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September 29, 2010

Colin Montgomerie


GORDON SIMPSON: I'm going to first of all that just say because the team are heading off-site today, we are going to be very tight for time. So I think we'll just start before people get in. Colin, welcome back here.
GORDON SIMPSON: What sort of day have you had?
GORDON SIMPSON: We hear the American Team had a great night last night with Major Rooney speaking to them. Anything to report in your team room?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No. We invited some past captains into our team room yesterday, because of course, the welcome dinner is being incorporated into the gala event we are having this evening at Millennium Stadium and also Cardiff Castle. We invited some of our past captains, Sam and Woosie were there, and we had a fantastic motivational speech by Gareth Edwards.
Now, for you Americans in the audience here, Gareth Edwards is a legend in these parts and has to be Wales' most famous sportsman of all time, and a fantastic speech we had by him.
Before that, though, before our team meeting, we managed to phone Santander, and the whole team spoke to Seve for about ten minutes; and that was very motivational, very passionate, and also very sad to hear him; to hear the way he is. But still, the passion is very, very strong within Seve for us as a team, and he just wishes that he could be here. Obviously he was invited to be here and as you're probably aware, he couldn't make it.
So that was a real inspiration, especially for the rookies in the team, to speak to Seve, and Seve speak to them. It was on a speakerphone in our team room at a quarter to seven last night. We had a team meeting last night, and it was a very different form the team meeting took because of the passion that was certainly engulfed in that room, if you like, and it was a super time that we had together.
I know, I was one of the few in that room, if the only one in that room, that actually played with Seve in Ryder Cups. I was fortunate to play three Ryder Cups with Seve, and of course, he captained me on my fourth appearance. I've never had anyone as passionate about sport and golf as him.
So that was what we did last night. And then we had a quiz. It was quite funny. SKY Sports had done a good piece and a sort of a question of sports type deal, if you like, but SKY Sports had done it and it was very well done. I think if the team needed bonded in any way, I think these sort of evenings help when we are together like that. And it filled in that evening, because normally we have this welcome dinner, but as you're probably aware, we are incorporating the welcome dinner and the gala dinner this evening.
So unfortunately I'm in a bit of a rush. I've got to be in black tie at half past four in our team room at the hotel. So I've got, what, 45 minutes to go. So it's a rush this week. It's a very, very busy week for all. It's a hectic week, especially the days leading up to competition day. But it's very exciting at the same time.

Q. Pádraig was just in here and he was saying two years ago at The Ryder Cup he felt drained because of the two Majors he won during the summer and you have two players on your side that have won majors over the summer. How are they now?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Interesting. I think a lot has been said about Pádraig's Ryder Cup record. I think the last two Ryder Cups, 2006, I think he would agree himself that I think he was trying a little too hard in front of his home crowd in Dublin to succeed. And I think if you push in golf, sometimes it doesn't quite happen. And of course last time in 2008, he had come off the back of two major wins. I think he was emotionally drained I think during that time, so I can understand that.
Graeme McDowell's win has just given him a real confidence boost; as if he needed one, and he's very, very confident of everything around, on and off the golf course. That happened in June, so he's had time to realise the position that he's now in.
Martin Kaymer's, of course, was more recent. But I was so glad that he didn't have a lapse from that and came back in his very next tournament, and the KLM Dutch Open he goes out and wins and wins well. So I'm glad we don't have that issue that we had with Pádraig in 2006 and 2008 with my Major Champions that are on the team this year.

Q. Going back to the motivational speakers, how did it help when you're phoning those guys up and getting the emotions flowing and then needing them to go out on the course and be calm; how do you translate that excitement and emotion to actually help them play golf?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, it's interesting, you say, the only motivation this team needed was to lose The Ryder Cup two years ago. That's the motivation that my team needed. I think it was protocol that I invited Gareth Edwards down to speak in our team room as the captain of the The Celtic Manor Resort, the honorary captain, as is right. He's the member here and he's the honorary captain of the club, and I think it was only right to get Seve on the phone. Seve is our Ryder Cup and always will be. It's always nice to not ever feel that Seve is forgotten by us or by European golf in any way, shape or form.
So motivation, I don't feel. I just feel it was right for the rookies to hear that passion more than motivation from two of Europe's greatest sportsmen. I don't feel that the need of motivation was there. The passion was there.
But motivated, we don't need motivated. Motivated was by losing two years ago.

