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September 24, 2008

Colin Montgomerie


RODDY WILLIAMS: Welcome to the Quinn Insurance British Masters. It's a tournament you've obviously won in the past, a strong affinity with, and can you sum up your thoughts coming into this week, please?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, I've had a couple of weeks off. And so, I am refreshed and raring to go. And yes, I've won this before at the Forest of Arden, I believe, a few years ago, and I enjoyed playing The Belfry. I've got good memories here of my Ryder Cup time here, and I think we all enjoyed playing the golf course. I think it's in good condition considering all of the sort of weathers that we've had over in England and I think that it's good we've got a strong field. Unfortunate that a number of The Ryder Cup players are not here but you can understand that. It's a week of intense pressure that we've got two of the side, and we'd like more but that's just the way it was this particular year.
And I look forward to playing.
RODDY WILLIAMS: You've just been out in the Pro-Am, how are you getting on this morning and how were your playing partners?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Fine, yes, we did okay today. We had a good morning and as I said, the course is playing well, and we should have a good week. And the weather is set fairer, so it's good, which is high pressure coming, we haven't had that; excellent.

Q. Was it difficult for you last week?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Difficult for me? No, I never made a mistake and never made a bogey or a pressurized situation, so it was fine actually. I wished I was there obviously and it makes me more determined to make the side when we play in Wales, especially after having lost, that the Welsh Ryder Cup is a bigger, more important affair I think now that that has gone, and you know, you cannot win a two-horse race all the time.
Disappointing in a way, going there expecting to win, and coming away with a defeat. So at the same time, everybody tried their hardest and that's all one can do.

Q. No amount of --
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, no, no. Won, I've always said I would never put my name forward to be a captain of The Ryder Cup, but I hope you feel the same way as I do; that I haven't played my last Ryder Cup shot yet.

Q. What would you have done differently?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Obviously everybody becomes an arm chair critic, everybody does, including me, who has been seen and done more than most within the tournament. So I've become more of a critic than most. But at the same time, it's not my position to say what I would have done differently. I have my own views, and I'll have learnt from what was done in Valhalla, as I have learned from what Langer did what Woosie did what Bernard Gallacher did, and James and Torrance have done, captains that I've played under. I've learned and taken notes from every tournament when I've come back from it so that when and if I have the opportunity of doing that job, I will have everything already covered.

Q. So what could you have kept the same then?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Certain things would have been done the same and certain things I feel I would have liked to have changed.

Q. And your career in politics is starting when?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Very good questions. I have my own thoughts and they all stay aboard.

Q. Where did you watch it from?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I was at home. I was at home in Scotland and then I came down to London during the Sunday. I listened to the Radio 5 commentary actually. I know Iain's here, but at the same time, fantastic commentary on 5 Live. I think it's an incredible show and it's the first time that I've listened to it -- well, it's the first time I've listened to it, because I've always been there. So of course I've never listened to any radio programming of golf.
And I think it's a very difficult game to paint a picture of and to get the atmosphere of, and I think John and Iain's and the team are fantastic, listening to what was going on. Fabulous to paint that picture in a radio sense. Very easy to say what's going on when you have a picture in front of you, very difficult not to.

Q. What did you think of those two who brought a cardboard cut out of Monty to Valhalla?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Fantastic. Somebody said, "Monty's actually there." It wasn't actually a card board cut out of me. Believe it or not I've never worn a kilt of that nature. It was someone else and it was my head that was put on the card board cut out, but good on them, and they are obviously Scots and felt I should have been there in some way, shape or form.

Q. That was the general opinion that you should have been there, and perhaps Darren.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It was said in your radio pieces and also heard on television commentary and in your pieces post Ryder Cup, that the result might have been different if we had had the same qualification system as the Americans being eight and four picks and there for allowing Darren and I to have played.
We didn't, and we didn't, and it's all hypothetical. So unfortunately that was the case.

