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February 21, 2008

Colin Montgomerie


SCOTT CROCKETT: Thanks, as always, for coming in to join us, another tough match, another tough opponent but another good result. You must be very pleased.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, indeed, a very tough opponent and someone that hits a ball a lot longer than me, so you have to figure that out. But yes, delighted with the win and tough -- 1-down with five to go, he just birdied four holes in a row, 9, 10, 11 and 12 -- no, 10, 11, 12, 13, to go to 1-up, and game on, 1-down with five to go, so I managed to birdie 14 and 15 and 17 to hang on. So that was a good effort to be 3-under from the 14th hole in. I needed that. That was good.
A pat on the back, although I can't do that; I'm too old.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Obviously you had the Ryder Cup hat on coming down the stretch.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, I just said that to Golf Channel because I knew that Nick Faldo was in the booth (laughter). Yeah, I mean, Charles had just birdied the 11th to go to all square, and my caddie said, "Right, Mr. Montgomerie, it's Ryder Cup mode." And I was 4-under from then on in, so that was a good effort. He should say that more often. He should say that in stroke play events.
Never mind, we're in the last 16 and delighted to be that way, and I look forward to playing again tomorrow.

Q. At the Target tournament, you were talking very nicely about Boo Weekley --
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Boo. I thought someone was disliking him on the first tee today. They said, Boo, and I said, that's terrible, awful. But that was his name. Sorry, carry on.

Q. That's okay. He was just in here a moment ago and was telling us that he doesn't have a lot of experience with match play and he didn't realize you could concede putts --

Q. There was an incident yesterday with Kaymer where he hit it up to a couple of inches and he didn't give him the putt. I'm just curious what your reaction to that is. He did beat Sergio today.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, he's a very, very good golfer, Boo. Fantastic. I can't call him Boo. What is his name? It can't be Boo, can it?

Q. It's his nickname, yes.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: What's his birth certificate say?
Anyway, I remember Wayne Levi was playing Seve at Kiawah Island, my first Ryder Cup in 1991, and on the first couple of holes Wayne Levi putted up to three feet and said, "I'll finish." Seve said, "No, you won't." He hadn't played match play, either, in the Ryder Cup. I mean, incredible.
We in Europe, and in Britain especially, are brought up on match play golf within our clubs as junior members. We have match play competitions, and we sort of grow up on match play golf. Obviously in America it's not that popular and proven that way with Boo, who's a very, very good player, a top-50 player, and not understanding the match play ways.
He's a very, very good golfer. I saw him -- he was playing ahead of me today against Garcia, and it's always a good person to beat in Garcia, very good. In that American team that Mark Warren and I beat in the playoff over at Mission Hills in China in the World Cup, him and Heath Slocum, he was fabulous. First time I had come across him, but he's a very good golfer, and I expect him to be in the Ryder Cup team, I really do. I think it will be interesting. Hope he has a little bit more experience in the match play game by the time we get to that stage. But I expect him to be in the Ryder Cup. He's very, very good. I was very impressed with him.

Q. From a player's standpoint and maybe even hypothetically from a future captain's standpoint, how important is people playing well here when you're looking to try to select a Ryder Cup team?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I mean, it's the only match play tournament we have before the Ryder Cup, and I think that if I was the captain, I can't speak for Nick at all, but if I was the captain, I'd be watching this tournament very closely. Of course I would, to see who was particularly -- who was down, and the competition that my European team, if you like, would have, and how they're doing against that competition. I would obviously pay a huge attention to it because it is a different form of golf to stroke play golf. It's like playing tennis on grass or on clay. It's a different game, if you like. You know, Nadal has got Federer on clay and Federer has got Nadal on grass. It is, it's a very different form and one that should be and has been in the past, and I'm sure is being by Nick right now.

Q. What is it then about match play? You talk about it being a different game and you grew up with that. What is it that brings such a competition or the competitor out in you and you find it to be so successful?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I just enjoy playing one person instead of 155 others. I find that much easier (laughter), personally. But at the same time, I think that it's the amount of mistakes that you don't make as opposed to the amount of birdies you do, and over the years, I've found that especially in these Ryder Cup situations and my singles matches that I've started out with a goal, and my goal is to make as few mistakes as possible, never mind how many birdies one makes. It's how many mistakes that one doesn't make, and I think that's key in match play, and that's why I've had a reasonable record in the past, because of the fact that I haven't made so many mistakes. And that's what it is, really.

