An Interview With s6

3 October 2010

An Interview With:


GORDON SIMPSON: We have Colin Montgomerie with us, and you turned a twopoint overnight deficit into a threepoint lead going into the singles. I suppose that's the stuff of dreams, isn't it, in Ryder Cups.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, very much. I think I would have taken 8all, there's no question, even at the start of today. I knew the Americans would come out strong. It was our job to even come out stronger than them, and as soon as Lee Westwood holed his first putt from 40 feet down the hill on 10, I knew that what we had said last night and what we had said in the team room remained; that is Americans were going to come out fast and we had to come out faster.

All credit to everybody in that team today. I have always said it takes 12 to try to win a Ryder Cup. And all 12 on that course today performed brilliantly. And in my time, and it's been, what, 20 years since I first started playing in The Ryder Cup; I truly believe that that was one of the greatest days for European golf that we have had. To turn a twopoint deficit into a threepoint lead was quite amazing today. And all credit to everybody; to top America winning a match, fantastic.

There's mentions for everybody. You can go on and on for everybody. But we have to mention the Molinaris. That's no question about that. They were 1down playing the last, they knew they needed at worst a birdie, and you know, Francesco backed up by his brother, to do what they did at the last hole, two rookies, two brothers coming down that last hole with everybody that plays golf in Europe watching them. Fantastic performance to hole that putt at the last by Francesco and fabulous, and it gave us a big difference, 9 1/2 6 1/2 to 97. Big, big difference. Special mention of them.

But special mention of all 12.

GORDON SIMPSON: Francesco has got a tasty little match tomorrow in position 8.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: This, as I said, all this would be pointless today if this isn't continued tomorrow. Yes, we are tired, of course. The USA Team must be tired, as well. But there's no resting here for our team. We are going here as if it's tied to try and win the singles session. That's our goal. Our goal is to win the singles session tomorrow, and if we do that, of course we'll win. That's our goal is to win the singles session as if it's tied tomorrow and there will be nobody backing down from that goal tomorrow, at all.

Q. Are you fearful that complacency might in any way overcome your team?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, that's what I just said. There will be nothing like that. We have to Brookline was mentioned in the locker room there tonight. We were 106 up at Brookline; we lost. This isn't as good of a position as them.

So there is no, ever, mention of that word in our locker rooms, never. We respect the American Team fully. They are a very strong team, well managed, and we just have to go out there and do exactly what we did today.

Q. What was the thinking behind changing Ross Fisher with Pádraig? It's obviously worked out tremendously. But what was your thinking behind it.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I just felt Pádraig would play better, and his partner, whoever it might be, would play better if Pádraig was the leader of that particular group. In fact, I think to be honest with you, I think Ross played fantastically well. There is a reason why Ross played fantastically well, because he had someone of Pádraig's stat your with him.

I played well with Faldo. I played well with Langer. There was a reason for that; because I was with them. And I think that was why that pairing was put together well, I know it was, because I did it. (Laughter).

And it worked out brilliantly.

GORDON SIMPSON: Moving along swiftly.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I have to say, Pádraig was under pressure. He lost his first match. He was under pressure here, no question. You had given him a hard time. Not his problem and not his issue, but he's been given a hard time by being selected here. Hopefully he'll realise now why he was selected. There was method. There was method in everything I've done here, from the moment I've been selected as Ryder Cup Captain, there's been method in what I've been doing here, all right. There's been method on why I selected Pádraig Harrington for this team. He spoke brilliantly last night in the team room. He's been brilliant off the course, and he's been brilliant on it.

Q. You're sounding quite pumped and a little emotional. In all of your experience going into the last day of a Ryder Cup, have you ever been as pumped and as emotional?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: 2002 I was when Sam put me first. I knew what that meant. I managed to pull that one off. But no, this is a completely different feeling to captain a team, a team I'm very, very proud of; and you know, they have made my job extremely easy today by playing the way they did. There was a couple of games there on the 14th tee that were on the edge.

The Americans were having the upper hand there to an extent. They were beginning to pull back. There was a couple allsquare and there was one 1down. To get 2 1/2 points out of that was quite incredible.

Emotional, no, no. We're just all focussed on the goal ahead tomorrow.

Q. Have any of the Molinari brothers spoken about the possibility of playing Tiger today previously, and if so, what have they said and how do you think Francesco will get on? And secondly, how happy are you that at least everybody has won half a point going into tomorrow?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I think it's important for everybody. I think the Molinaris will start on the first tee, you know, three inches taller than they were when they started the round today. I think that's fabulous for them. They are going to walk very tall onto that first tee tomorrow after what they achieved this evening. Somebody has to play Tiger Woods. Francesco hits the ball so straight and so well through the green; it's a difficult game, he's playing the world's No. 1 player. They are all difficult games. Anybody there can beat anybody at any given time.

Q. Is this a day, do you think, when Rory McIlroy really fell in love with The Ryder Cup and realised to his great pleasure that it's not an exhibition?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, very young man, and very talented young man, and I think he realises that now that this is a whole different ballgame, this. And especially playing at home, he's quite fortunate to have his rookie year, if you like, at home. It's a very different feeling.

