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October 3, 2007

Colin Montgomerie


SCOTT CROCKETT: All right everyone. Thanks, as always, for coming in to join us, Colin. Welcome to the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, a tournament you know well.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I do know this tournament well.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Happy memories coming through the gates as always?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It is, yes. Any tournament you've won before, and especially in the last couple of years, tremendous.
Yeah, I've always enjoyed coming here and playing here, and especially around St. Andrews, I've had good success here the last few times we've played and look forward to doing so again.
The weather is fantastic, and then let's hope -- I know there's some rain coming in this evening, but let's hope it can wipe out for tonight and we'll have four good days. But it's certainly as mild as we've ever had it here, and we look forward to a good championship.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Fresh from a stunning single success in the Seve Trophy.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Perfect, leading the order. Nick said, "Okay, you go to your usual position." I didn't have to ask what that meant. But I asked, when was the last time out, and I played Robert Karlsson, whom I rate very highly and I did have a good game and I did manage to get him by a shot. And it's nice to keep a match-play record, if you like, kept going in a singles record that I'm very proud of in everything I do with the singles record.
So I look forward to next week, as well, in the match-play sense. But this week is different, very different. So we have to cope with all sorts of other outside influences this week, and we'll do that and hopefully we can have a successful championship, as I said.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Thanks for that, Colin. We'll take some questions.

Q. Do you relish that, going out first in singles?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I don't personally. I don't personally. It's a very daunting position to go out first to be honest. People have nothing to do for the first ten minutes but watch me. It quite daunting. Don't like that.

Q. Your overall impressions of Faldo as a captain.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I have, yes, a few. He was, as I expected Nick to be. He was himself. He had everything worked out previously, so there was little -- we ate together at nighttime obviously and had chats. But there was no chats really regarding the team selection. Nick had that worked out and I would have expected that.
And I'm glad for him that the team came through in the end. We had a difficult Saturday morning. We pulled back Saturday afternoon and then we had a great, great Sunday in the singles. You know, the order of the singles team seemed to work out very well for him. So I'm delighted for him to start with a very good win, you know, and a decisive win.

Q. I watched a video the other night of you getting a little annoyed at Seve when he tried to tell you how to play a shot in the Ryder Cup (at Valderrama).
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, when you have 58 yards to cross the 17th fairway at Valderrama and someone is trying to tell you how to play the shot, and your partner is in the water and you're on your own and there's a few watching, that wasn't the time to be told how to play it, I'm afraid. So whether it was going to go wrong or right, I had to do it myself, and Nick would know that at that stage.
Seve was much younger. Seve was 41 years old in 1997 and it was almost too young to be a captain at 41. And Seve wanted to play, and he wanted to play that shot for me. And, in fact, I would have rather him played the shot for me. (Laughter).
But unfortunately it wasn't his turn. It was my turn and I had to play it. Hit it to eight feet and made the putt and won by 1-up. I did okay, but I had to ask him just to leave me to it, if you don't mind.

Q. You have played a lot of golf recently, have you got enough gas left in the tank for some five hour plus rounds this week?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Five-hour plus rounds. That would be -- six hours. Yes, fine, especially in Scotland, I get great support here. I look forward to playing here and it's nice to be out on the course for that length believe it or not, even for me.
You know, it is a delight to play the front nine against Robert Karlsson in an hour and 29 minutes, without actually -- without actually rushing, and that's what golf should be. I was brought up on a three-hour round of golf; whether it was three-ball, two-ball or four-ball, it took three hours to play. I just can't understand how the length of time that people take to play this game of golf. I can't fathom it. I'm ready to go when it's my turn, if not before.

Q. Do you think the amateurs should not play on the final day on Sunday?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Oh, that's not for me to say. I enjoyed when I won playing with Michael Douglas there. And although he didn't finish many of the holes on the back nine, he understood the importance of what I was trying to do; trying to win the tournament individually, and he was very supportive that way. And I think that most of the amateurs are. We weren't involved in the amateur tournament at that stage. We had qualified.
But it's a big deal. It's a big, big deal for the 180 amateurs here to make the cut. There's only 20 of which do so. I think that's fine. If it was 60/60, there would be probably a little too much. But only 20 amateurs and 60 pros playing on the Sunday, I think that's about fine.

Q. Playing with Robert first in singles last week in such a short time, not the ideal preparation for this week.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, it's not ideal preparation at all. We were around very quickly. It's just one of these things. You realise that there's a lot of teams playing here. And even if you are first out, as I'm very early at Kingsbarns I think on Saturday, nine o'clock, one of the first tee-off times; by the time you get to the turn, you have to wait anyway because they have not teed off yet because they are starting at the first and the 10th. So you know you have to wait, anyway, whether they are fat or not. So there are a number of teams and that tends to slow the play.
But at the same time, Johan Rupert, who we all know is all fast to play, in his opening remarks last night at the cocktail party, he was mentioning that, please, all amateurs that are out of the hole, who are obviously not going to beat the pro at that particular hole, pick your ball up so we can move on. And he's very strong on that point, and I have to agree with him.

Q. Planning a visit to St. Andrews University this week?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, yes, I was planning a visit thank you very much. Friday afternoon when I'm finished. I was here in the year 2000 -- with Seve Ballesteros here in 2000. It was a fantastic honour to be given a St. Andrews University (honour) and hopefully go and visit there again through the week. It's a fabulous place to be associated with. My daughter's already talking about coming here to university. She's only 15, so it's super that there will be -- and hopefully there will be a connection here for many years to come.
I've always loved coming here. It's a fabulous place.

