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October 6, 2010

Colin Montgomerie


SCOTT CROCKETT: Many thanks, as always for coming in and joining us. There's obviously a lot to talk about, but first and foremost we must also congratulate you on last week, a fantastic performance as captain and many congratulations from everyone in the room for bringing The Ryder Cup back to Europe. (Applause).
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It was. Thank you. It was a fabulous week all around. I've been reading your comments on it, and you don't realise when you're there how much it means to everybody here and in Europe and all around. The responsibility that was put on me as being captain and as I saying, having to win it back again, as I always said, regaining the trophy would be -- regaining the trophy would be better and a bigger win than having to retain it again, but I'm proud of everyone and everyone that helped the cause, not just the 12 players, but the reason they performed so well was because of the fact that they are supported hugely by a backroom staff that we have never had before, the likes that we have never had before, and I think that will be key now in Ryder Cup campaigns in the future to have that support behind a team; to get them as comfortable and to get them as playing to their potential.
I said at the start of the week that if they play to their potential, we will win. They did play to their potential, and we just won.
I must give credit here to the American Team. I don't think you commentators on the game and media around, written and on television, understood how good the American Team were and how well they would play and how hard they would fight and how hard they played.
I don't think enough credit was given to the way that they performed. They performed wonderfully well for their captain. And they just came up half a point short. And that half a point is usually what is gained by playing at home and therefore the home crowd helped us tremendously well. We were a little bit worried, I must admit, on Monday, going into Monday, only having the so-called Sunday tickets available. And we were concerned, Monday being a working day, accommodation were only booked until Sunday and all of the stuff that went on, but the crowd on Monday were absolutely fantastic and absolutely superb. It just helped us over that barrier of 14 1/2 points to get to -- 14 points to get to 14 1/2. It was marvellous, absolutely marvellous.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Tremendous surge of emotion from the crowds; can you give us a sense of your emotions on that final afternoon, because it can't be easy watching the events unfold there.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It was completely out of my hands at that stage. The only time I sort of semi-intervened in any way really was on the 17th tee with Graeme. I felt that after holing that putt on 17, it wasn't yet won. I felt Hunter Mahan had won the last two holes, it was still retained by America. It still wasn't won. I thought it was only right that I came on to the tee there on 17 and just to talk to him, to take him away from the tee shot for five seconds and just ask him, everything okay, you know, brilliant there, but, you know, relax, breathe, and whatever he was trying to do on that tee, we all were breathing for him (smiling) and he did a brilliant job, and all credit to him.
I don't like to get involved and therefore, it's a complete lack of control that one has in that position and it's not easy having played in eight of those and having come down the last hole with Scott Hoch, knowing how I felt in 1997, being the only man left on the course and having to do something, having to get that halve-point, I realise what it was like for him, and I was older, but at the same time, sort of similar experience. I realised what he was going through. And I had Seve behind me, and I felt that was good and it was only right that I try to help him in any way possible.
So he did a great job and we all did a great job and he was only able to do a great job because of the rest of the guys gained the 13 and a half points that we had gained already. Everybody contributed to such a wonderful, wonderful week, and we are just glad that the Ryder Cup has returned here to Europe.

Q. Now that you're no longer the captain, how are you going to be able to refocus your game? Do you think that will be difficult?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I think it will be very easy actually to be honest. I think I've been focusing my attentions for the last two years and any captain can say the same, on other things, on other people and on other players and on other things. It's been very difficult. To compete out here now in Europe, you have to be 100 per cent; 100 per cent fit, 100 per cent in control of one's mind, the emotions, mentally and physically and I haven't been these last two years. There's no question, and I'm looking forward to getting back to actually playing golf and competing and therefore contending. I haven't contended. I haven't had a Top-10 in these last two years. It's the worst run of form I've had as a player due to the fact that I've been trying to win this thing. It has taken -- it has set my career back two years, but that was what we were willing to do. I realised it was going to, and I just now have to get back to competing and contending in tournaments.

Q. Do you feel that come two years from now, you could be part of the team playing?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I would like to think that, you know,51 has been the maximum that we have reached playing in The Ryder Cup; Ray Floyd played at 51. I'm 47. There will be no records broke if I play again. I know I have to play extremely well these next two years to try and qualify for whose ever team it might be, but I would love to try and play again, yes.

Q. You've expressed a desire obviously to play in two years' time; what do you think you have to achieve this week? You continually surprise people, you did in 2005. What is your expectation or your hope this week?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Just to enjoy playing golf.
I've always -- it's been under pressure the last two years, every question you've asked me, it wasn't about my round of golf, it was about other people's, about how they were performing and how they were feeling and what they were thinking and what have you.
Now, if I have a good round, you'll actually ask me about my own golf, which will be lovely to think, if I can put a decent round together. So I look forward to that, yeah.

Q. Did you get the chance to speak to Hunter Mahan on Monday evening, and if so, what did he say?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, I didn't get the chance to speak to him. Corey Pavin came down to our team room Monday evening with the four vice captains and congratulated us, very dignified in defeat, Corey and his whole team. Throughout the week they were. But I have not managed to speak to Hunter Mahan, no. I was in the foyer as

they left, I was doing some press work, actually, some television work from 7 to half past 9, and I believe they left about 8.40 when I was on television. So unfortunately, I didn't see the team leave. I saw Corey individually leave on Tuesday morning but I didn't see Hunter, no.