Ian Poulter has not played at home either and neither has Miguel Angel, and although they have played five Ryder Cups between them, they have never played in a home match, and it's a very, very different feeling to be playing at home and I'm just glad that Rory will now talk about whatever happens tomorrow will talk about The Ryder Cup experience in a very different light.

Q. By the look of the singles order, we are going to win the first six matches (laughter) and Tiger and Company are going to be left out in the country. Could you explain your lineup, what made you decide to frontload the order?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, it's been noted that we are three points ahead. And if you notice by the first three names, especially, on the American Team sheet, and how strong they are, we had to counteract that with our own strength. But there's no strength there's no extra strength on this team. As I say, anybody can beat anybody in this format and these matches.

I can only control what I put forward there, and I feel that team lineup has strength everywhere in it. I'm very, very happy and delighted that I can put a team sheet out there knowing, knowing that fact; that I have strength everywhere.

Q. You talked last night about the importance of the crowd injecting passion into play today.


Q. Is there a danger that tomorrow, it could actually be rather flat, because we have no idea how many people are going to turn up? The organisers have said that only people with tickets for today can turn up, and quite a few of them I assume will be going to work tomorrow?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Quite a few of them might need a sick note. (Laughter).

I think well, I'll let you know what's been said here regarding this. It was up to the organisers to allow people with a Sunday ticket in tomorrow. Now, we all know that Monday is a working day, and a number of those won't be able to watch the matches tomorrow.

We did ask if it was possible that everybody with a Friday ticket could come in, as well. Now, there was a health and safety issue here, as you're probably aware. Today, it was touch and go whether any spectators were out on the course today at all.

So imagine if all 40,000 today turn up and all 40,000 Friday turn up, the course just couldn't cope. So unfortunately, we have had to, socalled, limit it to people with the Sunday tickets, and I think that's only fair.

We do hope that as many people as possible with Sunday tickets will turn up tomorrow and support The European Tour.

May I also give mention of the green keeping staff. To make this course playable for 1.30 was an amazing achievement. Jim McKenzie, I said, well, have you had much sleep. Well, Friday and Saturday, he didn't go to bed. He was on the golf course all night. He never went to bed at all. With lights on on these machines now, he never went to bed at all.

And I asked for the scoreboards to be changed over from the way that the scores were seen to the crowd today, I asked for the scoreboards to be changed, and some guy worked a miracle overnight, some techie guy in some studio worked out and got these boards up; so the people, every spectator new exactly what was going on at all time with every game at the one time and it helped us because we had momentum ask it maintained that momentum.

So all credit to those people for one, working so hard. There was a number of our European Tour staff on that golf course, as well, and all of the volunteers from all over Wales to come in here and help make that course playable at all today was a fantastic effort and also for the scoreboards. The scoreboards were vital to keep that momentum and to keep that crowd noise going around that golf course today.

Q. Rory clearly loves playing with Graeme, they are great mates, but as the youngest, do you worry about how he might cope with the pressure on his own without his best bud backing him up?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: They are all on their own tomorrow. I have some rookies playing on their own, suddenly you don't have anybody next to you, however it might be, and it is a very different feel playing on your own in singles, and I can speak from experience, it is a very odd feeling.

But I'm sure he can cope and that's why he's that high up the leaderboard, if you like, not leaderboard, but the singles matches, match two. That's why he is, because we feel that he is that good.

Q. I presume if you have the world No. 1 and the world No.2, you would not have put them in a position where they might be irrelevant; I thought that lesson had been learnt.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I'm trying to be as diplomatic as possible throughout this week and I continue to be that way. It does surprise me that match 8 and match 10 contain 1 and 2 in the world, but at the same time, it is a very, very and let me say this, very strong American lineup, same as ours. This job has not been done yet.

We have played for 16 matches now already. There's another 12 to go tomorrow. It's an enormous day tomorrow. Our job is to win the singles matches. That's our job. We have had a big team meeting and we are quite, quite okay with the position that we want to try and win the singles series; if so, we win The Ryder Cup, simple as that.

Q. You mentioned the Molinari brothers, and there was another great turnaround by Jiménez and Hanson. How pleased were you for those two pairings, less marquis names and seemed like a classic European Ryder Cup.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, Jiménez at 16, what a fantastic birdie down the hill at 16. I've always rated him from the time that we played for the last 20 years on Tour, and he's only one of the few players, if any, in world golf, that's won three times this year, and I gave him a very strong partner in Peter Hanson. I don't think you realise how I think of Peter Hanson. I think he's very, very strong and very, very good; and I was delighted when he won that Czech Open and got into this team on merit. Deservedly so. One of the mostimproved players on The European Tour over the last two or three years, if not the most improved player on The European Tour and delighted to have him on board. He backed up Miguel fantastically well.

Q. You indicated earlier that when you thought you were going to be 88, you had one type of pairing set, and after what happened this afternoon, you changed that. Can you tell me what kind of theory you used in the other pairings and how they differed from this?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I think it's difficult to say, because, yes, of course I know, but I think it would be wrong to mention that. I think the way this has worked out, this is our singles draw for 9 1/2 6 1/2 up. That's all I would like to say about that.

I don't mean to not answer your question that way, but it would be wrong of me to do so.

Q. Just to follow up, you said in here that you were thinking of this and telling your team, but you're looking at it as 88?