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October 3, 2010

Colin Montgomerie


GORDON SIMPSON: We have Colin Montgomerie with us, and you turned a two-point overnight deficit into a three-point lead going into the singles. I suppose that's the stuff of dreams, isn't it, in Ryder Cups.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, very much. I think I would have taken 8-all, there's no question, even at the start of today. I knew the Americans would come out strong. It was our job to even come out stronger than them, and as soon as Lee Westwood holed his first putt from 40 feet down the hill on 10, I knew that what we had said last night and what we had said in the team room remained; that is Americans were going to come out fast and we had to come out faster.
All credit to everybody in that team today. I have always said it takes 12 to try to win a Ryder Cup. And all 12 on that course today performed brilliantly. And in my time, and it's been, what, 20 years since I first started playing in The Ryder Cup; I truly believe that that was one of the greatest days for European golf that we have had. To turn a two-point deficit into a three-point lead was quite amazing today. And all credit to everybody; to top America winning a match, fantastic.
There's mentions for everybody. You can go on and on for everybody. But we have to mention the Molinaris. That's no question about that. They were 1-down playing the last, they knew they needed at worst a birdie, and you know, Francesco backed up by his brother, to do what they did at the last hole, two rookies, two brothers coming down that last hole with everybody that plays golf in Europe watching them. Fantastic performance to hole that putt at the last by Francesco and fabulous, and it gave us a big difference, 9 1/2 - 6 1/2 to 9-7. Big, big difference. Special mention of them.
But special mention of all 12.
GORDON SIMPSON: Francesco has got a tasty little match tomorrow in position 8.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: This, as I said, all this would be pointless today if this isn't continued tomorrow. Yes, we are tired, of course. The USA Team must be tired, as well. But there's no resting here for our team. We are going here as if it's tied to try and win the singles session. That's our goal. Our goal is to win the singles session tomorrow, and if we do that, of course we'll win. That's our goal is to win the singles session as if it's tied tomorrow and there will be nobody backing down from that goal tomorrow, at all.

Q. Are you fearful that complacency might in any way overcome your team?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, that's what I just said. There will be nothing like that. We have to -- Brookline was mentioned in the locker room there tonight. We were 10-6 up at Brookline; we lost. This isn't as good of a position as them.
So there is no, ever, mention of that word in our locker rooms, never. We respect the American Team fully. They are a very strong team, well managed, and we just have to go out there and do exactly what we did today.

Q. What was the thinking behind changing Ross Fisher with Pádraig? It's obviously worked out tremendously. But what was your thinking behind it.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I just felt Pádraig would play better, and his partner, whoever it might be, would play better if Pádraig was the leader of that particular group. In fact, I think to be honest with you, I think Ross played fantastically well. There is a reason why Ross played fantastically well, because he had someone of Pádraig's stat your with him.
I played well with Faldo. I played well with Langer. There was a reason for that; because I was with them. And I think that was why that pairing was put together -- well, I know it was, because I did it. (Laughter).
And it worked out brilliantly.
GORDON SIMPSON: Moving along swiftly.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I have to say, Pádraig was under pressure. He lost his first match. He was under pressure here, no question. You had given him a hard time. Not his problem and not his issue, but he's been given a hard time by being selected here. Hopefully he'll realise now why he was selected. There was method. There was method in everything I've done here, from the moment I've been selected as Ryder Cup Captain, there's been method in what I've been doing here, all right. There's been method on why I selected Pádraig Harrington for this team. He spoke brilliantly last night in the team room. He's been brilliant off the course, and he's been brilliant on it.

Q. You're sounding quite pumped and a little emotional. In all of your experience going into the last day of a Ryder Cup, have you ever been as pumped and as emotional?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: 2002 I was when Sam put me first. I knew what that meant. I managed to pull that one off. But no, this is a completely different feeling to captain a team, a team I'm very, very proud of; and you know, they have made my job extremely easy today by playing the way they did. There was a couple of games there on the 14th tee that were on the edge.
The Americans were having the upper hand there to an extent. They were beginning to pull back. There was a couple all-square and there was one 1-down. To get 2 1/2 points out of that was quite incredible.
Emotional, no, no. We're just all focussed on the goal ahead tomorrow.

Q. Have any of the Molinari brothers spoken about the possibility of playing Tiger today previously, and if so, what have they said and how do you think Francesco will get on? And secondly, how happy are you that at least everybody has won half a point going into tomorrow?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I think it's important for everybody. I think the Molinaris will start on the first tee, you know, three inches taller than they were when they started the round today. I think that's fabulous for them. They are going to walk very tall onto that first tee tomorrow after what they achieved this evening. Somebody has to play Tiger Woods. Francesco hits the ball so straight and so well through the green; it's a difficult game, he's playing the world's No. 1 player. They are all difficult games. Anybody there can beat anybody at any given time.

