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March 20, 2014

Colin Montgomerie


PHIL STAMBAUGH:  We welcome World Golf Hall of Fame member, Colin Montgomerie to the interview room, here playing in his first Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic.  Colin, you just got down with the pro am, chance to check Fallen Oak out.  Your thoughts initially on it.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE:  Very good golf course.  Exceptional golf course, very much, and the weather is great, and it all goes for a great tournament.  The greens are quite difficult to putt on.  There's a bit of grain on the greens, so quite difficult to putt on.  But I'll get used to that this afternoon when I go back and putt, but at the same time looking forward to the challenge of it.  Great.
PHIL STAMBAUGH:  You're coming off your low rounds on the Champions Tour on Sunday at the Toshiba event.  You were tied for second.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE:  Low round in America.  Never mind‑‑ low round in America.  It was good there.  62.  I like that.
I needed something good.  I had a poor day on Saturday, 70.  I was only 1‑under and I needed a good day, and it was almost a very, very good day, and as I said, at the start of this week and start of any week, I would love to win on the Champions Tour, and that was as close as you get, second.  So I'd love to win some day, one day, whatever it might be.
PHIL STAMBAUGH:  Okay.  We'll just go with questions.

Q.  Just talk about playing both tours and what kind of differences are there?  Do you have to alter your game at all to do that?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE:  Yeah.  Playing the European Tour, obviously, the courses are slightly longer.  There's more rough.  There's more rough.
But the courses out here, people think that they're 6500 yards long, and they're not.  This is the best part of 7000 yards long, this particular course, and a great challenge.  So the differences aren't that great.  The only differences I find is having to adapt to the certain conditions that you find yourself, moving from the Middle East where the grasses are very different and the weather is very different, obviously, to coming to America where you've got Bermuda rough in Florida, Bermuda greens, and you move over to Newport Beach, you got the kikuyu grass, and coming over here you've got different grasses also, so it is very‑‑ that's my biggest difficulty to adapt between the sort of grasses that we play on, and also the time difference as well, you know, flying across the Atlantic all the time is not easy.  It takes it out of you.  You know, we're eight hours different from London to LA.  At least we're back a couple now, so it's a little bit easier, but it's still, yeah, it's off, and that's what I've got to get used to more than anything.

Q.  Coming off the 62, obviously very well, but overall your game, you feel good coming into this week?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE:  Yeah.  I think when you score low, you know, like that, it gives you confidence.  There's no question, and confidence breeds confidence.  And so yeah, there's no reason why I shouldn't go out and do well this week.  I am playing well.  I'm driving the ball okay.  My irons are reasonable.  And if you hole a few putts, well, you can score.
But I'm like a number of players out here on the Champions Tour that feel the same way.  I'm sure Langer is confident, Couples is confident, Kenny Perry is confident, and Rocco Mediate is always confident.  So yeah, it's great competition, and I'm enjoying it.  Yeah.

Q.  I think there's a big connection with fans and this tour more so than probably anywhere else?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE:  Yes, there is.

Q.  What's been the reception that you've felt since you've been here?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE:  Well, I've been welcomed with open arms here, tremendous reception I've had here, and especially after the Hall of Fame induction last May, and a lot of fans are up to speed on what goes on out here.  They understand the players, and they've been looking at their careers and looking at what they've done and achieved, and I find that very much there's a lot more interaction between the players and the fans on the Champions Tour, a lot more.
And I've always said, this is the tour that everyone should strive to try and emulate in many ways, whereby the interaction with the fans is great.  I think the two pro ams work well, because that's interacting with business and with sponsorships, which is difficult nowadays, and it's important that we the players respect that.  And I think the older you do, the more respect you give to that part of the game.
And also, before and after the games, the players respect each other.  There's no one trying to prove anything to anybody.  And yet, on the course game on.  It's very competitive.  So if there was a perfect tour, you know, this is it of all the tours that I've managed to play on over the years.

Q.  Every year it seems‑‑ it's true, a lot more European players come here to play in this tournament, and you're talking about the fan interaction is there, the golf course is great.

Q.  How big are those factors in possibly getting even more European golfers here?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE:  To this particular tournament?  Well, it's good to see Nick Faldo playing here.  I think that's super.  And also Sandy Lyle and Bernhard Langer and myself.  And Roger Chapman is playing, I believe.  So there's always been a European influence, a smaller one than there is on the PGA TOUR, but at the same time it's great to see nick especially playing here.  And it's always great to see Langer.  Well, it's always not great to see Langer playing as well as he is because that's just annoying.  But at the same time, all credit to him.  He's incredible.  He's a machine, you know.  He keeps on churning out Top‑3s and Top 2 finishes.  Amazing.  Amazing.
But it's good to see Nick here and sandy and myself, I suppose, in that way.  And other Europeans that will turn 50 shortly.  I'm sure Jose Maria Olazabal will be able to join this tour in a couple of years when he turns 50.  So that'll add to it.
But no, it's a great golf course, and we enjoy it.
PHIL STAMBAUGH:  And you got Jimenez in Atlanta.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE:  We've got Jimenez in Atlanta.  So I hope you've got the wine ready, and I hope you've got some cigars on hold.  (Laughs).  He's a character.
PHIL STAMBAUGH:  Anything else?

Q.  Back to discussing the golf course just a little bit.

Q.  Do you find that this course favors someone who hits a draw or a fade or does it require a little bit of everything?  Better putters going to do better here, better iron players?  How do you see the course?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE:  Well, I think you gotta drive the ball well.  The bunkers are situated that you can't really clear a lot of them on the fly, so you've gotta drive the ball well.  If you go in the bunkers off the tee, it's really an automatic bogey.  So you've gotta be very straight off the tee.  So it's going to favor that.
If you hit the fairways, you have a chance to make your pars, but if you don't hit the fairways, you can forget it, especially in the bunkers.  So we avoid the bunkers around here.  They're very, very severe.  They're more like a Scottish‑type bunker.  They're deep and unforgiving, as opposed to most bunkers that you can still get out of.  These aren't.  These are proper hazards.
So the person that's driving the ball straight will be favored this week.  Yeah.
PHIL STAMBAUGH:  Colin, I think that's it.  Good luck this week.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE:  Okay.  Thank you very much, lads.

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