Q. I know you said you don't want to do the job again, but are there any circumstances under which you would take it on again?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No. No there aren't, no. This is to be passed on to somebody else. No, there's no circumstances to make me do this job again, no

Q. You're stil a member of the committee, though, that will make decisions regarding the next Ryder Cup.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Indeed, I am. I'm a very proud member of that committee and a number of thevice captains sit on that committee, yes.

Q. The qualifying system, hopefully winning, it won't sort of limit your discussions about whether that's right or wrong?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I always felt that we needed more captain's picks, even when we were winning the trophy three times in a row, 2002 - 2006. We kept the same system, ten and two. I always felt that although we were winning, I wasn't quite sure the system was right myself. I always felt that if I had the opportunity of captaining, that I would like more captain's picks. That might happen again.

I'm sure that the qualification system will come up again in our first meeting after this. You'll hear about decisions, I'm sure, about the qualifying system for the next team, because I had a great team. But I shouldn't have had to leave out Top-10 players in the world. And that was the worst day of my professional career was Sunday of Gleneagles, having to do that to peers, to friends, to colleagues. That was the system in place, and it was a very difficult decision to make. So you'll find in the months to come leading up to Christmas, before the next captain is announced, that we might find that changes are in place.

Just the timing just happened to be horrible, yes, of course it was; that I wasn't able to call those particular players before they started their round. They were actually mid-round at the time and the timing was just awful with the 5-hour time difference between us and the Eastern United States. So it was a very difficult time and difficult decision and difficult day.

Q. If Europe had lost on Monday, would the sense of disappointment you felt, would it make it more difficult for you to pick up the pieces of your own playing career?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I am just very glad that is a hypothetical question and one that doesn't have to be answered because it didn't come true. I mnight be able to answer it if the result were different. I'm only glad for the whole of European golf that that result was the way it was, and I don't have to answer that question.

Q. I suspect I know the answer, but how much did you hate us talking to you about other players as opposed to your own game?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Not at all. It comes with part of the job. That's one of the reasons why my game has gone down. You know, the World Rankings, I haven't looked at them, I haven't even bothered looking at them. When you are No. 2 in the world as Lee Westwood is right now all credit to him for attaining that position, you always look at who is ahead of you, and in my time it as Greg Norman and I was looking at points, how I could play in certain tournaments, and overtake him, of course. When you're No. 2, you want to be No. 1 When you are 400-plus it doesn't really matter.

So it has affected my own game and I just hope that I will be able to focus 100% on my own game as opposed to thinking bout well, I can only say about 30 others.

Unfortunately it gets harder and harder. It's not getting my game back to where it was, back in even '97, '98, where I felt I was at my best. It's actually getting to a new level, because that's where the level has reached now. So I can't go back to thinking I can play my best again. I have to play better than that. Technology is helping, of course it has, and that's why the standard of golf is improving all the time.

I'm one vote in the committee of say 20. I'm sure we'll all have the same view about how do we get these people into this team without having he situation of the captain having to make that awful decision that I had to make on Sunday evening of Gleneagles.

On a personal level, it doesn't really mean anything personally. It means the world to every player in Europe, every golfer in Europe, and more importantly, every member of The European Tour, to have this Ryder Cup here This helps us all.

From the Prime Minister Down, to have that support is quite phenomanal, to people we thought on Monday, that when this finished there would not be that many people watching; it would be a shame. but at the same time you forget sometimes doing it and getting so involved in the reaction to it, and the want and the need for this trophy to come back to Europe and everyone as watching television on Monday; who wasn't actually watching on site, there wasn't a lot of business done in Wales on Monday, I can assure you.

I read a headline, "For one day at least, we are all pro-European." It makes you very proud to feel that golf is the only sport that unites us that way. There is no other sports marketing team that represents Europe and especially Europe playing America, that's the two big powers in this world, and it's amazing how golf unites those two great continents together.

It makes you proud to have these messages of support from world leaders, yeah. We had our Presidents there, the first time that the President of the EU has attended the Ryder Cup to the First Minister of Wales to our own Prime Minister. When you get world leaders congratulating, you realise what this means.

(Regarding being assistant to Olazbal in 2010) I wouldn't hesitate at all. I would be honoured to help him. He is the clear favourite and deservedly, so, and I would be honoured to help the European cause.

Q. Have you heard from Casey and Rose:
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, I haven't actually. I think Paul's still cyclig in Canada. I think he must have got lost (laughing). He's still cycling in Canada. They weren't due to be playing here, I don't believe, anyway. But I understand their position. I am sure they would have loved to have been there, of course they would. And if I was in their position, so would I. It was a decision I'm sure there was no blame on that decision at all. It as the decision that hurt me having to make, it really did. As I often said, I wanted this team to be 16 people. It was the hardest decision any captain has ever had to make, having to leave out such quality. But the decision was made, and there was nothing personal in that decision at all. Paul Casey, especially is a personal friend. I know Paul very well. He attended my wedding. So there was no nothing. I was just trying to do this for the sake of the team.

Q. What have you learnt about yourself?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: That's a very good question. It will have to take longer than two days to sink in before I can answer that properly.
As long as I could have walked away knowing I gave 100 per ent, then that's all I can learn from myself is I gave 100 per cent to this cause and just so happy and delighted that this trophy is next to me here. That will come down the line that I can answer that question properly.

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