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September 30, 2010

Colin Montgomerie


GORDON SIMPSON: Okay, welcome, Colin Montgomerie. I know you like to talk, and you will talk after this. I asked Corey, and I'll ask you the same questions, what do you think of these Friday fourballs that are in front of you?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: As I've been saying for most of year now, these matches will be very close, very close to contest against. We have got a good eight on the course that morning. I've got three rookies out there first morning. And I'm happy with that, the five that have played before, obviously.
I'm delighted, actually, very excited as my team left the stage there and walking down, I left them, but they go back to the hotel now, but they are, along with me, very excited with the pairings that have been produced here.
We just look forward now to, what, 13 hours to go, 14 hours to go. We look forward to it now and it's been a long road and great that the Friday morning fourballs are in front of me and it's super to see and we look forward to the matches starting.
May I say, while we're here, this is really been first class from the moment we came here. This isn't five- or six-star, this is seven-star, and I hope you agree, for those of you at the Welcome to Wales Concert last night, a fabulous occasion that was had by all and the way that Opening Ceremony was staged and managed and put on. All credit to everybody associated with Ryder Cup Wales and Ryder Cup Europe for putting on this event the way it has been so far.

Q. Given Corey's gaffe, forgetting one of his players, are you already 1-up?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I suppose that was a mistake. There were two auto cues on that stage, and I was practising on Tuesday, Wednesday there, and I didn't like it. I didn't like the way that it was set up, unfortunately Corey's two last players, one was from Sea Island Georgia, and one was from Duluth, Georgia, and the Georgia threw him. I was reading it myself. I could see it myself from my seat. He just missed the one.
Unfortunately he read the wrong name, but that was just unfortunate. I think he was very, very good in covering his tracks. I think he did a very good job in covering his tracks and making the British Open Champion to miss out.
But at the same time, I think that was okay. It went very well. It was a first-class show up there, and yes, we are 1-up. (Laughter).

Q. A week ago, you said you had your first group of four teams lined up; have you changed at all or is that exactly how you saw it?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, that was how I saw it. It was only going to be Graeme and Rory or Lee and Martin to go first and second.
I feel that the honour should be given to Lee Westwood to hit the first shot tomorrow morning for Europe. I know Phil and Dustin hit the first two shots, but the first shot for Europe is an important shot, and I think that honour should be given to Lee Westwood. We spoke about it this morning, and that was only right to do.

Q. Did you give much thought to how Corey would line his pairings up? And did you guess that he would put Tiger Woods third?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, not at all. I was expecting Tiger to go first or fourth. I think Tiger, being hidden, is a different move. But, as we all know, every point is important wherever it might be. Ian Poulter left the stage, as I said up there, anxious to get going already. He can't wait for 8:15, and anybody that plays Tiger Woods in our team can't wait to play. I think it's the one name that springs to mind, obviously, the one game you look for, the one man you look for in that team environment. And so Ross Fisher and Ian will look forward to that.
It's a very difficult game, mind you, Tiger and Steve, probably the two best putters on the U.S. Team. And in match play, I know myself, if you putt well, it will be a very difficult team to beat. So that should be a great game to view the 8:15 one.

Q. Why do you think he hid Tiger Woods?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I don't know. I don't know. I don't know why, whether Tiger asked for that. I don't know what Corey said beforehand. I wasn't in the room regarding that.
But obviously, the reasons and obviously he had spoken to Tiger, and Tiger was happy where he is. I'm sure there's no one in that Friday morning fourballs for the states team that are uncomfortable with where they are playing. So obviously it was a decision made between Corey and Tiger.

Q. Corey said that they are planning a relaxed family evening for the United States Team. What are your plans?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, we have a team chat at half past six, and then I have the honour of presenting my gifts. Gaynor and I have commissioned gifts for each of my team members here at Celtic Manor, and also the four vice captains. So there's 16 gifts to give away this evening to them, and they are very, very special. It's an honour for Gaynor and I to give them to the team here this evening at 7.00 in the team room. And we'll just have a dinner and we'll retire.

Q. Can you tell us what the gifts are?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I can't at this stage but you'll find out tomorrow what they are.

Q. Poulter up against Woods, how pleased are you that you have Poulter up against Woods and how confident he'll be, and how much of a boost will it be if Fisher and Poulter win that grouping?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, it's like anything, I suppose, when you play the No. 1 player in the world, like Pádraig and myself, to go out and win against Phil Mickelson, I suppose, it means an awful lot. You know, that's the one game that springs to mind within this first session. But at the same time, they are all very important. A lot depends on how Ross Fisher and Steve Stricker play, as well. Ian has been practising well and so has Ross.
It was an obvious choice, they played World Cup together and they play very well together. They are good friends, and obviously, as I said on stage, I wish them well.

Q. Two things, first of all, just to confirm, that was a very late decision to play Lee and Martin first, was it?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, no, not really. Last night it was first mentioned regarding where Rory and Graeme were going to play and where Lee and Martin were going to play. The other two were set and it was just seen that Lee should hit the first shot. I think it's a real honour to do that, and I've had that honour twice, and it's only right that Lee Westwood at this time should have that.

