Colin Montgomerie British Open Press Conference Transcript

By Golf Channel NewsroomJuly 18, 2002, 4:00 pm
STEWART McDOUGAL: Ladies and gentlemen we have Colin Montgomerie in for an interview. Thank you for coming. Give us a summary about your preparations for this new championship. How is it going.
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: The same as I did last year really, I hope to finish 12 places higher. I practiced last night. I started at 4:00, as I did at Lytham and it worked very well. There was no one around. I was the only one on the golf course and I finished at 8:30 last night. I was hearing you a lot in one of the tents so thank you for coming in so early, 9:00.
 
It's worked well. I played well the last day, especially at Loch Lomond and it's always good to do that. If I was, say, third and finished 14th as I did, I would be disappointed, but coming up from 50th to 14th is positive. And I played well yesterday evening and look forward to it. The course itself is in immaculate condition and rightly rated as our top British course. This course, I believe is the best one in the lot, and we have a lot of good ones. I believe Loch Lomond is the best inland course we have, and this is the best links course that we have and rightly ranked in the top in the top five in the world as it has been for many many years.
 
Q. (Inaudible)
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It's a matter of getting the whole thing together. When that happens, I tend to do quite well.
 
Q. Why is that here? Do you see yourself doing what you did last year?
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I plan on contending. Of course I do. It's just a matter of getting everything together. The first three days at Loch Lomond my game wasn't good and then it all came good in the last day and then I lost my putting. So it's one of these things that swings around about. If I can just get the whole thing together, yes, of course we'll contend. That's the thing we have to practice on today. Whether I'll play today, I'm not sure. I just need to get into a frame of mind that I'm confident of all aspects of the game on the first tee.
 
Q. If you can get things going (inaudible) --
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Definitely. Even more so north of the border than it was south of the border. But, yes, to birdie the first two holes last year at the Championship spurred things on and kept it going the whole week, which was fantastic support, especially around 6 under after 10. The whole thing was just progressing well and I hope for the same support, if not better, as I say, north of the border.
 
Q. I know you said the other day -- (inaudible) --
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, possibly the last time I came here in '92 I just had done well in the U.S. Open and had just lost out to Peter O'Malley at the Scottish Open, and I was obviously one of the favorites here and this year possibly, not in that same light, but at the same time I am 10 years more experienced and I think that will stand in good stead, that I'm not seen to be one of the top favorites and that's actually quite a benefit sometimes.
 
Q. Straight hitter, and that is absolutely paramount here; isn't it?
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It is paramount here, more than most. The course, as I said, is set up very very well. We played this course 10 years ago, as I said, and most of us were still using wooden clubs and very different distance of golf balls and stuff. We were worried in case this course was too short or whatever, but having played it yesterday and having to figure out 2-irons or 3-irons or even 4-irons off the tees, the course is amply long enough and a fantastic condition, but you do have to put the ball in the fairway. They've done well on the 1st hole. They've really done well there, because that's the narrowest fairway on the course, a fearsome opening tee shot. The second shot opens up actually, but it's to put your tee shot within range of the green and they've done that very very well.
 
Q. When you first saw the draw -- obviously you look for your own name - but do you then hope that you're close to Tiger because he has the reputation -- (inaudible)?
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Let's hope this time, with all respect to him, it does work the other way around, because I'm exactly opposite times to him, to the minute. So let's hope so. I think the weather is set sort of fair. There doesn't seem to be any extraordinary weather due. But no breeze or a little breeze here makes a big difference and to certain holes. Last night there was very little breeze and it was good to practice in conditions like that. The first thing you do is look for the time. The time is the most important thing. It doesn't really matter and it shouldn't matter who you are paired with. The time is the most important thing, and I like to actually go late/early, to get the whole thing over and done with as opposed to early/late. You have got a whole day in between your times and I don't really like that as much.
 
Q. How has your back been holding up?
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, my back is a concern obviously but at the same time, it was fine yesterday and played around okay and I take it day by day and it's okay right now. If this is real wood, I'll touch it and be okay.
 
Q. Are you on an exercise regime?
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I am on one and it's very well, I have a 12-month program and I'm only in the first few weeks of that and the big test will be sort of a comeback next year and everything will be clear, and that's what I plan on having done.
 
Q. Is it stretching or pumping iron?
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Stretching mainly. It's all too tight, so I have to stretch out.
 
Q. Are you on one of your intermittent diets? You look leaner, trimmer, fitter (inaudible).
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, it's not. Thank you very much.
 
I have lost weight. When I came to this tournament last year, I was two and a half stone heavier than I am here. And it does affect the swing and the pace of swing and the contact and what have you. I'm happier at this weight. I was told to lose weight because of back problems and have done so. I've got a bit to go and I actually look forward to it now. I've got into sort of a regime now and a routine that I enjoy.
 
Q. What is your weight?
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I'm just under 15 stone.
 
Q. Are you down to your fighting weight?
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I would rather go lower, but it's not bad from what it was before.
 