Q. I left my draw sheet next door. Do you know who's in the bracket for you tomorrow?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I'm playing the winner of Cink or Harrington tomorrow, and I believe Stewart is up on Padraig right now. Forgive me for not knowing the results.

Q. Is he one of the eight guys you've played in singles over the years in the Ryder Cup?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Stewart Cink, I haven't played Stewart, no, I haven't, and I haven't played Jim.
I look forward to -- if it is Stewart? He's 2-up with two to play, so he's obviously favored there.

Q. Yesterday Tiger was three holes down with five to play. Would you have expected him to be out?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, no. 6-down with five to play possibly (laughter). That's the only chance of Tiger having -- losing that particular -- 4-down is tough, 3-down is possible, and he proved it.

Q. Just going back to playing match play as a kid, I'm sure everything is very proper and you're a junior member and such, but do you learn some sort of gamesmanship? How competitive was it? Did it get heated at all as youth growing up playing that match play?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Not necessarily. No, not at all. It's just junior golf, but we do it all around the world. The only country really that doesn't -- the Australians play a lot of match play, we in Europe do, I'm sure the South Africans do, as well. But in America you don't seem to play this form of golf. And as I was saying, it's just a matter of not making any mistakes or keeping the bogeys off. And then if someone is going to birdie the hole, fine, let them. But it's always handy to have one in the bank, if you like. That was what I felt when I birdied 14 and 15 there to get 1-up.
If I'm not making mistakes, he's got to birdie coming in. And I managed to play them in 1-under myself, so he needed 2-under, and it wasn't possible for him. Yeah, just the lack of mistakes is the key. So there's no gamesmanship or sportsmanship, it's just a matter of not making bogeys.

Q. Did you have a pivotal hole today?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Pivotal hole, yes. I was 1-down playing 14. He hit a very good 6-iron in there to about 20 feet, and I'm 1-down. I hit a 6-iron in to three feet, and that was key, to get back to all square. Gave me the initiative to birdie 15, as well. 14 was crucial, yeah.

Q. And 15, it was a Tiger Woods putt, wasn't it?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: You mean when it went in (laughter)?

Q. Yeah, it was an unusual --
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: What do you mean it was unusual? Thank you very much (laughter). I love you, too.

Q. According to the card, the front nine you were both, I think, 1-over par, and on the back nine you were way under par. Did you both just find something on the back nine? Are the holes playing a little easier? Can you put your finger on it?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I think there are some changes on the back nine certainly. The 12th hole is sort of drivable. We both birdied that. The 10th hole is one of the easier par-5s, I suppose, and then 11 is a 3-wood and a sand wedge, so you can get off to a good start on the back nine.
The front nine the pins are very tight, extremely tight. On the front nine, especially when they put the pins on the very, very front of these greens with a false front -- the first five yards is false front and then the pins on 8, it makes it very difficult to get close to those holes to make birdies, and that's why you'll find that today the scoring is perhaps better on the back.

Q. Now that you've got through two matches, can you talk about the pressure of coming all the way over here from London knowing you could lose a match and turn around and go all the way back and how that's different from some of the other situations you face?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, it's match play. You can come this distance from London. It's a long way. I was in Scotland and having to fly down to London and across to Phoenix and a two-hour drive down, and if someone scores 7-under you can end up playing 14 holes and go home. That's a long way. Thanks for coming, a long way for two and a half hours' work and then go home again. I read in the USA Today Lee Westwood's comment about how it's very true, do you unpack your suitcase or do you not. It's very true, you can I can relate to that myself. You usually half unpack. Usually you sort of fill the wardrobe, but the wardrobe is sort of empty, packed up. It's silly to not make contingency plans because you never know. You stand on the first tee against all these players and know that it's a 50/50 toss of the coin on the day whether or not you're going to win, really. It's very close, very tight. The standard has gotten very much closer than it was say ten years ago when the Top 10 in the world were ahead. I believe now that anybody in the top 64 can beat anybody else, and it very nearly proved itself yesterday with the 64th guy almost beating the No. 1, and it proves how close these games are.

Q. So you can unpack the second suitcase now?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, I'm not unpacking because I've got to play tomorrow. No, I just continue trying to -- it's a mess now, my suitcase, a complete mess, because I've had to shuffle it all around.

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