returned.

Q. Encouraging your form with Carnoustie coming up?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, it is, I don't really want to speak about Carnoustie now. This tournament, I've never won this tournament. I've won the Irish Open three times but I've never actually won this one. It would be nice if I could finally win the European Open. I haven't actually won this one, so it would be nice if I can obviously and a great confidence boost leading up to this -- this tournament stands on its own two feet and I'd like to win here.

Q. Was this as good as Wales?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I played a lot better today than I did in Wales, yeah.

Q. When is the last time you played this well?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I never played this well when I won 2005, nothing like it. The last time I played this well must have been 1999 when I won six times out here. That was the best that I had ever played, the year of '99. So we're talking eight years ago, you know.
But it's nice that golf enables me to do that. If I was in any other sport, in football or tennis or whatever the case may be at 44 years old, you're well gone. It's nice to think that after a great career through '99, to start again, if you like, playing that way eight years later, I'm very fortunate in golf terms that you can do that.

Q. If Phil Mickelson can use two drivers, can you use two putters, as it is the club you use most often?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, it has been a club I have been using too often. I wish it wasn't the club that I used that often. (Laughing).
Well, you know, if Phil can use two drivers, there's no reason why someone of that ilk, of that experience and that thought process can use two putters. My caddie would have to have a big think about holding one, but it's not really fees I believe to be honest with you. I'll do my best with the one I've got.

Q. You know about Fasth, but what do you know about the leader?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I know a lot about Niclas Fasth. I see him quite a bit driving down in his motorbike. You won't ever see me on that. But he's obviously playing well. He won the BMW International, took a week off and now he's up there again. I don't know the other Swede leading. I don't know him at all. So I do know Niclas and I look forward to competing over the weekend. That's what I've missed. I've missed the competition out here I've missed because I haven't been in contention and that's what I live for. So it's great that I'm back into sort of contention. He had a great finish in the U.S. Open and then to win the next week, great for him. So let's hope he does very week and finishes second.

Q. Was there a technical change you've made?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, there has been a technical change. I didn't quite know -- I had spent the last sort of six years not swinging the club the way I used to swing the club if you like and I got back to swinging the club the way I used to. And it's sometimes too late. You know, you think about Seve or Sandy, if you like, or even Woosie, who have had back problems in the past, and I did and couldn't quite find the swing that got them to their position in world golf, and I was lucky that I've found it now before it's too late.
Because sometimes, you know, you say to Seve, well, just swing the club the way you used to. Well, Seve, it's obviously impossible to do, because you can't get back to a position. Fortunately I'm flexible enough to do that. I'm lucky I've found it and this is a new era for me I think and I'm really looking forward to this time again that I can do this.

Q. As you get older, do the wins become more significant?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Of course they do, because there will be a time where it will be my last win, sometime. And I do hope that hasn't happened, you know, but there will be a time where it will be a last win. I would like to emulate Des Smyth and win in your late 40s. I'm still in my early 40s, just, and so I'd like to do that. I'd like to still be playing at that level in four years time. But I just look forward to sustaining a position on the leaderboard tomorrow evening. That's key for me right now.

Q. Is it still that good a round on a shortened course with preferred lies?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, it might be a shortened course, but it's very difficult out there. It's nice I'm hitting the ball exactly the way I want to hit it. I'm actually doing it the way I used to do it. I saw shots for the last seven, eight years and I've never emulated that particular shot. It's nice to picture them the way I used to picture them and actually do it.
The last hole for instance, to hit a 7-iron exactly the way I wanted to do it just inside the bunker, hit it with a bit of cut spin on it, perfect, finished two foot short of the hole, just ideal. Even I can get that in.

Q. I saw you playing one of your specials with a driver off the fairway on the ninth?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, I didn't catch that quite well and it must have got a decent bounce. My driver has more loft than any driver out here, it has 12.3 degrees loft often it and that's more than any other player on Tour here. There won't be any player with more than 12 degrees loft on their driver and that enables me to use it as a 2-wood, a brassy if you like. It gives me 15 clubs almost because I do have a 2-wood, as well, so it's great and it does both jobs. You're never going to hit a driver off the fairway exactly the way you want it. That's probably one of the hardest shots you have out here and if you are not swinging the club well, that particular shot will find you out, yeah.

Q. You had a chance for birdie on the ninth as well?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I had opportunities on 6, as well. I hit it to ten foot on of 6 and missed that and ten foot to 9 and missed that. I started to hit the ball exactly the right distance and -- not at all because I wasn't discouraged in the late 90s when I missed the odd one, because I had so many other chances and I gave myself other chances on the back nine and I got three of them and that was okay.

Q. You have been using the equipment for a while now and does that play a part?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, this equipment, I'm with a company now, Yonex, this is my fourth year, but you've got to putt a swing on the equipment unfortunately and the equipment is very good. To put it in the hand that can do it as well as that -- the equipment is good but and it does help if you happen to be swinging the club well, as well and I enjoy doing that. So the equipment is fine. It's just equipment has always been fine.

Q. That loft on the driver will surprise a lot of people out there?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I hit the ball particularly low. My leg through the ball encourages a very low take off with my driver especially so I need extra loft to get some, what do you call it, launch, launch angle is very, very low. I launched that club about eight degrees but it says 12 on it. I launch it at 8 anyway, so I'm at negative four.
If you see a Tiger Woods, for instance, his driver is about 7 degrees but he launches it at 12. So I need all the help I can get. I need a bloody 3-wood, and that's why through my career, my 3-wood always used to go as far as my driver because I have of the launch angle with my 3-wood it actually went as far, but that's me, slightly different than normal.

Q. Is your swing a little more fluid again now?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It's just the movement through the ball. I've always had reasonable rhythm but the movement through the ball, my right forearm used to go under, and these last years, it's been going over the top. It's been rolling like it's a forehand in tennis, if you like, it's been rolling over. And now I've got the movement back again the way I used to come through the ball, and I'm eliminating the left side of the course and that's been key for me and that's what I do.

Q. Can you describe how it makes you feel when you are in the form where you can picture the shot?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, that's super because the number of players, me included over the last years, I wasn't doing that. So it's nice to know that I can do that and that's what gives me confidence on the greens; if it doesn't happen, I'll have an opportunity on the next hole.

Q. Did you give yourself any ultimatum sort of ultimatum after the US Open?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: The second round of golf I played at the U.S. Open was very, very poor, very poor, disappointingly poor, for someone to come in and having looked forward to Oakmont when this he said it was going to be played there for a few years; and unfortunately my caddie and I split the week before, which is never a good time, but that was a particularly bad time and didn't give me any momentum going forward, and I happened to play badly. I putted very, very poorly, and hence you score over 80. It's just one of these disappointingly poor events, one hole, if not the worst event and poor performances that I've ever put together.
RODDY WILLIAMS: Well, Colin you've put one of your best performances in today. Thanks very much and good luck.

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