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May 26, 2011

Colin Montgomerie


Q. Still very much in this championship, I'm sure you can see beyond what I suppose was a disappointing finish for?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I can see well beyond that, seven birdies today was encouraging, there's no question. I've been working on certain things in my game which is unheard of, which seven birdies, I have to take that positive -- okay, five mistakes but you are going to make mistakes out there. It's extremely difficult.
Some of the shots you hit, they just don't go anywhere they hit a break wall of wind and nothing much happens. So anybody today I think that breaks 70 has had a day out and I'm one of them, so it's okay. Very, very difficult day today. I don't think it's going to get any easier. I think the course is firming up, even with the slight rain, and it's just a very difficult golf course now.

Q. You had Thomas Björn's caddie, I believe, temporarily, what are the long term plans?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: He fit in okay. I was sacked on Monday. I usually did the sacking in my life, now it's the other way around. It's sad but true. That's the state of affairs. So my caddie has gone with Francesco Molinari, I wish him well with him and hope they do well. I'm caddieless right now. I've borrowed Thomas Björn's caddie because he's not playing this week and I've got to find somebody for Wales and onward so, here we golf the search is on and here we are on BBC television saying this, this is amazing, is all applicants apply, my God. It's interesting, with a different caddie, different perspective and sometimes it works quite well and it did today.

Q. Just longer term, there's no Ryder Cup focus at the moment for you and I guess you're having to redefine your goals in golf these days, what is the priority for you in your career?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I would like to try and get back, I said I would like to try and get back into the Top-50 as we stand. I'm in the 400s, I believe, which is wrong. So days like today would give me encouragement to try and work harder and seeing what's available. The seven birdies I had out today was good, in the first 13 holes, I had seven birdies.
So there must be something going on that's right. It's just the wrongs, there's too many wrongs. And that's the problem with it. If I can cut out all the wrongs as I used to do -- I didn't make many mistakes when I was winning but things can improve. That's all. I've just got to try and improve. I'm enjoying it, I must admit. There's no reason why not to. I'm enjoying it, and I look forward to tomorrow's round.

Q. To turn in 30, how much was that exceeding expectations, or was that always part of the plan for today?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It wasn't part of the plan when I saw the weather this morning, it was awful, on the range, and it started very blustery wind. It's not a consistent wind around here, because of all the trees. It has to be blustery, and very difficult.
So 30 on the front nine was great. I got off to a great start: 3,3,3,4,2, I mean, you're 4-under after five. In certain ways, it's disappointing to only finish 2-under really after that start, a flying start. To birdie the first and the third was a real bonus. But at the same time, it is tricky. The later start, I've just said on the television there, that anybody that breaks 70 today has done extremely well, and they have.

Q. Did you see this round coming in, all seriousness? It's not been the best of starts to the year, has it?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, it's been a very poor last three years. It's been awful. But I've been working a little bit harder on my game, I have. I've been working out on sort of new Yonix heads and shafts and all of the stuff that goes with it and trying to find something that works, and I've got a good bag of clubs now and it's just a matter of taking that forward it.
I holed a few putts early on, which doesn't hurt. One off the back of the green at the first was a real bonus and just trying to edge it down there for a four and you make three and you feel, okay, well, I can do something here.

Q. Different figure carrying those clubs, as well with, Thomas Björn's bag man this week, he's obviously not playing. Tell us the story behind that.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I finished the Golf Live exhibition, if you like, on Sunday night, and had a phone call from my caddie saying that he decided to go with somebody better in Francesco Molinari, and of course I was sacked and that was fine.
So I don't mind that. I'm at the stage of my career where I just wish him well and I hope they do very well together. Jason is a lovely, lovely guy, and did a super job for me and also at The Ryder Cup. He did a great job for the caddies at The Ryder Cup and I wish him well with Francesco. It just leaves me, unfortunately, without. So I don't know what to do, I'm borrowing someone's right now because he's not playing, super lad, and we'll just see from now.

Q. Could you give us the job spec if you were putting a small ad out?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, this would be difficult, wouldn't it.
It's done a few thousand miles. It needs a service. MOT has run out and tax -- no, I don't even want to bother. (Laughter).

Q. What are your ambitions for rest of this week, it is only one round of golf, everyone says that after the first round?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Of course, everyone says that and I'm sure Luke Donald says the same. He was hot favourite coming in here, and he's now even a hotter one. That's a great round of golf by the way, 64 around here today is a tremendous round of golf from someone who is coming in here with a bit of pressure on him to get to No. 1 and all credit to him if he succeeds. But no, I just look forward to tomorrow's round and see what happens then. I'm playing with two great guys out there I feel it's the U.N., the Korean and the Indian so we are doing well there. I'm enjoying myself thoroughly.

