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May 21, 2014

Colin Montgomerie


KELLY ELBIN:  Colin Montgomerie, ladies and gentlemen, joining us here at the 75th Senior PGA Championship Presented By KitchenAid making his debut.  Your first full year on the Champions Tour, you've had, by my records here, top‑10s in six of your seven events, off to a nice start this year and how do you feel about your game coming in this week?
KELLY ELBIN:  Yeah.  Anything more?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE:  No, I'm enjoying it.  Thoroughly enjoying myself.  Usually when you enjoy something, you're quite good at it.  So I've been going okay.
I had a run of seven top‑10s there, which was good in a row and I just bogeyed the last there, last week to avoid another top‑10.  So we're in contention, I haven't won yet and I would love to win, obviously, a Champions Tour event some where.  Whether it be in this decade or not, but at the same time I would love to win and look forward to competing here.
KELLY ELBIN:  Did you think you would enjoy it, the experience as a whole as much as you have?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE:  No, no, I think that I've enjoyed it more than I was anticipating, which is obviously a compliment to the TOUR and the way things are run here, the way the Champions Tour has welcomed me very much so.
The warmth of feeling has been very strong and so I think it's taken me a little bit by surprise, to be honest.  I really am enjoying myself, yeah, thoroughly.
KELLY ELBIN:  You mentioned about the golf course.  It's a unique layout, is it not?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE:  Well, it is.  I've never seen a course that covers so much acreage, for a start.  I think the buggy drivers will have to have a gas station to by the time they get everybody shuttled around the place.
Leaving the ninth green, I mean I played a few golf courses in my life and leaving the ninth green I had absolutely no clue where the 10th hole was or in what state it might be.
I think we're quite close to a time zone here, I think we probably crossed one to get to the 10th.  It's quite incredible.
When you're there, you shouldn't have bothered, really, with 10, should you.  You shouldn't really have bothered getting there in the first place.
It is unique, this place, it really is unique.  This is different.  I can see what the designer was trying to do, there are pockets of greens where you have to hit into.  What you mustn't do is miss those pockets of greens, those cloverleaf greens that they are, really, that you can see already there's four pin positions on every green, you don't have be to Einstein to work out where the pins are going to be.
So you can see how it was done, but my God, you don't want to miss them.  No wonder the pro‑am took six and a bit hours yesterday.  And that was a scramble.  So we'll out there for awhile.  Of course, I'm playing with Bernhard Langer tomorrow as well, so.
KELLY ELBIN:  You didn't just say that, did you?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE:  No.  Did I?  No, I didn't say that.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE:  So we'll out there for awhile, yeah.  Yeah.  So it will be good.  I'm looking forward to playing with my old Ryder Cup partner and, of course, the Ryder Cup captain tomorrow in Tom Watson, that's always an honor to play with such a legend.
Bernhard Langer has been dominating the Champions Tour this last few years, really, to be honest.  He's playing as good golf as ever.  So I look forward to the challenge of trying to post a score that's up there tomorrow.
KELLY ELBIN:  Open it up for questions, please.

Q.  Speaking of Tom Watson, he just said that he felt that the way Jack designed this golf course fit your game to a T, with the high fades into the greens.  Care to comment on that?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE:  Well, that was kind of him.  Did he say that unprompted or was he prompted to that?

Q.  No, he felt sincere in that and he felt he would be the short hitter in the group also.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE:  Christ, I better get to the gym.  I'm in trouble tomorrow.  A 64 year old knocking it past me.  Now I'm in trouble.  Crumbs.
Well, my iron play has always been my strength, always.  The fairways are quite generous here.  So you are going to hit the fairways.  From there, you take your opportunity.
My iron play has always been my strength, so I look forward to, yeah, trying to attack certain pins and others you have to be very careful with.  You have be very careful here and use the head an awful lot of the time.
But I appreciate Tom Watson's comments and I look forward to trying to hit it past him.  If that's what I'm supposed to do.
KELLY ELBIN:  He was saying that he was going to be the short hitter in the group.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE:  Yeah, he was going to be the short hitter, so I look forward to hit it past him.  Having to now.  I'm under pressure.  So we'll see how it goes.  But I look forward to it.
I always look forward to playing with Tom, he's a gentleman and a real ambassador for the game of golf.  So is Bernhard Langer.
So when the draw came out I was thrilled with that, so I look forward to playing tomorrow.