Q. Is this a day, do you think, when Rory McIlroy really fell in love with The Ryder Cup and realised to his great pleasure that it's not an exhibition?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, very young man, and very talented young man, and I think he realises that now that this is a whole different ballgame, this. And especially playing at home, he's quite fortunate to have his rookie year, if you like, at home. It's a very different feeling.
Ian Poulter has not played at home either and neither has Miguel Angel, and although they have played five Ryder Cups between them, they have never played in a home match, and it's a very, very different feeling to be playing at home and I'm just glad that Rory will now talk about -- whatever happens tomorrow -- will talk about The Ryder Cup experience in a very different light.

Q. By the look of the singles order, we are going to win the first six matches -- (laughter) -- and Tiger and Company are going to be left out in the country. Could you explain your lineup, what made you decide to front-load the order?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, it's been noted that we are three points ahead. And if you notice by the first three names, especially, on the American Team sheet, and how strong they are, we had to counteract that with our own strength. But there's no strength -- there's no extra strength on this team. As I say, anybody can beat anybody in this format and these matches.
I can only control what I put forward there, and I feel that team lineup has strength everywhere in it. I'm very, very happy and delighted that I can put a team sheet out there knowing, knowing that fact; that I have strength everywhere.

Q. You talked last night about the importance of the crowd injecting passion into play today.

Q. Is there a danger that tomorrow, it could actually be rather flat, because we have no idea how many people are going to turn up? The organisers have said that only people with tickets for today can turn up, and quite a few of them I assume will be going to work tomorrow?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Quite a few of them might need a sick note. (Laughter).
I think -- well, I'll let you know what's been said here regarding this. It was up to the organisers to allow people with a Sunday ticket in tomorrow. Now, we all know that Monday is a working day, and a number of those won't be able to watch the matches tomorrow.
We did ask if it was possible that everybody with a Friday ticket could come in, as well. Now, there was a health and safety issue here, as you're probably aware. Today, it was touch and go whether any spectators were out on the course today at all.
So imagine if all 40,000 today turn up and all 40,000 Friday turn up, the course just couldn't cope. So unfortunately, we have had to, so-called, limit it to people with the Sunday tickets, and I think that's only fair.
We do hope that as many people as possible with Sunday tickets will turn up tomorrow and support The European Tour.
May I also give mention of the green keeping staff. To make this course playable for 1.30 was an amazing achievement. Jim McKenzie, I said, well, have you had much sleep. Well, Friday and Saturday, he didn't go to bed. He was on the golf course all night. He never went to bed at all. With lights on on these machines now, he never went to bed at all.
And I asked for the scoreboards to be changed over from the way that the scores were seen to the crowd today, I asked for the scoreboards to be changed, and some guy worked a miracle overnight, some techie guy in some studio worked out and got these boards up; so the people, every spectator new exactly what was going on at all time with every game at the one time and it helped us because we had momentum ask it maintained that momentum.
So all credit to those people for one, working so hard. There was a number of our European Tour staff on that golf course, as well, and all of the volunteers from all over Wales to come in here and help make that course playable at all today was a fantastic effort and also for the scoreboards. The scoreboards were vital to keep that momentum and to keep that crowd noise going around that golf course today.

Q. Rory clearly loves playing with Graeme, they are great mates, but as the youngest, do you worry about how he might cope with the pressure on his own without his best bud backing him up?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: They are all on their own tomorrow. I have some rookies playing on their own, suddenly you don't have anybody next to you, however it might be, and it is a very different feel playing on your own in singles, and I can speak from experience, it is a very odd feeling.
But I'm sure he can cope and that's why he's that high up the leaderboard, if you like, not leaderboard, but the singles matches, match two. That's why he is, because we feel that he is that good.

Q. I presume if you have the world No. 1 and the world No. 2, you would not have put them in a position where they might be irrelevant; I thought that lesson had been learnt.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I'm trying to be as diplomatic as possible throughout this week and I continue to be that way. It does surprise me that match 8 and match 10 contain 1 and 2 in the world, but at the same time, it is a very, very -- and let me say this, very strong American lineup, same as ours. This job has not been done yet.
We have played for 16 matches now already. There's another 12 to go tomorrow. It's an enormous day tomorrow. Our job is to win the singles matches. That's our job. We have had a big team meeting and we are quite, quite okay with the position that we want to try and win the singles series; if so, we win The Ryder Cup, simple as that.

Q. You mentioned the Molinari brothers, and there was another great turnaround by Jiménez and Hanson. How pleased were you for those two pairings, less marquis names and seemed like a classic European Ryder Cup.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, Jiménez at 16, what a fantastic birdie down the hill at 16. I've always rated him from the time that we played for the last 20 years on Tour, and he's only one of the few players, if any, in world golf, that's won three times this year, and I gave him a very strong partner in Peter Hanson. I don't think you realise how I think of Peter Hanson. I think he's very, very strong and very, very good; and I was delighted when he won that Czech Open and got into this team on merit. Deservedly so. One of the most-improved players on The European Tour over the last two or three years, if not the most improved player on The European Tour and delighted to have him on board. He backed up Miguel fantastically well.