Q. Given that Tiger Woods is clearly very highly motivated to face Rory over these next few days, are you minded to arrange your pairings on Friday for that to happen?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, I almost want to avoid that situation. I can't avoid it. There's a one-in-four chance if Tiger plays on Friday morning and if Rory plays on Friday morning. There's a one in four chance that they are meeting up. And then there's a one in 12 chance that they are meeting up in the singles I suppose, and that's all there is.
So I'm not trying to find out of any of the American side where Tiger Woods might well be playing, if he is playing on Friday morning, and vice versa. If it does happen, great, we look forward to that challenge and I'm sure Rory would, too, and I'm sure Tiger would, too. A lot has been made of this challenge, if you like. This is about a team, not about individuals. And my team are set on gaining 14 1/2 points. It doesn't matter who is playing who or who gets them.

Q. Can I ask for your thoughts on the fun and the fancy dress on the first tee this morning and whose idea it was?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I think Rory was quite upset with the comments that were made in the papers about this Tiger situation, and it was a little bit getting out of hand tabloid-wise.
So what we decided to do was find seven wigs, which God knows how people do that, but they do, especially ones looking like that. And the caddies and the players that were playing with him decided that we'll get Rory on the first tee and make him feel part of the team again. And that was the right thing to do. He played magnificent today. So we're all back on level terms again.

Q. At a sports event, do you think it's more appropriate to have sportsmen in to talk to players than military people?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, obviously, I mean, I didn't realise Major, the word; Major Rooney suggested he's military. I haven't known this, so this suggests military is opposed to sporting people.
Motivational, yay or nay. I was after passion. We have enough motivation in our team room. I was just after some passion, and by God, I got it.

Q. In your first Ryder Cup as a player, coming up against Calcavecchia, where does that rank and do you have a personal highlight from your playing days?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No personal highlight at all in The Ryder Cup, not one. This event, personally, this event has meant nothing to me, and still doesn't, personally. (Laughter).
But as a team, and as a European Tour, it means the world, to me. I had ample opportunity to go to America and join the U.S. Tour as a player when I was No. 1 in Europe. Never took it. Always supported The European Tour and the European cause, and that's why I'm here, for Europe. For The European Tour, for the European cause and The European Team.
Personally, nothing.

Q. Are you able to give us a flavour of what was said to Seve or what Seve said to the players?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It was just a very passionate speech that he used to give to the team 13 years ago when he was captain of that team in 1997. He was extremely open about our chances and about the team that has been selected and the team that had qualified. We were just honoured to have him, have his presence in the room.

Q. You say much has been made of Rory's comments. Well, Tiger was in here yesterday and obviously made something of it himself, so it's not a tabloid invention.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, I didn't mean it that way. Sorry. I wasn't aware of that.

Q. Do you feel it might be a bit -- Pádraig was in here a bit earlier and said Tiger may be at his most dangerous this time, this week at a Ryder Cup, because in the past he's always been the No. 1 player in the world and maybe his motivation was there or wasn't, but this week feels like he's got something to prove; do you think he's looking at the Rory comments as something extra to get him fired up?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I think Tiger has come here as a very different individual, he has, and he is part of this team and wants to prove he is part of the team and wants to do well for the team. It is great that Tiger is here. I've always said that; that I was delighted when Corey selected Tiger. I think the Ryder Cup without Tiger, there was a big piece missing last time, whatever the result might have been. I'm glad that Tiger is here this time with something to prove, if you like, and it will be very interesting to see how Tiger plays and how many points Tiger achieves from how many games he might play.
But regarding the Rory situation with Tiger, as I say, there's a one in four chance. I'm going to put my team sheets in tomorrow around 2.00, 2.30 before the Opening Ceremony, and Corey does the same; and if they are both playing, there's a one-in-four chance if they are playing against each other and of course on Sunday that goes down to one-in-12.