Q. Ever watched your partner, Ray Romano's show in America?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Never watched. I started watching "Everybody Loves Raymond." I found it on my satellite stations and very funny. He's coming in this morning. I think he's landed already and he's out on the range, so I'm going to meet him shortly for the first time, discuss our tactics. It won't take long. (Laughter).
And also playing with Nick and also with Huey Lewis will be interesting, as well. Two big golf fans. If you look at his stage sets, Ray Romano's stage set, there is a golf bag in his house under the stair. I was watching it last night. I said, "My goodness, there's a golf bag there."
He's obviously very keen on golf and on the PGA Tour Web site explaining his love of the game. And a lot of these events and takes his golf very seriously, a 13 handicap I believe and takes the game very seriously. I look forward to playing with him and having a bit of fun.

Q. (After seeing him last week, do you think Nick will make a good Ryder Cup captain)?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, because I've always said that Nick would be a very, very good Ryder Cup Captain. There's no one with more experience in Europe than Nick. There's no one that's won as many points as Nick Faldo in Ryder Cup history, and with that brings the word experience.
I think he was definitely respected by all of our team, our Seve team, and the Continental European Team when he spoke to everybody on the Tuesday evening; knowing that around about half of that crowd will be upon his team come September.
So he was exactly the way I thought he would be. I thought he would do the team on his own, if you like, put in the selections in on his own because he understood what was going on. He understands The Ryder Cup and match play like nobody else.
So, yes, he was exactly the way that I anticipated him to be. I think a captain needs respect, and there's one thing that Nick Faldo has above anything is respect, respect of the players of the The European Tour.

Q. Do you respect Paul McGinley's decision to step down from his Ryder Cup Vice Captaincy?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: In a way, yes. In a way the question will be asked. You'll have to ask him. But it was surprising in the first place to sort of accept, and it's always more difficult once you've accepted to then decline one's acceptance, if you like, later; to resign, if you like.
But I respect what he's trying to do.

Q. Lessons to be learned there for when you are captain?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I think so. There's lessons to be learned there, yes.
To me, the best selection that we've had in the last ten years of a vice captain, I truly believe, was Thomas Björn's selection in 2004 for Oakland Hills. And that was made the day after Thomas didn't make the team at the BMW tournament a month before the event, and he was given an assistant captain's job and did a brilliant job at Oakland Hills for our team under Bernhard Langer. That, to me, is when the assistant captains and vice captains should be selected, a month before the event, when we know the team and we know that certain experienced Ryder Cup players haven't made the team, if you like, and they can help the captain at that stage.
Very little I think that a vice captain can do now to be honest with you. So I think if I was in that role, I would hopefully select a Ryder Cup vice captain a month before the event.

Q. Is it fair to say Order of Merit race actually begins here?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It did in 2005 when I won the Order of Merit, the race for the Order of Merit started with me winning here and that gave me a great chance to go forward; and took it to the American Express tournament the week after and then the Volvo Masters. There are some big events, of course there is, and this week and next week for me is very important, not to win the Order of Merit, but to do well for Ryder Cup points through Christmas.
But I'm sure Harrington and Stenson and Justin Rose are looking at that, as I was, back in 2005.

Q. If McGinley makes the team, will there be any difficult atmosphere in the team room?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Not at all. Not at all. Nick's respected his decision and there's no -- there will be no atmosphere if and when Paul McGinley makes the team, not at all.

Q. Long way to catch up on Order of Merit but do you think you can still do it?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: You know, do well here, do well next week, I'm top; not bad.

Q. Is that still a goal?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, not at all. I got a t-shirt there, with 8 on the back of it. And if it happens to be 9, it happens to be nine, no, it won't change. I've been there, done that. I don't need that. If I have to do well and do well next week, I mean, very well, yes, I've got a chance of winning.
But as an Order of Merit, no, that's not a goal and never will be a goal anymore. It was a goal but it's not now.

Q. What would be?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: To get my World Ranking higher. It's 45th as we speak and that's too low for me, and I've got to be -- well, too high for me. I've got to be lower, and that's my goal, to do well in these events, to get enough points to gain -- to raise that World Ranking.

Q. Of course you can almost cement your Ryder Cup place if you have a good end of year?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, of course, yes, as I did in 2005 for the 2006 team. I was in the team almost by Christmas. I had three great events. As I said, I finished third in the Volvo Masters, third in American Express and third here. I was in the team and this is what I'm trying to do at the end of this year is try and gain as many points as possible to take the pressure off next year.

Q. Talking of goals, what did you think of the three Rangers scored last night?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Excellent. All three of them fantastic. We've got the French in football right now, it's incredible. I mean, to go to Lyon and to win there, fantastic result. Mind you, the most important result that night was Oldham nil -- Leeds one. Another win for the mighty Leeds who have now played nine, won eight, drawn one and they are still bottom. (Laughter) That's tremendous.

Q. Would it help you to be a Vice Captain before you became Ryder Cup captain?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Possibly. Possibly. I think most captains have been vice captains before apart from our current one. I don't think Langer was, nor Woosie either. I think Sam was and I think Mark James was and that type of thing. But the last two haven't been because they been so big in the game themselves. You can't really see Nick Faldo being vice anything, can you, really? That's not going to happen. And a little bit to that extent, Bernhard Langer as well. And if asked, of course, you know, I'd be delighted to help as I've always said. I'd be delighted to help the European cause in any way, shape or form, whether it be a player or as administrative role.

Q. Playing vice captain?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Playing vice captain -- yes, could be.

Q. If you weren't playing and you were asked --
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Of course, I would be delighted, because that would be helping the European cause, I hope.
SCOTT CROCKETT: We're all done, Colin. Thanks as always. Good luck this week.

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