Colin Montgomerie (Final Round- Media Center)


By USGA
July 13, 2014
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome the 2014 U.S. Senior Open Champion, Mr. Colin Montgomerie to the Media Center. Colin, you won in a 3 hole aggregate playoff over Gene Sauers? It's the second 3 hole aggregate playoff we've had in the Senior Open. Last one was in 2002 which was one won by Don Poole. We've had some great golf here at Oak Tree National this week and I guess I'll start off with an easy one, Colin. How does it sound to hear that introduction?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I was just about to interrupt you and say that sounds good. It's been awhile. You know, as you're probably aware in the media, I've been close in these USGA Championships a few times, I've lost in a playoff and been one shot behind a couple of times and you have to wait to 50 to finally win one. Absolutely thrilled to come back from a disappointing yesterday, really, 74 was a disappointing score but managed to hold it together. I played particularly badly yesterday and that could have gone to 76, 77 very easily and the 74 really kept me in there to allow me to score 69 today and to be only 1-over for the weekend in extreme conditions on a wonderful, wonderful golf course is okay. So, my heart goes out to Gene Sauers, of course. Did a great job and what a fantastic second shot he hit at the 72nd hole and that putt was just a hair's breath short of pace or else it was in and he would have won, you know. Just managed to come through in the playoff to par the last was super to hole that putt at the last. My chip shot, 7-iron caught the rough at the top of the green there. Didn't go forward. Chip shot down the hill was very average, really, and a good 10-footer to finish. As I say, couldn't be more happier than I am right now to have won and to follow it after the PGA Senior victory a month ago to follow it with the U.S. Senior Open a month later is fantastic. I'm really on top of the world right now. It's a fabulous feeling.

THE MODERATOR: We'll go to questions.

Q. Colin, other than the putt that you made to win there on the 3rd playoff hole, what do you feel like were the shots that were most important today for you to get to this point?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah. As I said yesterday, I got off to a decent start and I did. The 5-iron I hit at the second hole, 195 yards I had and hit it to 8-foot and holed it, that was most important to give me something to go at and also for the scoreboard to change so that the guys ahead of me, the three guys ahead of me understood that okay, Monty is meaning business here as well. To join that pack very quick believe at 4-under was vital. I knew how difficult the course was and how difficult it would play with Sunday pins. So from then on it was really very patient. You saw me two-putt a lot of holes. I didn't want to rush it by or do something silly. I knew how difficult it was and I knew that par in most USGA events is good and I realized that and was patient out there and just was 2-under and held it for the last few holes coming in.

Q. Monty, most players say they don't follow the leaderboard. I don't know how many of them are lying. I believe you do follow it and would you address if do you and why?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I can't believe people that don't follow the leaderboard. There's no point in going for shot shots you don't have to go for or playing safe. I'm an avid scoreboard watcher and I watched it today and realized that Gene had bogeyed the 16th in regulation play so we were tied at that stage playing the last. I hit a good 5-iron in there and his shot out. All credit to him. He came extremely close. At the same time, I enjoy watching scoreboards. I enjoy watching other people so I know exactly where I am at all times.

Q. Can you talk about the golf course and how difficult it played this week and maybe its potential for hosting future Major Championships?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: As I said to you on Wednesday when I came in, I think this golf course is fantastic. I think it's got great character, no two holes are anything like the same. It goes different directions. There's water holes. The par 3s are superb. The par-5s are definite Pete Dye par-5s where you can go for it and ala TPC at Sawgrass. In Edmond, Oklahoma, you should be very proud of having something so good, so local. A world-renowned golf course. I'm taking this course back home to tell everyone at home in Britain how good this place is. It's a fantastic golf course. Whether I won, lost or drawn here, it's a fabulous golf course and a couple of back tees for the junior guys and who knows, you know, why not host a USGA Open Championship here and it's certainly good enough. There's no question.