Q. You indicated earlier that when you thought you were going to be 8-8, you had one type of pairing set, and after what happened this afternoon, you changed that. Can you tell me what kind of theory you used in the other pairings and how they differed from this?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I think it's difficult to say, because, yes, of course I know, but I think it would be wrong to mention that. I think the way this has worked out, this is our singles draw for 9 1/2 - 6 1/2 up. That's all I would like to say about that.
I don't mean to not answer your question that way, but it would be wrong of me to do so.

Q. Just to follow up, you said in here that you were thinking of this and telling your team, but you're looking at it as 8-8?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, indeed. This isn't an 8-8. This is my singles draw for 9 1/2 - 6 1/2. (Laughter).

Q. You and Phil have played -- you've played a couple more matches than he has, and you've won twice as many and he now has more losses than anyone ever, 17. Are you surprised -- on the American side. Are you surprised at how difficult The Ryder Cup has been for him statistically? And secondly, if he has four majors, do you think you would change those four majors for your Ryder Cup record?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: To answer your first question, I'm surprised at that fact, 17 losses, if you like. At the same time, I can't speak too much about the U.S. Team. But at the same time, you know how I rate Phil Mickelson as a golfer. Phil started, I believe, in 1995 at Oak Hill and has every one since, and this will be his seventh Ryder Cup, therefore, and it's just the luck of the draw how the players play against you.
I think that the Europeans have been up playing against Phil Mickelson because of the stature of Phil Mickelson. I think we have given it an extra effort because it has been him, the same as it has been with Tiger.
I think Luke and Lee were right up because of the fact that they were playing No. 4, is it, Steve Stricker against No. 1 Tiger. I think you do try extra hard against players that are ranked ahead of you, if you like, and I think as I say, over those last 15 years that Phil has been playing in The Ryder Cup, that the matches have been a lot more even, and anybody can beat anybody at any given time.
So I just think that's pure coincidence that his record isn't as good as possibly his World Ranking since. I would not change my I career in any way, shape or form to have any majors. I've been runner-up a few times. I have my career. I'm very happy with it. I'm not here to discuss my career personally. I'm here as European Team captain, and I'm bloody well proud of being that way.

Q. Can you explain why you have chosen Graeme McDowell to bring up the rear tomorrow, what qualities he brings beyond that?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, he's a very confident young man, and gained in confidence obviously with his U.S. Open success. I think that if it does come down to that particular match, I have great strength, as I've said, in every position in my team. But there's a reason why Graeme McDowell is where he is, yes, at that No. 12 position, and a very confident and very solid performer.

Q. I know you've been asked this question before, but would you --
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I'll try and give you the same answer then. (Laughter).

Q. I just wondered if you would like to elaborate further on what exactly you said in your pep talk yesterday.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Not really. It was just a matter of trying to, you know, this morning, it would have been a waste of time, what we achieved last night, to get six blue figures up there, if we didn't maintain that momentum today.
And I must admit, I can only say what I can. These guys, these guys performed brilliantly today, brilliantly, all 12 of them. Whatever I've said or whatever I've done, we've done as vice captains or whatever the case may be, they had to go out there and perform. I wasn't hitting the shots for them. They had to hit the shots themselves, and they did it brilliantly today.

Q. I know you have expressed great respect for the American players, but I wonder if you can speak to the performance of Kuchar and Cink, who seem to have become the rock of the American Team this week?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Very much so. Very much so. Stewart's performance yesterday morning with Matt Kuchar, brilliant. Matt Kuchar as a Ryder Cup rookie, you wouldn't have known that. Stewart Cink is the only player ever to be selected three times, I believe, as a captain's pick. There's a big reason for that. Superb player, Stewart Cink, and has been. And a fabulous putter, and in match play, and in match play, a good putter is always dangerous.

Q. Can you explain to us how José Maria Olazábal got involved? Did you ask him or did he ask you? And what impact has he had over the last few days?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, José Maria Olazábal is here as an Ambassador for Nespresso Coffee (laughter). And we felt that was a misuse (raucous laughter) of talent, expertise, and experience.
So we drafted him in. We felt we were one short on the course when we had to play six sessions there, we had six matches in that session. There was only five of us, myself and four vice captains. So then it was obvious for me to call Jose as a good friend. We have been together since probably we played the British Amateur Final together in 1984, and delighted to have him on board, and his experience and expertise has been invaluable in these sessions and of course he will be with us tomorrow.

Q. Colin, do you think you're leading off tomorrow with the best player in the world, and even though you're competing against him next week, do you hope that will be confirmed by the rankings?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I believe the rankings, Lee Westwood now, tomorrow morning, is currently No. 2 in the world. He's just gone to No. 2 in the world and overtaken Phil. And that means as I got to No. 2 in the world myself in 1997, you look at who is No. 1.
I think if Lee Westwood does not play for the next month or something, that would actually happen. All credit to him for actually playing, and risking that position. But I'm sure that the way Lee Westwood is playing golf right now, you would have to say, you would have to say he's right up there with Phil and Tiger as one of the best players in the world.
GORDON SIMPSON: Okay, thank you very much, Colin.

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