Q. If you got the job would you change the number of picks as Azinger did?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: If I -- I think Paul Azinger was very strong to go to the American PGA and demand a change, having lost five out of the last six Ryder Cups; a change had to be made for their setup. And I'm sure that that change will remain for the next captain and the next post. I think that's a thing of the future now, that eight and four seems to be the way to go. And we'll be having chats accordingly. Because we won five out of six Ryder Cups doesn't necessarily mean that we have the right qualification system in place. We just happened to have holed more putts than the Americans did and the Americans holed more putts than we did this particular time.
But at the same time, it gives you more options, it does and if I am the captain and it has not changed by then, I will certainly be asking for that change by the time that I possibly do this job.

Q. Who would be your choice of captain for Celtic Manor?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, yes, it doesn't seem -- it seems that there's no one really that is completely outstanding. Sandy Lyle's name has been mentioned and he's the last of our five major winners of that era that has not yet captained the team, and it would be nice to see him captain the team.
But at the same time, I hear was's being mentioned as well and I hear Jose Maria as vice captain, it would be normal to take over I suppose, either would like to get back to playing -- he's 2 1/2 years younger than I am, get back to playing or doesn't want that responsibility this time.
Nothing stands out right now.

Q. You obviously feel a lot with the players; do you feel as much for the captains as the players?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Goodness me, oh, dear, I feel for the players, I do, because I see them and I'm with them. We travel together and I feel for them, because I know what they have gone through. I've lost three Ryder Cups and luckily I've won five, and I've lost three, and I know exactly how they feel coming home. Having lost twice in America, I know what the flight is like coming home and I know how everybody is down, however many points you get individually, any individual success goes away. You just haven't got the magic 14 1/2 that's required.
To answer your question -- I can't answer that question.

Q. To what degree do you feel that Nick Faldo was responsible? Do you think he got the best out of those 12 names?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Going as favourite -- going as favourite to The Ryder Cup, the first time we have ever really gone as proper, proper favourites, Ireland, we were favourites, but the first time I've ever travelled to America as odds-on favourites, and to lose 161/2, 111/2, and to see some of the ways that some of the guys -- yes, it's very difficult for me to say.
I know from hearing from some of the guys the situations and some of what went on that possibly, possibly, not.

Q. When you were home on Sunday, would you have known the singles lineup; did you anticipate the end result?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, the lineup of the singles was very important, being 9-7 down, very important. And it had to be absolutely bang-on right and there could not be any discrepancy over the order of the singles, at all. It had to be absolutely spot on.

Q. If you were in the team room on Saturday night when they were discussing singles draws, would you have agreed to it?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: The way it worked out?

Q. Just the way -- you were there in 2002; would you have reminded them of the history?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It occurred to me. It occurred to me that, unfortunately, Poulter and Westwood and Harrington are three possibly our strongest players, might not, might not, might be, but might not be, included in the final shake up. If those three players had been playing higher up in the order, they absolutely would have been included in the shake up of what happened.
So I would have certainly viewed a comment as to Curtis Strange when he famously put Mickelson, woods and Davis Love out 10,11, 12. No. 12 has happened once in the whole history of The Ryder Cup since 1927. Once in the whole history of The Ryder Cup has No. 12 ever mattered, and it was Langer in 1991 against Hale Irwin. That's the only time that No. 12 has ever mattered.

Q. Don't you think that a lot of the problem was that no matter the order, that the big problem was our top players just didn't perform; Garcia and Harrington --
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Garcia, Harrington, Westwood, you would have to include, definitely Lee Westwood in that. I would say him and Harrington especially. Unfortunately didn't get the necessary points required.
But at the same time, it's always in these Ryder Cups and it happened in 2002 here. It wasn't the fact that Sam top loaded anything. It was the fact that -- the reason we won The Ryder Cup in 2002 here was that our four rookies on our team, not one of them lost the singles. They all got something out of their singles, all four rookies, and that was why you win or lose The Ryder Cup. Their rookies proved stronger. That's what it was. The Mahans, the Boo Weekleys, I forget who else there was on the team, but anyway, they performed very, very well, and that's why, and a lot of them -- a lot of them were picked.

