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August 27, 2008

Colin Montgomerie


SCOTT CROCKETT: Welcome to the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, always one of your favourite tournaments I know, and your thoughts looking ahead to the week.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, I look forward to this week, living as I do now ten minutes away from here, so this is very different. It's a home venue for me, the way that Wentworth or other venues in the south used to be. This is very exciting for me, to, one, live at home and come and play here. I look forward to it.
SCOTT CROCKETT: The tournament is growing every year, and in your role as Tournament Chairman, you must be very pleased with the way the whole event is growing.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, it is, especially every second year as we know that this tournament now with its date as it has will grow and grow. And this is the strongest field we've had so far for the Johnnie Walker Championship, and we look forward to further growth to get back to the heady days of the Bell Scottish Open which we used to have at Gleneagles which was in the players' opinion, one of, if not the best, European Tour event on our schedule.
So let's hope we can get back to those days, and look forward to The Ryder Cup being here in 2014.

Q. Your thoughts on Poulter's thinking on staying in America.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I can't really speak for anybody's playing or not playing. He has his own schedule to uphold. If he has to play his 15 events in America, he plays his 15 events in America. You might have thought he would have known that before he either entered here or pulled out of here.

Q. You could play two events after The Ryder Cup in America, nothing stopping him doing that.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Right. I'm unaware of the schedule in America. I've never been a member of the US Tour as you're probably aware, so I'm not really up on the schedule.

Q. It would have been nice for him to have played here, certainly; were you surprised when you heard the news?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Not really. Not really. No, he's very much his own man and does his own thing, and fine, yeah. But it would have been nice to add to the fuel I suppose, add some colour to an already colourful event; I'm being diplomatic. (Laughter).

Q. How is your own game at this precise moment?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: A lot better than it was two weeks ago. My game two weeks ago was quite poor in America, and I took a couple of weeks off. I had a holiday the first week with the family, which was great. And the second week I've been practising up here at Gleneagles every day in the rain, which was horrible, but got the job done.
And I feel very confident now to set off in trying to win this event. I finished second when it was the Scottish Open back in 1992, and I would like to do one better this weekend and we'll see what happens. I'm playing quite well actually. I'm hitting the ball well. It's just a matter of getting off to a half-decent start and then continuing.

Q. Would have been easy to interpret your decision to take a couple of weeks off as resignation as far as The Ryder Cup is concerned and more so perhaps with Darren; was that the case or are we reading too much into that?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: You're reading too much into that. Hopefully I'm past the stage of justifying my Ryder Cup potential or otherwise. Everybody knows here, and you know and everybody does, and I'm sure that I speak for the captain, as well, understands my love of The Ryder Cup, and that's how I will be remembered, if you like. So there's no resignation to any way, shape or form of that.
I just felt that I wanted to turn my game around, and the best way to do that was practise up here and prepare for this event the way that I have.

Q. What then do you think you need to do realistically here this week to get in the side?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I have no idea. Absolutely no idea.

Q. You haven't had any contact with Nick?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: None the all. None at all. And I have no idea how he feels I have to perform, no idea. I'll do the best I can, as I always do. And then I'll go home on Sunday and I'll watch on television.

Q. Some people, some players even, are reading into Ian Poulter's decision not to be here; that he might have been given a pick already.

Q. Would you be surprised if that's the case, given that he could still play his way into the team, and if he did that, that would make the team stronger presumably?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Every player that plays his way into the team makes the team stronger. I have no idea what -- he seems to have been a hotline to Nick Faldo for a while according to you guys and reading in the press. I haven't spoken to anybody on that matter, and I'm not sure any other player has, either. So I'll leave that between him and the captain.

Q. We asked you a couple of months ago, at that time, if you were the captain, who you would have picked and you named a couple of names not including yourself. Would your answer change at this point in time?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Who did I say a couple of months ago? Forgive me for not understanding -- Harrington and Donald. Well, then I'd have to change my pick then. (Laughter).
I would change my picks at this stage, yes. But I'm not the captain.

Q. Who would you pick now?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I can't say. Hopefully, and I'm sure it will happen, that the picks are not necessarily for No. 11 and 12 on the list; the picks are for different types of players or different types of players that would help the team in different types of ways on and off the course, and all in the aid of getting Europe 14 1/2 points.
And it's not up to me. I hope to that have decision to make in the years to come, but it's not my decision this particular year, and I'll leave it up to the captain who has been selected to do such thing.

Q. As such a senior player, would you have expected to have had some communication with Nick Faldo at this stage, and are you disappointed not to have?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, good question. I don't know. I don't know if anyone else has had any communication with him. Obviously one person has in Mr. Poulter, but not necessarily, no. I'm not saying yeah or nay to that really, not necessarily, no. I know Nick as well as anyone out here, and I know what he might or might not be thinking.
So no, I wouldn't say either way on that one.

Q. If it should go against you in playing terms, would you consider vice captaincy, given your desire to be a captain further down the line?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No. I'd consider getting my game ready to make sure I make it in 2010. Bernhard Langer did that when he was left out in '99. He was determined, and I knew that, and he told me immediately afterwards; that he made sure to make it. And it actually was the 2001 team at the time, and he made it in 2002, and he made sure he was on the team the next time, and that would be my goal.

Q. If you didn't get a pick, would you watch it on TV or would you want to get away?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes -- no, no. My whole career has been based around The European Tour and its success, and I've been very, very honoured and proud to be part of that success. And being the only European that's won five Ryder Cups, I'm very honoured to be that person. I wouldn't run away from anything. I would be watching and hoping the team would do as well as it possibly can and make it four wins in a row, which would be an exceptional performance.