Q. (Inaudible) tell us what you did after Sunday.
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Rested. I did putt well at all at Loch Lomond. I shot a 66 the last day, but I putted very very poorly, and now with my new putting technique, if you like, I've just got to go with it. There's very little practice that can be done once you aim and the correct posture, and what have you, so it's not the same as it used to be, where I only had my hands to blame, if you like. Now there are three points of contacts, the body, the two hands and into my belly. There's little need for practice as opposed to pace. The pace was just off, so coming from greens that were quite quick at Loch Lomond to greens that are slower here or different grass or different pace, there's very little reason to practice.
 
Q. Do you look back on last year as an opportunity missed?
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, very much so. I know I won't get many opportunities of winning majors, and that was one that was missed. I think David Duval took that opportunity on with Tiger not performing last year. It was an opportunity for everybody. He took it. I didn't.
 
Q. What do you take from that for this year?
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, we hope Tiger doesn't perform, for one, and then we all will have an opportunity, and let's hope that I can take the opportunity this year, if that door happens to be open, but if he plays the way he has been and is doing, we all believe that the opportunity won't arise, but let's hope it does.
 
Q. If you play your best and he plays his best?
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: He wins.
 
Q. Nine times out of 10 or 10 times out of 10?
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Something like that.
 
(LAUGHTER)
 
Q. (Inaudible)
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It's my what?
 
Q. 13th opportunity -- (inaudible)
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I never knew that. Okay, it might be lucky. You never know. But I'm not really, no.
 
Q. Just as the Europeans (inaudible)?
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Sure.
 
Q. Do you believe that yourself or other British or European golfers (inaudible)?
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I think it's just coincidence, to be honest with you. Augusta is very different even for the American players. It's a very different course for everybody and it's not their type of rough and it's not their type of shots, shot-making skills that they have to perform week in and week out in the U.S. tour, so it's very different for them, which helps us at Augusta. Here, I believe that the rough has become more severe over the years and the courses are longer, lusher and playing more into Americans hands than it is ours. But in saying that, it's purely really coincidence that they happen to have at the time the best players in the world and they tend to come to the fore in championships of this quality. We all said that St. Andrews was a bit of a lottery because it was so dry and who's going to win there, anybody can win there. It's funny, the last group was No. 1 and 2 in the world. So it proves that the course stood the test and I envision this to be something similar.
 
Q. How much does length matter here?
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, everything seems to narrow up considerably. I mean, I'm quite fortunate that the caddy I have now, Andy Prodger (ph) won this event with Nick in 1987, and it's always nice to have a caddy that has won an Open. He's won a couple, but at the same time around the same course, and it's amazing how he was plodding his way around yesterday with me as if he was with me in 1987, and the course hasn't changed that much from the tee. I think there is only one new tee, I believe, since then. We position our ball and I don't think length is so critical at this event as it has been in the past.
 
Q. Even if it's not done deliberately, is this a (inaudible)?
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: This isn't a deliberate move not at all. It's just the way the course has been designed. There are a lot of 2-irons and 3-irons off the tees, and obviously his greatest asset is not just his length, but his straight length, and that tends to take away that. But we said St. Andrews was fast and anyone could win there. He won by eight or whatever it was, so we'll see how it goes.
 
Q. What advice would you give Justin Rose?
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I was just about to answer your question, what advice would I give to Tiger. Advice to give to who?
 
Q. Justin Rose.
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: He is playing with Tiger. He has to play his own game. Do you know, I've said before and I'll say again, he's not going to beat Tiger in length. He is a not going to beat him on mental skills or mental ability or putting or chipping whatever. The only way to beat Tiger is to score a lower score. That's it. The that's the only way you can beat him, is to shoot lower, and Justin is in the same boat as another 155. We all have to do the same thing.
 
Q. How many people in the field would you expect would have a legitimate shot to contend and assuming the weather stays fairly mild, how low would you expect the scores and last, what advice do you have for Tiger?
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Right, we'll be a while. There is a northerly wind to blow here. It's to be dry, I believe, but a northerly wind to blow which is quite tough, and I reckon you won't find the scores any lower than 10 under to win. Now forgive me for your other two questions.
 
Q. How many people --
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Oh, sorry. You look at the top 20 in the world and that's generally, apart from Carnoustie, which was a unique occasion, if you like. But over the last 10 years, if you look at the top 20 in the world, and generally that's -- you win it from that, who can contend and who can compete and who can win. There is plenty of people who can contend. Don't get me wrong. Winning is another thing. Who can make a four at the last. Who can finish with five pars to win. Plenty of people can contend up to that stage, but who can actually take that forward step, and there is very few, and I reckon 20 out of 156 competitors are capable of doing that.
 
Q. And no advice for Tiger?
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Sven here could actually say something, but not me. No advice at all.
 