Q. Was the seven birdies putting yourself in the shop window for a new caddie?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I knew that I was having to advertise after I finished my round. So seven birdies out of the first 13 holes was a good start for a new caddie, but I don't know, I don't know what's going to happen. I've had a few inquiries but I haven't accepted any offers, yet. How's that.

Q. Other side of the coin, were you disturbed by a mobile phone on 16?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Mobile phone's gone off, yeah, that wasn't the reason. I just unfortunately mis-read the pace of the putt downhill. But when it goes off once -- it's quite funny. When a mobile phone goes off once, the caller that's just called is going to call back. And what happens is that if the fellow hasn't turned it off, you know it's going to go again, and it did.

Q. Same bloke?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Same bloke, yeah. So he's going to callback. I think, yeah, I'm enjoying myself. I have nothing to prove here and it's a nice position to be in in a way that I can go out and enjoy my golf now, and if I can get the putter going, I still can compete, there's no question. I look forward to tomorrow's round. I know what to do around here more than most, so, yeah, I just look forward to tomorrow's round.

Q. Do you believe that you're in the position that even if you've won this, you still wouldn't be in the U.S. Open?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Oh, most definitely, I wouldn't deserve to be. I wouldn't deserve to be. I'm 400-something in the world and that doesn't -- no, no. Simon Khan won here I believe last year and he went to Walton Heath, and all credit to him, I think he qualified in actual fact in a playoff. So all credit to him. So I'm not looking forward to Walton Heath but I'm going there, yes.

Q. Have you found the ten or 15 yards?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No. In fact, I need to find another 30. Never mind another 15. That's my problem with the caddie. That's my job description again, isn't it.

Q. Have you thought of playing a Top-Flite?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Often. Pinnacles and Top-Flits and all sorts of stuff that go a long way. We need Joe Miller, that's what we need.

Q. Do you see similarities in the golf that's Luke's playing at the moment with yourself in your prime?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes. Yes, I do. I shot 65 around here once. It was 7-under, same as him, the 12th was a par 5, and mind you, it was a much easier golf course then than it is now. I think the 7-under today is an exceptional score. And that was what I came in the late 90s when I was winning here, that I shot 65 the second day, and found myself five ahead in '99. I did feel that I just had to go and play golf then, as he's doing now. He's hitting every fairway, every green and he's putting extremely well.
A certain similarity, yes. I was No. 2 in the world at the time and he is now, and a certain similarity, yes. He's a better player than I ever was. He's a much better, much tighter short game than I ever had. I relied wholeheartedly on hitting the fairways and hitting the greens. He's got a much better short game than I ever had.

Q. Did you see anything -- would you see him going --
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I would see him winning this event, yes.

Q. Going forward?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, there's no reason why if he attains No. 1 and he wins here that that doesn't give him the complete confidence to go forward. I mean, you know, he's going in now to -- whatever happens this week, he's going with huge confidence into the U.S. Open, as well, and I can see a European of that, again. And it's not just a European winner. I can see a European beating a European to win like it was last year.

Q. You said he's a better player, but he doesn't win anywhere near as much as you did. Is that a habit that you get into?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I think I wouldn't worry -- I wouldn't say that was an issue to be honest. He's playing the best golf in the world right now, and wins, you've got to be fortunate at the odd time to be honest, somebody does something against and you happens to beat you, but he's doing awfully well right now, there's nothing wrong with not winning every week he's finishing -- he's finishing second.

Q. Did you always think he could be this good?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I have to say, yes, yes, very much so. When we discussed the picks for The Ryder Cup, to this day, I don't know how he didn't play his way on to The Ryder Cup. It's amazing how that doesn't happen. But he was -- and I would have to say, and I'm sure that Pádraig and Edoardo Molinari would respect that he was very much the first choice pick, and I don't think he missed a shot out there. Somebody said he didn't -- at The Ryder Cup, with Lee Westwood, you don't play that well on PlayStation, as he was doing with him. It was amazing what they were doing. I put all my eggs in one basket towards the end there, my first foursomes, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood, and then McDowell and McIlroy, that was a tough start and I needed to put them out there. And the reason that Westwood and Luke Donald were out there first was because they were my one and two.

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