Q.  What are the little bits that have been the difference between getting all these top‑10s and not breaking through yet for you?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE:  The consistency has come by my putting.  I was leading the putting stats, I don't know, obviously I'm not now, because I had a bad week on the greens last week.  But the last seven or eight weeks I've actually holed out pretty good.  I've been averaging the putting average has been good.  So that's why I've been consistent.
Unfortunately, my irons on this occasion haven't been as good as they should have been and I haven't been hitting the greens in regulation.  So if I can get that up, get the greens in regulation percentage up, I could really be challenging more at the top of the board, other than five to 10.  I would love to be able to do that.  So I look forward to the challenge of that.
KELLY ELBIN:  Colin is currently fourth in putting average on the Champions Tour.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE:  I see that.  Well, I was first.  Just thought I would let you know.
KELLY ELBIN:  I had heard that.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE:  I had a bad week last week.

Q.  Since joining this TOUR do you find that you hold the Majors with the same kind of regard on this TOUR as you did when you played on the European Tour?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE:  Very much.  They're something special here.  Especially the three Major that is we play that have 156 fields.  This one, obviously, the PGA Championship and then you got the Senior U.S. Open and the Senior Open championship.
Very much so.  They have a Major feel about them.  I enjoyed playing the Senior U.S. Open and the Senior Open last year.  I didn't, obviously, I wasn't old enough to play here last year in this tournament.
So, yes, they certainly have a feel to them, a Major feel to them.  I'm as excited about playing in these events as I was when I was competing in the American Majors or also The Open Championship on the junior tour.
KELLY ELBIN:  You mentioned about the way you've been greeted here and was there a point, was it right from the start or was there a point where you began to have a real strong comfort level out here?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE:  No, I was welcomed from the first tournament on.  I played in Pittsburgh, which is my first tournament, when I first turned 50 last year.  From that first tournament on, I felt a real warmth and acceptance.  It's been a very acceptable place to play since then.  And I've enjoyed it.
KELLY ELBIN:  Talk about the level of competition out here week in, week out.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE:  It's very high.  Very high.  Extremely high.  I wish it was lower, but it's not.  And it's good that it is that good.  That when you do, do well, it's actually meaningful, it means something.
When you start with the Kenny Perry's of this world and Bernhard Langer's and Fred Couples's and they're the three guys that you always feel that you've got to beat before you win, you take them, they're as good, they're playing as well as they ever have.
So it is tough.  They're putting 66s together on a regular basis and it is tough to compete.  I'm learning.  I'm learning to play the three rounds, other than the four.  You've got to get going early on.  You can't‑‑ it's more of a sprint than a marathon.
These events, I do happen to like more the four round events, where by you can build into the tournament, into the championship.  So I look forward to the three, well the five Majors that we play that are four, the four days.  But I'm learning about the three.  Learning that you can't score 70, you've got to be mid 60s and it's tough, very tough.

Q.  For someone who loves the Ryder Cup as much as you do, how much can you appreciate what Miguel Angel Jimenez is doing right now.  He had a great Masters, wins on the Champions Tour, and then again on the European Tour last week.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE:  Yeah.  Well, all credit to him.  He keeps on beating his own record of the oldest winner on the TOUR, you know.  That's always nice to do.
I wish him well, obviously.  He's happy off the course and he seems to be very happy on it.  He's going into the PGA Championship at Wentworth here, you would have to say one of the favorites.  At 50 years old.
If he could qualify for the Ryder Cup team, on merit, it would be a fantastic achievement.  Whether Paul McGinley would pick him or not, I'm not sure.  But if he makes it on merit, of course, he's very deserving of his spot.  The way he's playing right now and the confidence that he has, you know, he could go and win the PGA.  If you can finish fourth at the Masters, you can win our PGA, I assure you.
I played with him in Atlanta, he shot a very easy 64 that day and I was very impressed.  So things are going well for him.  Yeah.  Despite his hair.
(Laughter.)  Well, I mean, it's not good, is it?
KELLY ELBIN:  No, it's not.  It wouldn't look good on you.
KELLY ELBIN:  Colin Montgomerie, thank you very much.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE:  Thank you.  Not at all.  I do hope to speak to you late on Sunday evening.
KELLY ELBIN:  I would love that.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE:  I would love to.  Thank you very much indeed.

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