Q. What for you has been the biggest difference between being a player and a Ryder Cup captain; and personality-wise, what's been the toughest adjustment you've had to make since becoming a captain?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Just to forget about the playing side all together. This is the first tournament I've really come to without my golf clubs, and it's quite a strange position to be in without actually playing the game, and to get someone's buggy and to go around and to manage other players; to get opinions from my four vice captains all the time, to get opinions of how the players are playing and what they feel and opinions from the caddies and trying to digest all that and put it into context and throw out a team sheet tomorrow afternoon. Quite difficult. It was a very, very difficult job of mine to get to 12 particular players this time, very difficult. I think you understand that within the European setup, this particular time, very difficult to get to 12, never mind eight. I've got to get to eight tomorrow morning from a very difficult 12. And so that's my next difficult task is to narrow it down to only eight. And it's proving difficult.

Q. Did you see that Rory was upset, or did you hear about it or did he come to you?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, I just heard about it. I wouldn't say he was upset about it at all, but at the same time, the other guys felt it was right to doing something on the first tee today, and it was the right thing to do and it was brilliant. They all teed off with Luke, as well, and Graeme, and fantastic to see them all tee off with their Rory haircuts and off they went.
No, there wasn't an issue with Rory. They just wanted to build him up again.

Q. So you heard it from who that he was upset?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I heard it from one of the caddies that had gone out and got these so-called wigs, yeah.

Q. Referring to your previous answer, it means nothing personally, we all have egos, surely parts of you considers your legacy in this tournament and your legacy after this week, your personal legacy?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, not when I'm playing for a team, no. No, I've told my team, there's no "I" in team at all. You can't spell team with an "I". That doesn't mean -- no, no. We are doing this for the sake of The European Tour. Four out of the five of my vice captains sit on -- including myself, four of the five of us, sit on The European Tour Tournament Committee, and it means an awful lot to us within our European Tour to win this event. So we are doing it for George O'Grady down here, and everybody, and I must admit that is -- the setup we have as a European tournament, it's quite fabulous what's been going on and the setup of this whole course.
And it's a showcase for European golf here in many, many ways, and what a marvellous job has been done so far. We just have to get the result right on Sunday, as well. No, I have to say that the Ryder Cup, as long as we get 14 1/2 points, that's my job done.

Q. In relation to the Rory wigs, do you think there's a chance that Tiger might construe it as a bit of Mickey taken?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Nothing to do with -- that was nothing to do with Tiger, no. Nothing to do with Tiger, that situation, no.

Q. Can I ask, when you decided to sort of involve Seve and I would imagine that he was extremely keen to have this degree of involvement?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, he was indeed, yes. Paul McGinley, one of my vice captains, speaks regularly to Seve, and became very close with Seve through his illness and speaks to Seve, on, as I said, a very regular basis. So they decided, the two of them, that it would be quite good if Seve spoke to the team and they put this to me and I thought it was a great idea. So that's how that came around.
It was a great idea. It definitely bonds a team, if it needed bonding, together, very close, when Seve, our legend, if you like, speaks to us within that context.

Q. Colin, did you ever think of perhaps getting a motivational speaker with a military connection, or was that something you wanted to stay away from?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, I go back to we don't need motivated, no. The motivation came from the result two years ago for The European Team. What I wanted to do last night, because we had that free night, if you like, was to bring some passion into the team, as opposed to motivation. We don't need motivated, The European Team. We are motivated enough by the results which happened two years ago.

Q. When you talk about team and Europe and The European Tour, do you think that attitude has made Europe stronger than it already is over the past several years, and also, is there a part of that you feels that that might need repeating if more and more players take up membership on the U.S. Tour or even homes?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: We have been very close as a tour, we have, we treat ourselves and we call ourselves a big family. We are very, very proud of that; caddies, staff on The European Tour, players on our Challenge Tour, we are very close. I think that has helped us in the past, and let's hope that helps us this particular year, as well. It doesn't change anyone's view about individuals wanting to go across to America, but they are all passionate European Tour Members, every one of them.
GORDON SIMPSON: Okay, Colin, thank you very much. Quick change and enjoy the entertainment tonight.

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