Q. (Inaudible)?
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Definitely, yes, and I would expect that and want that, definitely, yes, there are playing to go and places not to go, you know.
 
Q. Give us some examples.
 

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: There are a few places. It's difficult to sort of name an example now. The last time I played the course was 10 years ago, you know. So it's difficult to say, but there is the odd circumstance where he mentioned where it was, and how he got out of it, and how he got around the situation, because you can't put your ball in the right place all the time, but it's putting the ball into the place where we can make five from and not six, if you know what I mean.
 
Q. Are any of those places, Colin, notable for being shorter than you were in?
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Not necessarily. The course was playing quite long last night. It was drizzly. It was wet and damp and one of these heavy days where the ball wasn't flying very far and on the fairway as well, so there wasn't any particular instance that I felt I was 20 yards past him or 30 yards past him, no, not at all. He was a lot longer in '87 than he is now.
 
Q. Who decides whether you play today?
 
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: If depends how I practice. I want to go out and see a hole that I wasn't happy with last night. It tends to bend the wrong way, the 6th hole. It goes right to left off the tee and I would like to go have a look at that again and find out my aim. It's a very difficult hole to get your aim on. There's nothing there but a bunch of hay in front of you, so you can't really see the fairway, so I want to go out and see that again and chip and putt around and get a feel for the pace of the greens and that type of thing. I probably won't play today.
 
STEWART McDOUGAL: Colin, thank you very much.
 
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The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

“What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

“I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.

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Landry stays hot, leads desert shootout at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 12:35 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Andrew Landry topped the crowded CareerBuilder Challenge leaderboard after another low-scoring day in the sunny Coachella Valley.

Landry shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course to reach 16 under. He opened with a 63 on Thursday at La Quinta Country Club.

''Wind was down again,'' Landry said. ''It's like a dome out here.''

Jon Rahm, the first-round leader after a 62 at La Quinta, was a stroke back. He had two early bogeys in a 67 on the Nicklaus layout.

''It's tough to come back because I feel like I expected myself to go to the range and keep just flushing everything like I did yesterday,'' Rahm said. ''Everything was just a little bit off.''

Jason Kokrak was 14 under after a 67 at Nicklaus. Two-time major champion Zach Johnson was 13 under along with Michael Kim and Martin Piller. Johnson had a 64 at Nicklaus.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


Landry, Rahm, Kokrak and Johnson will finish the rotation Saturday at PGA West's Stadium Course, also the site of the final round.

''You need to hit it a lot more accurate off the tee because being in the fairway is a lot more important,'' Rahm said about the Pete Dye-designed Stadium Course, a layout the former Arizona State player likened to the Dye-designed Karsten course on the school's campus. ''With the small greens, you have water in play. You need to be more precise. Clearly the hardest golf course.''

Landry pointed to the Saturday forecast.

''I think the wind's supposed to be up like 10 to 20 mph or something, so I know that golf course can get a little mean,'' Landry said. ''Especially, those last three or four holes.''

The 30-year-old former Arkansas player had five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine. After winning his second Web.com Tour title last year, he had two top-10 finishes in October and November at the start the PGA Tour season.

''We're in a good spot right now,'' Landry said. ''I played two good rounds of golf, bogey-free both times, and it's just nice to be able to hit a lot of good quality shots and get rewarded when you're making good putts.''

Rahm had four birdies and the two bogeys on his first six holes. He short-sided himself in the left bunker on the par-3 12th for his first bogey of the week and three-putted the par-4 14th – pulling a 3-footer and loudly asking ''What?'' – to drop another stroke.

''A couple of those bad swings cost me,'' Rahm said.

The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3 in the world, Rahm made his first par of the day on the par-4 16th and followed with five more before birdieing the par-5 fourth. The 23-year-old Spaniard also birdied the par-5 seventh and par-3 eighth.

''I had close birdie putts over the last four holes and made two of them, so I think that kind of clicked,'' said Rahm, set to defend his title next week at Torrey Pines.

He has played the par 5s in 9 under with an eagle and seven birdies.

Johnson has taken a relaxed approach to the week, cutting his practice to two nine-hole rounds on the Stadium Course.

''I'm not saying that's why I'm playing well, but I took it really chill and the golf courses haven't changed,'' Johnson said. ''La Quinta's still really pure, right out in front of you, as is the Nicklaus.''

Playing partner Phil Mickelson followed his opening 70 at La Quinta with a 68 at Nicklaus to get to 6 under. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer is playing his first tournament of since late October.

''The scores obviously aren't what I want, but it's pretty close and I feel good about my game,'' Mickelson said. ''I feel like this is a great place to start the year and build a foundation for my game. It's easy to identify the strengths and weaknesses. My iron play has been poor relative to the standards that I have. My driving has been above average.''

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on a sponsor exemption, had a 70 at Nicklaus to match Mickelson at 6 under. The Southern California recruit is playing his first PGA Tour event. He tied for 65th in the Australian Open in November in his first start in a professional tournament.