Q. If at this point you're not able to play your way or get on to the team one way or another, what aspect of your game would you say has let you down as far as qualifying?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I just haven't had possibly the consistency that I base my game around. The good shots are still as good as they always were. I'm just throwing in the odd poor one that's got to be negated. But I think I've worked that out over the last week, and knowing starting this tournament that my best performance will be good enough; I know that, if I play to the best of my ability, I can win here.
That's all I've got to strive towards now is putting one of my best performances together at the right time. I've done that a few times in my career when I've had to win tournaments and done it, and this is another one that I would love to achieve.
So, we'll just wait and see. It's an exciting weekend, exciting week for everybody, because the pick situation I feel isn't as cut and dried as it has been possibly in the past years, and it is very interesting.
So we'll just wait and see of someone's decision. We're not usually left with decisions in golf. We usually make it ourselves by our scores. This is someone's opinion, someone's decision to be made, and it is different to wait for that once every two years. And here we are again on the eve of it, really.

Q. Would you like to see the number of captain's picks in future years?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I've always said that the strongest team would be 12 picks. That's obvious. No one would ever argue with that.
Obviously with playing criteria and what-have-you, that's possibly not possible. But I would, of course, like when it might well be my turn in the future, to have more options available.

Q. You were using technology yesterday on the range --
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: You were watching?

Q. Yes; unusual.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Most unusual. I was looking, this particular course, it's interesting now, this particular course having five par 5s, and they are scoring holes really. With sort of four of them almost reachable for the longer hitters, I feel that I'm going to have to be slightly more aggressive, if you like, to win here than is normal.
And knowing that, I'm looking for another 15, 20 yards off the tee and I was looking for that yesterday with some Yonex equipment and trying to get that extra 20 yards. I think I've got 15 of it. I'm still five short. But we will see.
But that's what I was doing yesterday. I was trying to find launch angles and all kind of fancy technical stuff that I've never been into before. But with a course that five par 5s and that's playing long, and the adverse weather, I'm just looking for the extra distance off the tee.

Q. If you are picked on Sunday night, how confident --
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I'd be pleased.

Q. How confident would you be that the Ryder Cup would inspire to you produce your best, just like it always has in the past?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I think that's obvious; that the Ryder Cup has brought the best out in me. Everybody tells me, "Well, why don't you just play the way you do in The Ryder Cup?"
As Tom Lehman said in America, "We'd be delighted if Monty is not playing." I think that says a lot.

Q. Just to go back to that question about picks, the Americans changed theirs this year, and it seems with the Top-5 on one list and the Top-5 on our list, the Top-5 is pretty much the same for both, so that doesn't seem to have brought about the divergence we wanted. So is it time to go to at least four picks now?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, just because The European Team -- or just because The European Team have won in the last three Ryder Cups, does not mean that our selection process is right. I think that we happen to have, over these last six years, a 12 that for really the first time, all 12 are able and competitive over the Americans. That's proved in the results. Just because we are winning does not necessarily mean we have the right selection process. That's up to debate.
As I said earlier, the strongest team is one with more picks, and giving the captain and giving the Tour more options, and I'd be an advocate to go with that when it's my turn, but it's not right now, and Nick didn't feel a necessity to change that, and that was his way, and we wish him well.

Q. Padraig has been saying good things about you as a partner. That's got to help your case, doesn't it?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, well, being Europe's No. 1 player and the world's No. 1 player right now, that does help. We have had good success together, Padraig and I, and we enjoy playing together and I would love to play with him again.
But yes, he knows that I tend to change when I put on a European sweater, and we've enjoyed our successes together and enjoyed playing together, and especially the last time the 2004 situation when we played together when we beat woods and Mickelson. That was as good a round of golf that I think either of us have been involved with.

Q. Darren is now contending for a spot obviously.

Q. He has to do something significant this week on a course that he said last week that last year that he didn't like at all; is that tough to do?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: He's probably playing down the pressures involved, but great success for Darren last week; to have to go to Holland if you like and in one of the situations, like myself in the past of having to go out and win a tournament and doing it and doing it well. Brilliant performance by him. Put him in pole position, if you like, right now.
So it's a tried and tested Ryder Cup; I believe he's played five himself already, so a very experienced campaigner and obviously someone on form. Definitely pole position, and I for one wish him well.

Q. About playing on a course that he doesn't like?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: A course he doesn't like, I can't speak to him there. A few birdies on, it's amazing how you suddenly enjoy places again. I'm not saying I'm in favour of certain courses on The European Tour, but you look back at the ones you win on, and they become favourites very, very quickly.

Q. I know you said earlier that you've got nothing left to prove to anybody as far as The Ryder Cup is concerned, but in terms of present form, do you feel that over the next four days that you do have something to show?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: To get selected, I think I've got to show form of course, yes. I haven't become a bad player. I'm just sort of out of form and have been for the last month.
But I feel very much more confident having, one, a week's holiday away from the game, and two, to practise here the week before last week and coming here with added confidence.
So all I am is really someone that's not showing the form that I would like to at this stage. But there's a tournament left to go, and that's why we have the field, the strength of field that we have this year, in that I'm one of a number of players that would love to show the captain form at this stage, and I'm one of a number. And I look forward to trying to achieve that.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Colin, many thanks as always. Good luck this week.

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