Q. 3rd hole of the playoff, great drive. Your second shot, you have a pretty simple approach and you put it in the rough. Some similarities there to the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot. Did that ever go through your mind and if it did, how did you block it out because you ended up having to hit a big putt to win this tournament?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: The 7-iron, the second shot was max. It was 171 yards to clear that little bit of rough and that's all I had to do and I came up a foot short because that would have rolled down to the pin the way Gene Sauers did in regulation play. I would have been fine. It stuck and it was right beside a sprinkler head and it was wet and it didn't come out the way a dry chip would have come out. It came out dead and left myself a good 10-footer, I suppose. It will get longer over the years, you know, but it's ten feet right now. Lucky enough it went in. I wasn't thinking about anything. I was just thinking about the present moment. Winged Foot was an awful shot and, unfortunately, you know, came unstuck in the U.S. Open there but this makes up for everything, it really does.

Q. Colin, some of the very greatest players in golf, their reputations are cast in stone when they turn 50. What do you think what you've done the last couple months has done for your reputation as a golfer?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, you know, you wait 22 years to win over in America. My first Major was the U.S. Open in Pebble Beach in 1992 and that was my First American Major and you wait 22 years and, you know it's thrilling. I've been -- as I keep on saying here, the crowd, great, great crowd interaction and participation today. I have been made very welcome here on the Senior Tour, Champions Tour and also the Senior Majors and it's a delight to come and play here on great golf courses. The weather is a lot better than it is at home and I'm enjoying it. I think if you enjoy something, you're usually quite good at it, no matter what it is. I'm enjoying playing golf here in America in my latter years and thrilled and delighted that I'm able to do so.

Q. Colin, if you're going to win two Majors these are probably the two you want to win because you get into the PGA championship and next year's U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. My question is, if you continue to play like this and you putt like you did this week and you putted like you did at the PGA, is there a question you couldn't contend and win one of those two?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Obviously the courses are slightly longer but at the same time if I can play the way I'm doing and to score 65 around here, to finish with 65 at Benton Harbor, my golf is as good as it was in the '90s when I was No. 2 in the world. It really is. I can't see any difference between that. The courses are longer, they're tougher. The pins are located in tougher positions but my golf is as good as it was then and I so look forward to trying to participate against the best guys in the world and if Tom Watson can do it at 59 come within an 8-footer from winning at 59 he's given everybody over 50 hope and you know, you never know. You never know.

Q. Is there anything that you can put your finger on that's changed for you that's got you to the point where you're getting over the top versus the past?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: That's a good question. I'm just -- I think I've matured on the golf course. I'm more patient than I was. I think I felt that in Majors when I was contending that I had to play perfect golf, I had to go out and score 64 and it's amazing the quality of the golf courses and the toughness of them, you don't. You have to play intelligent golf and I think I've matured enough to realize that and play more within myself and sometimes, including today, to play away from some pins so you don't make bogies and you realize that in Major golf pars are usually good enough especially in USGA events.

Q. Colin, when you came off the last playoff hole I know you got a chance to be with your family. Can you just talk about what that was like and the emotions there?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Super for my wife and three daughters to be here is fantastic and I'm just sorry for them. It was very hot for them to walk around. They had to walk 21 holes today. 18 is enough. But your committee looked after them fantastic. They drove them out to the 16th with the police escort. They'll remember that for a long time. Usually the police cars are chasing me, they're not actually in front. So, it's a delight and super to have them here. We're going to have a great evening tonight and we fly home back to Britain from Dallas tomorrow and have a week at home and go down to Royal Porthcawl for the British Senior Open there. I look forward to trying to contend again.

Q. The TV guys were a little stumped. It is -- 0-7-1 in playoffs on the Tour before today but in Ryder Cup in single matches you're 6-0-2 and never lost. Any particular reason why it hasn't worked out for you in the past before today?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Don't know. My playoff record is pretty weak, to be honest. I've lost a number of playoffs. I think I've been in ten and won one of them up till today. You talk about the Ryder Cup and one-on-one I'm usually quite good. You don't know. A playoff in a golf tournament is like a penalty shoot-out in the World Cup. You don't know what's going to happen and I do prefer the three holes. I've been in a couple of playoffs for Majors, the U.S. PGA Championship, Riviera, one hole, very very sudden. Of course sudden death is what it is by definition. I think three holes is very fair. It gives you an option to make a mistake as I did at the 16th and come back and still be victorious. Yeah, I can't put my finger on it. It's 50/50. It really is. It's a toss of the coin playoff.

