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February 27, 2008

Colin Montgomerie


RODDY WILLIAMS: Thank you very much for coming in and joining us, and welcome to the 2008 Johnnie Walker Classic.
RODDY WILLIAMS: You've obviously just played in the Pro-Am, could you start us off with your first impressions of the course here and golf in India in general.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: India in general; I can give you a more detailed view of the course, if you like. The course is great. I think it's in great condition and very tricky. I think with the wind gusting as it's going to do Thursday, Friday, especially, it will keep the scores higher. And I think it's a good golf course. It's a very good golf course.
I look forward to competing, and I always look forward to competing in the Johnnie Walker tournaments around the world from Johnnie Walker World Championship days and Jamiaca to me being chairman of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles and, of course, the Classic here in Asia. I always feel comfortable playing in these tournaments, and look forward to another one starting tomorrow.
RODDY WILLIAMS: You've obviously come here playing pretty well. You've had a couple of good weeks and a few good rounds last week. How are you feeling.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, I was beaten by the eventual finalist by the fact that he holed more putts than I did, and in match play, that counts. I've driving the ball very well, as well as ever, so I look forward to trying to score around here, I really do.

Q. Coming to India, what does that reflect about world golf? When you started out in your career, did you ever think that you would be traveling to China, India, Thailand for golf tournaments?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No. Not part of The European Tour, anyway. Europe's expanded, and we've got bigger. In fact, I'm off to Korea in two week's time, which I never thought was in Europe, either, but anyway, never mind. The EC has got bigger. I never thought we would be playing here, no, not at all.
We have five tournaments in China, and two now here in India, which is super, and let's hope that this is the start of many more in India, as your country develops the way it is, not just in a sporting way, but in an infrastructure way, as well.
I think that golf, it's great that we're able to play and able to give more opportunity. My golf course design business is going well and I hope to design courses here in India so that we can give opportunities to your many, many people in the population that want to play.
I believe there was one school -- I was just playing with my Pro-Am partner saying that one school alone, there's 15,000 in one school that wanted to play golf here in Delhi. Now, we don't have the golf courses to fit that 15,000, so let's hope we can come here in the future and build an opportunity for these children to enable them to play the game, because without opportunity, I'm afraid there's nothing.

Q. Are there any plans for to you design golf courses in India?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I hope so, yes. There's certain meetings this week while I'm here and we hope to do that. We look forward to it.

Q. I wanted to ask you, you've been playing the Pro-Am, it also reflects how corporate India is getting into golf in a big way. What kind of conversation did you have with them that reflects that business goes beyond doing business on the golf links?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, it's interesting how corporate India is now playing golf. We always feel that -- we always say that we hope one day everybody plays our game, and golf is that way. We have certain celebrities in Britain, David Beckham is one, you've probably heard of him, and his celebrity charity day is a golf tournament. Tim Henman, the tennis player, his charity day is a golf tournament. Racing drivers, everybody, we can't do what they do, but they all play our game. Kapil Dev was playing today, your famous cricketer.
We have many, many rounds of golf that are with corporate executives, and that was today. Again, I today I played with I think your general manager of your WLPGA, and also your -- I think it was Indigo, your new airline here in Delhi, your domestic airline and talking about Airbus. But it was all very interesting, away from the game of golf, and yet we are walking around playing golf, and it's great to do that.

Q. How strong is the Indian challenge, the Indian field?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Indian challenge is very strong. I believe the Indian Masters was won by an Indian player, and Jeev Milkha Singh won the Volvo Masters just last year (2006), so there's a very strong challenge from Indian players. They have more opportunity now to play the game, and they are taking an opportunity and working hard at it and see the rewards available to them. And all credit to them for coming out and working hard, not just on their game but in their fitness and their mental approach to the game, and it's paying off.
And I believe that there will be at least one Indian competing here, and I mean competing well; competing to win, which is great for the country and great for Indian sport.

Q. Different question. When Colin Montgomerie retires, who is the next Scottish golfer to take your place? Is Scottish golf healthy, do you think?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I think we're going through a transition. We've been going through a transition for 30 years, like our rugby team. We go through a transition right now; we never come out of it, really. Our transition with football is the same.
At least golf, I suppose I've managed to play on The Ryder Cup team for the last few times, so at least I have some representation. And if I don't play this year, we might not have a representative, well, for the first time in modern history, so we've got to get going.
There are Scottish golfers coming through, but not to the same as the other home countries, the Irish and Welsh and English have more coming through.
So we have to work on that and build on that. We have, but there's nothing particularly coming through. Marc Warren springs to mind, my partner in the World Cup, which we won in China. He's got great potential, only 26 years old. He's the best of the bunch, and let's hope we can have more of his talent coming through.

Q. There's a young amateur, McIlroy --
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, unfortunately he's Irish. Irish and Scotts are pretty close. We could sort of transfer him across, because he's very good, he is, yeah. He's got great potential. But yes, he's Irish, I'm afraid.

Q. Getting into the U.S. Masters, how much does that weigh on your mind this week?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Very much. So this is the reason I'm playing, really, for the next few weeks is to gain as many World Ranking points as possible. I gained a few last week and moved up from 62 to 54, and I've got more to do this week to try to get in the Top-50 and stay there when the cutoff for the U.S. Masters comes, the only (major) tournament I'm not playing in. So I need to get in that, because I'm a great believer if you're not playing in the tournament, you can't win.

Q. What is the greatest Ryder Cup moment for you?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: The greatest Ryder Cup moment? My word, we don't have long enough. We'd run out of battery power here, I'm afraid.
I think the best feeling I've had was holing the winning putt in 2004 when opportunity was given to me to hole the putt and actually achieved it, which was good for me. It was only 4-footer. The trouble is, it was expected to go in, and they are the hardest ones when you are expected to do something, they are the hardest ones, and I'm glad it went in. That's probably the best moment I've had here.

Q. Golf is a sport of individuals, how have you achieved success in a team format like that?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I enjoy that team environment. My favourite sport is cricket, which is I'm just rubbish at it; I wasn't very good. But I did enjoy playing it and enjoy watching cricket, and that's a team game, very much a team game. It can't be done on your own. I think that's that spills over to a Ryder Cup format, to a World Cup format to my team participation. I tend to play and I tend to play better in them, and I'm very comfortable in that environment; and therefore, I'm better at it I think than having to do it on my own.
So if anybody wants to help me, you're very welcome. I don't have a bad record on my own, but I have a better record in team competition and I am more comfortable. And if you are more comfortable and enjoy something, I believe you are better at it. So that's where I stand with team golf, I do tend to enjoy it; and therefore, I'm better at it.
RODDY WILLIAMS: As an individual this week, hopefully you'll enjoy it. Thank you and good luck this week.

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