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January 20, 2011

Colin Montgomerie


Q. Thinking things like World Top 50?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, it's interesting, I shook hands with the new Ryder Cup Captain. I enjoyed playing with him first and foremost and he said, "Back to normal," which is nice of him to say.
And I feel as if I'm playing a little bit better, back to the sort of way I used to do in the 90s which is hit the fairways and the greens and hole a couple of putts and a few birdies and a bogey out there is okay today, so I was quite happy with things.
Yes, it's a steppingstone, of course it is, every round under par since The Ryder Cup now, and I've retained that. I look forward to playing tomorrow, actually, I really do. I look forward to it. I couldn't honestly saying I was looking forward to golf last year, I was looking forward to other things and now I am. I'm looking forward to putting some scores on the board.

Q. A lot of fairways today. This course is a big course, isn't it?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: This is a big course, 7,600 yards, and it's almost bordering on too long for me. But at the same time if you hit the fairways you'll have a chance. And my irons are good enough, still, to enable me to score if I can hit the fairways. If I don't hit the fairways, I've had it.

Q. Of course the putter is very key around here.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Of course, it's 45 per cent of the game. And it's been 55 per cent for my game the last few years. But at the same time, key, of course it is.
The greens are quite grainy. But a good surface and true even at this time of day, they are very true. So we look forward to playing in the morning, the scores were better in the morning than they are in the afternoon. The breeze has picked up now and we look forward to a good score early doors tomorrow.

Q. Any Ryder Cup chat?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No. He's very much -- he's all switched on when he's on the golf course, José. He's very intense on the golf course, always has been. Always been a great competitor, a very intense competitor, and I left him to do his job today.

Q. You must be quietly satisfied I would have thought with that opening to the season.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I am, yeah, I really am. A couple under is okay. I've got to get back to playing my game now and my own golf as opposed to looking after the rest of the Tour. I felt I was looking at 50 people really, it got to that stage, and you find yourself 3-over par after seven and the tournament is gone. Now I can concentrate on myself for once and I can look forward to doing so from now on, through the rest of the year.

Q. Fairways and greens today?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I did what I had to do. A couple under is okay, nothing sparkling but it's no disaster. It's the way I used to play golf and I'm still able to do that, just.
Yes, these newcomers are all bombers and all hit the ball a long way but sometimes not always as accurate as you might think it is so they get themselves into trouble. So fairways and greens and the odd putt never does anybody any harm and has not done since Ben Hogan's days. So we'll retain that hopefully throughout the coming months.

Q. You played with your successor as Ryder Cup Captain, first chance I've had to ask you for your reaction to his appointment. I know from what you were saying beforehand, I'm pretty certain you welcome it.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: We all do and we've given all support, as I had The European Tour support behind me. I said, Obviously you don't need my support, but The European Tour are behind you fully, as we all are. And we just wish him well to try and retain the trophy away from home, which I think will be more difficult, half a point or so difficult than it was trying to win it at home.
So you know how close these things are now, so we just wish him well. He's intense on the golf course, of course he is. There was not much Ryder Cup chat out there. He was doing his job; I was doing mine. All I can say for that appointment is we wish him well and it was the right appointment at the right time.

Q. And the right appointment being made the other side of the pond today with Davis Love going to be up against him?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I think so. I think that was obvious when he was appointed No. 1 assistant to Corey Pavin. I think he's my age and José Maria is a couple of years younger. So it seems to be that they are going the way we are in taking younger captains I suppose, under 50, captains that are playing on Tour.
José Maria is going to play all four here in the desert and Davis Love is a tournament competitor and challenger in America, as well. So I think they are seeing that the younger captain is the way to go, as we are in Europe. Yes, that appointment is obvious and a good one for the American Team.

Q. He will be a formidable opponent?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: He has been over the years. I've played Davis Love a number times over the years in Ryder Cup competition and a great competitor he has been. A wonderful asset to the American tour over these years, he has been. He's been on their tournament committee and Tournament Chairman I believe. So it's only right that he would get this job and it's only right the two of them are, and it's go for it, the pair of them. But we wish José, of course, all the best.

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