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July 8, 2007

Colin Montgomerie


Q. Congratulations, Smurfit Kappa European Open Champion - how are you feeling?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It's fantastic. It's a long time coming. Almost two years for a win and it felt like two years waiting for Niclas Fasth to play and Soren Hansen and Peter Hanson to finish. Having to watch them play the last few holes. Very, very difficult circumstances and the last time I did that was in 1992 at the US Open. 15 years ago when I had a chance and had to wait. On that occasion it didn't happen but this time it did. I have never made a winner's speech and said I was unlucky and I didn't tonight. That shot on the 17th was a good shot and was never going in the water. The one at the last was and I don't know how it stayed dry. I played a very, very good ship from that position. A downhill lie, difficult lie, grass against me and made a great up and down at the last to win and it is nice to know that five foot putt to win can still go in. Unbelievable. Nick Faldo had won 30 tournaments and so had I and it is nice to go one ahead of him. It means a lot to me. Someone I respect greatly and gives me added confidence going to Loch Lomond and then Carnoustie. Third last week and now a win here. Fantastic.

Q. Did you ever think you would not win again?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Of course. You have some self doubt and there will be a time where I will have my last win somewhere and I will always remember it. I hope it is not this one but if it is I will savour this for the rest of my life.

Q. The way the ball held up at the last?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I have not had an awful lot of luck especially in major championships over the years and it is nice to have a bit of luck occasionally. I have won the Irish Open here in Ireland three times and of course to win the Ryder Cup here in Ireland felt like another victory here so this feels like the fifth time I have won in Ireland. I feel very comfortable here and my thanks to everyone connected with the tournament.

Q. What does this mean to you?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: An awful lot, less than a month after the US Open to come back and lea after 68 holes last week and lead here, fabulous to come back that way so strong and prove some critics wrong and that I am still capable of winning. I have proved it again. I have proved it to myself and hopefully I can do it again.

Q. How have you changed it around since the US Open?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I was beginning to get my ball striking right and the US Open was just disappointing. I was beginning to get it right at Celtic Manor when I had a 63 and 64 and just wanted to put two rounds together. I did that last week and put four rounds together and did that again this week. I am back to where I used to play, in contention again and I look forward to doing that again next week.

Q. And the week after?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: And the week after, whatever that tournament is (laughs)

Q. You said you are playing as well as in your heyday?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: This is a new era for me. I have moved up from 33rd to sixth on the Order of merit in two weeks. My world ranking has gone up from 48th. It had to do a u turn and moved up to 43rd last week and will be into the 30s this week. Saves me going to that horrible 50 barrier. That means getting into majors and world events so it is huge for me to get up that world ranking scale.

Q. Can you explain this capacity to keep on coming back and reaching new heights?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I am a competitor and the one thing I have missed is the competition and when I am in contention I don't tend to fear it. Some players do but that is why I was fearing Niclas Fasth today because he doesn't fear it either. It is just great at 44 to come back and win again as sometimes that is the end of one's career and I feel this is a new beginning for me and I can look forward now.

Q. This tournament has a quality winner in you but there were some big names not here?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I was disappointed there were only four of our Ryder Cup team but you cannot play every week and I am not blaming anyone for not being here. The weather forecast was awful and caused a few late withdrawals and I am glad I wasn't one of them. As Sean Fitzpatrick from the Smurfit Kappa Group said I have played every time it has been played and I have finished second twice here and it is nice to come back and win eventually.

Q. The putting made a difference?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I have gone back to the belly putter and it has been a great success. I said to my caddie Craig we needed three birdies in the last five holes. I got it at the 14th and 15th and couldn't get it the last three holes. I was lucky to make pars and hang on. I thought I needed to get to 12 under but 11 under was good enough. It is a strong course with Sunday pins making it very difficult and all credit to Niclas Fasth who hit two very good putts into the last but didn't make the putts.

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