Q. But the point is, they just didn't play well --
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Or they were not allowed to play well enough by the way the Americans started. And we know playing away from home, how the crowd do tend to play a major role, especially in America, and it is difficult when an American Team get up, it is very, very difficult to claw that back again. In America, to win The Ryder Cup in America, we generally, apart from '95, which was a one-off, generally we have to be ahead going into the singles, and we were not this time. We were 9-7 down, and then to lose that first game, to be 10-7 down, we were not coming back from that.

Q. In your experience, past Ryder Cups, was singles order discussed among the players or is it imposed by the captains in general?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Oh, it's generally and it should be, and I don't know what happened here, but it should be -- yeah, it should be discussed, of course. The order of the singles is a most, most important order, especially when you're down. Especially when you're 9-7 down, or ever down. The order of that singles is vital.

Q. You said you keep notes?

Q. Is this a Ryder Cup captaincy book you've had for a decade?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, I've always learnt from others. I learned from Nick in my early years when I played with him here in '93. I did, I learnt an awful lot from Nick Faldo playing here when he was No. 1 in the world. I learned a lot from Bernhard Langer.

Q. And made notes?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: And actually came off the course and wrote stuff down and I've kept it. Now why I've kept it, I don't know, but when it might come or whatever, I don't know, but I've always asked questions to Nick and I've always asked questions of Langer, and Sam Torrance, as well, and whenever it might be my time, I will be -- I will be very well prepared, because I will have learned from both sides.

Q. When you sit down with the committee next month, will there be scope for Woosnam to be called again for Wales?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I mentioned earlier on, because Ian did such a great job, and there is no particular -- at this time we have not picked a Ryder Cup captain for four years, since we selected Ian and then Nick. So this is different for us to sit down and have a think about what we've put to The Ryder Cup board. But at the same time, yeah, we've got one of our major champions that's left that has not actually done the job yet, and then there's Ian, because it happens to be where it is, and the job that he did the last time in Ireland.

Q. Talking about sandy, has he been hard done by terms of Ryder Cup selection and vice captaincy?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Ryder Cup selection, as you all remember, last time he played The Ryder Cup was '87 and he was selected in '89 and told Tony that he was not playing well at the time, and I believe gave Christy O'Connor his chance and he took it well and has not played in The Ryder Cup since sandy, which is a shame, because he is probably most talented of any of them.
And it would be a shame if sandy somehow misses out on that particular honor of being the captain of The Ryder Cup Team. So he's the last one to go. So I would like sandy to be that way. I think it would be only fitting that his four colleagues have done it in Seve and Langer and Woosie and Nick, and I think that Lyle is the last on that list.

Q. Do you speak to other members of the committee before that meeting about their views before the committee actually meets?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, I don't think that's necessary. We'll discuss it at the time.

Q. Did Azinger show that Ryder Cup captaincy does, in fact, matter?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Oh, yes, Ryder Cup captaincy matters, yes. I don't think Dave mar had a problem in 1981 with the American Team. That was not the problem, I don't think. Ken, were you playing on that team, the famous American Team that the late Dave Marr captained was the best ever, and I don't think there was a captaincy issue there, when you put Watson and Nicklaus together, that wasn't a problem.
I think when you're trying to get the best out of people and what have you and the case may be, I think that Ryder Cup captain does matter, yes.

Q. Would that be your major point for the captaincy?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I think it would be a shame for him because there are no other outstanding candidates at this particular time. There's nobody that -- we have an era that I'm personally not ready yet. I don't think Olazábal wants it yet. And then you're going to Jimenéz, the Clarkes, and they are not ready yet, either. So I think we've reached an area where it seems like it would not be Einstein to work out the next three Ryder Cup captains from here on in. Par.
RODDY WILLIAMS: Thank you very much indeed and good luck this week.

End of FastScripts

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