Q. Colin, was that the 12th hole where the bagpiper appeared? What did you think?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I'll tell you what, never mind these bagpipes. He was dressed in a kilt, which is a heavy material, believe me and so all credit to him and yeah, he played the Scotland song as we're coming up the hole. It's amazing to have that. I'm 5,000 miles from my home and to have him playing was a thrill. So whoever he might be, I will find him no doubt. You know where he lives because he's housed there by the pool and please pass on my thanks.

Q. Monty, I think the golf world kind of learned the story of Gene Sauers in the past couple of days. Can you comment on him and playing with him?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Obviously, you know, you reach this age and medically things start going a little bit awry at our age and all credit to him for the illness that he carries and to come back and do what he's doing. Fantastic effort. And to start with the lead -- I've had it myself, and it's not easy. I led the first couple of days. It's not easy to lead a championship and play with Bernhard Langer as well, the best player really that's playing out here. So, it's tough but all credit to him for persevering through that illness and also coming up a hair's breath short of victory here. You know -- I and the rest of the Champions Tour, we all wish him well.

THE MODERATOR: We'd like you to go, for the record, go through your round with birdies and bogies if you could.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Sure. For the record, 5-iron to 8-foot at the 2nd. Was a good birdie. I followed that with a bogey at the 3rd. I missed the fairway and chipped up poorly to five, six foot and I missed it and then I had a great birdie at 5th. Driver, 9-iron there at the 5th to about 30-foot and I holed it up the hill. The 7th hole was really a miss from 6-foot for an eagle but managed to tap-in. That was a 5-iron I hit in there from 220. It was downwind. Then I managed to make 6 at the 12th. I played the par-5s particularly poorly this week and a 6 at the 12th and I was very disappointed at that. After my playing partner, Scott Dunlap, had done exactly the same thing and scooted off the front of the green, I followed him which is a complete no-no. I think he made 7 and I made 6. Amazing mistake there, really, but then followed up with a great 6-iron at the 13th. It run up the back of the green even and it just sat there and came back down to about 5-foot and I holed that for a 2. Then played, I wouldn't say conservatively coming in but had chances but didn't want to do anything silly. I drove the green at 15, was a super drive and three-putted from the back edge. It was a very difficult first putt but it kept me in there. For my caddy Allister to be with me for all 8 money titles that we have earned together, the two of us and to come back and to resume our relationship, we started -- he started caddying for me 23 years ago and it's a great relationship remains to this day. Ten percent of this victory goes straight into his pocket. No question, he deserves it.

Q. Monty, I'm just wondering when you shot the 65 on Thursday if you realized looking back now just how good that was, 8 birdies and thinking at that point if you shot 1-over the rest of the tournament you would be ahead, would that have entered your mind at all?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Halfway through the event and -- you know, Bernhard Langer was the danger man. He always is, you know. The Germans, they can play football, the Germans, and they can also play golf. We have a U.S. Open Champion and we almost had another one day. He was the danger man. To stay ahead of Bernhard Langer in any senior event you play in, you're close to the lead. That was what I was trying to do all week was just stay one ahead of Bernhard Langer. And a great friend of mine, right Ryder Cup colleague of mine and great competitor. At 57 years old, all credit to him for keeping it going the way he does. But, I came in here after 6-under and you shoot 8 birdies and the golf course doesn't seem as difficult as it is. Came into its own over the last three days and became the test that Oak Tree National is and you've got a great golf course here, you really have.

THE MODERATOR: Anymore questions for our champion? Colin, congratulations, well played.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Thank you for your help this week. Thank you very much
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
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