Q. And you are still planning all 12 to play tomorrow?

Q. Going back to the third game, young Ross has made a remarkable rise these four years, and there will be a real hullabaloo, how do you think he will cope?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, he had to come to the 3 Irish Open and actually win the Irish Open. He did it very well. That's the sort of guy, as I say, I was looking for on this team, and there are a few of them that had to step up to the plate, and they did very well. And Edoardo Molinari and of course, Peter Hanson and of course Ross Fisher; they won very late on within the campaign to gain their places.
Ross was the first one to do that. And Ian is a fantastic match player, great putter, and they play well together.

Q. You said everybody is excited. You are excited and the team is excited. Can you describe the feeling, your feeling, about the difference you are feeling now or if you can grab your club and go and play?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Seeing this right now and seeing the length of the course out there, I'm glad my clubs are in Scotland. (Laughter).
There's no way that, you know, when you see this, I've got a big task. I said to you that I would love to be the first Ryder Cup Captain to then play again in 2012, and I'll have to get my game right up to scratch to compete again.
But at the same time, I'm just delighted with the 12 that I'm captaining here.

Q. You've talked about this being the pinnacle for you. Can you explain exactly why this is as important as it is to you?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I've always -- I've probably won a few tournaments worldwide individually, but at the same time, I suppose I'll be remembered more as a Ryder Cup player than I will as winning individual titles. And to represent Europe and to represent The European Tour is a great honour and a thrill for me.
It is the biggest honour and the greatest time of my career, is to captain 12 of my own peers. I look forward to this since it was announced two years ago, and as I say, it's upon us.
It's a thrill, and I've got great support from all of my team members. I respect them all and have really enjoyed the last three days that we have spent together. I look forward to, as I say, presenting very special gifts to them this evening, and onward tomorrow morning.

Q. Are you surprised that Corey left Jim Furyk off with his win last week and Hunter Mahan who was undefeated in five matches two years ago?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I would sort of almost expect them to play together in the afternoon. I think Jim Furyk has always been one of the steadiest, most consistent players in America since I've first started competing in Ryder Cups with Jim Furyk in 1997, and always had great respect for his game.
Obviously he's being used as more of a foursomes man than he would be a fourball, and whether he's tired or whatever, I don't know what Corey said, but you would expect Hunter Mahan and also Jim Furyk to be playing in the afternoon.

Q. Can you explain what it feels like to go out first and hit the first shot in The Ryder Cup? What are the emotions like with all the crowd?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, you know, I've done it twice, hitting the very first shot, but it's been in America. I did it in '95 at Oak Hill and of course 2004 at Oakland Hills. And I haven't hit the first shot in Europe; you can't hit the first shot in Europe, because America have the honour. But I've been in the first group a few times, and it is daunting, there's no question, and it's not for everybody.
And I think in Lee Westwood asking for that position, gave me no option but to give him that honour. And with Martin behind him, a great team, my strongest world-ranked team, and as I say, they have a very tough job in Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson tomorrow morning.

Q. History would suggest that the team that starts fast in that morning session has generally run away with this thing. Especially the European side in the four-balls. Why do you suppose that? And what type of weight do you put on tomorrow's session in terms of the overall picture?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I put a very big importance on tomorrow morning's session. Momentum has to be gained early on and then continued through the afternoon to gain the lead on Friday evening, and that's my goal. My goal is to lead Friday evening if at all possible.
It's all set up for that, so we gain momentum in the morning, that's the plan, and we hold onto it through the afternoon to give ourselves a lead going into Saturday. That's the plan of attack here.

Q. How much does it help knowing Corey is likely to put in the envelope, if needed, Stewart Cink, I would imagine, and how do you react to seeing two rookies together in the final pairing?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, that's a surprise. We don't use the envelope situation until Saturday evening, because there are four reserves coming through. You'll never know what player is in my envelope, and hopefully we'll just give it straight bank from John Paramor and I'll do with that one.
Strange to -- I wouldn't say strange decision, don't get me wrong. Sort of, I don't know, Luke Donald and Pádraig Harrington would not expect to play two rookies in the last game. They wouldn't have expected that.
They are doing. Bubba Watson has had a fantastic year, as has Jeff Overton. Both qualified for the team, and long off the tee; it's going to be wet tomorrow morning. So at the same time, again, a very tough match. But, I can honestly say to you that Luke and Pádraig were not expecting that last game, which is an important game, say we are 2-1 down to go back to 2-all or 2-1 up to get to 3-1; I did not expect Luke Donald and Pádraig Harrington to be playing two rookies in the last match. I don't think you guys did, either.

Q. Is that something you would ever consider?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes. My first match, my first morning at Kiawah Island, I was with a rookie in David Gilford. It was foursomes and the result didn't go our way. We played two very experienced players. But at the same time, that was unexpected. But, again, a difficult, difficult match. They all are. They all are. But unexpected. So, we'll see. We'll see what comes of that. He's obviously spent a lot of time, Corey, in making these decisions, as I have. And there's obviously reasons for this, and the reasons for everybody playing with anybody in any given time. But as I say, unexpected.

Q. As important as this is to you, and as much effort and work as you've put into it, sad you've had to neglect your own game?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, my own game has been neglected for a year and a half now. This has been my focus in my professional career, The Ryder Cup 2010, and this is it now. And we go and retire this evening and we wake up and hopefully, this weather forecast we have overnight can blow over and we can have a decent morning of golf and look forward to the weather improving, as it is due to Friday afternoon and through the weekend.
GORDON SIMPSON: Colin, thanks for that.

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