An Interview With:COLIN MONTGOMERIE
GORDON SIMPSON: Colin, well played today. Of course never use a cliche, beware of the injured golfer, but beware of the injured golfer.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah. It's amazing how things have transpired over the last week. I was not well last week. And I am sorry I didn't able to speak to you yesterday, but I was away -- I didn't make the players' meeting either. I was away in London getting some treatments to be able to play here. I apologize for not seeing you yesterday. But at the same time, yeah, I mean, the best shots I hit today was 5-iron at the fifth, and the reason I say that is that usually it would have been a 6-iron, and I hit and 5-iron there because I can't come through the ball properly and it's amazing how much more control I seem to have on the ball getting one more club and hit it to 10 foot behind the hole there and holed it. And that's what I am doing right now. I am just playing within myself and trying to get around and use my new technique on the putting to its best effect, and it seems to be working well.
GORDON SIMPSON: Here at 6 a.m. as well. Do you need that extra time to get ready when your back --
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes. As I did on Monday, I have to have two hours now warmup to get the blood flowing or else I just can't play. I am leaving here now. I have got an appointment in Fulham with my osteopath this afternoon, then back for a massage at home this evening, and then massage again in the morning and then come up here two or three hours beforehand, before I play tomorrow. So it's all been planned out so I can get around these four days, because -- I didn't have much time from Monday evening through to Thursday morning because of the fact that the last turn finished late.
Q. What did the chap say to you yesterday in London, the specialist?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah. He's done wonders, and a brilliant, brilliant man. And I just feel that, as he said, we need two months here and I have got two days. So we spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday in his practice and worked wonders. But of course I didn't have a practice round. I wasn't able to play Tuesday, Wednesday anyway. I came out here with Denis Pugh yesterday afternoon, just to chip really. It was very windy and wet, so we didn't do much. I just chipped and putted the first of the six holes and that was it.
Q. You had said that you felt the right thing for you to do this season was to get back to the way you were. There's more than one way to skin a cat when it comes to wining golf tournaments. Has the back problem actually almost accelerated that and then getting you back to, as you say, playing within yourself and perhaps tempo of your swing?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I think you are right. I think it's made it more obvious to me that four 68s usually do okay and it will do this week. I think the weather is due to be inclement tomorrow, so I know four 68s around here will a always earn a good check. 18-under is the record, and with the weather forecast as it's supposed to be, I think that will remain intact this week. So I know that four 68s usually wins. And I have got to get back to trying to score that. In fact, even four 67s wasn't good enough last week; but at the same time, that's what I used to do and that is what I want to get back to be able to do. And this last month has been probably the best month in the last two years.
Q. When you got to your tee shot off the first hole, did you think, Oh, my God, why did I get up that early?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, they've planted a tree. I am delighted that the millennium took place here because the members of the club have donated a tree and they have planted it right on the left-hand side of the rough. I didn't know it was there, and it must have just been planted within the last year, probably since the Match Play, I believe. Anyway, there's a big chip outside of it because my 5-wood second shot hit it and took a bit of a chip out of it, so I apologize there.
But I hit a good shot from there, but it was right behind the tree. I felt it was going to be a long day, but managed to make par.
Q. Any indication how long this condition in your back in going to persist?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: All I can do about it is work on my stomach muscle. I need a six-pack stomach. I have a few years to work at it, and thank God. (Laughter) I am starting at base zero. Well, I am talking to the wrong fellow here, but that's the way of doing it. If you have strong stomach muscles, the back then gets supported. And that's your structure if you like, and I have been told that. So I have got to lose more weight and I have got to get strong in the stomach. That's what I am doing right now. I am on another diet. I have got to get my stomach muscles strong or else my career will be shortened, simple as that.
Q. How short?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I mean, every week is a bonus.
Q. Your reflections on having more control, for example, with a 5-iron than a 6-iron are interesting. Do you think in this day of the long ball and people are just trying to hit the ball so hard that perhaps this is a cause of some of the back problems? There are physiotherapists who think that is because of how hard they are hitting the ball these days...
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I think people are working harder at their games. I am sure about that. Physically, it's taking more out of people. I think people are practicing harder, and I think physically it's more demanding on them now. And also people are beginning to hit the ball a lot, lot harder. There's a Tiger Woods effect here that's run right through golf, all levels of golf, and it is causing more problems, yes, definitely.
Q. Does it actually hurt when you strike the ball?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, definitely.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I'm hurting now. I shouldn't be sitting at all. I shouldn't be sitting. I don't sit down. That's why -- I didn't on Sunday night, the maid did a very easy job in my room in Germany. They didn't have to make my bed; I wasn't in it. I just walked around the room all night.
Q. Warmups makes it hurt less?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Correct.
Q. Those of us who have had bad backs find driving very difficult. When you are going, for example, to see this person in Fulham, and when you come here, are you driven here? Are you driven around?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I drove here this morning, but going into Fulham this evening, I have a driver, yes. And I can stretch out in the back, yes. I have a driver.
Q. Flat on the back?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, not necessarily. But if I have a problem, I can relax, yes. But I have a driver.
Q. All the rounds you have had here, where do you rate that one?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Considering I have three bogeys, you know, 9 birdies and an eagle and three bogeys, that's not bad, you know. To have 3 bogeys and shoot 64 in gusty sort of conditions, if you like, okay. The greens are soft and they are holding. And the greens were very good this morning, obviously, but 64 is a good target. Nice to get my name up there early, and that's the same -- that was as good a round as my other two 64s I have shot here. Yeah, I mean, that's a good round of golf. I do need that because I hit it -- tomorrow afternoon especially is going to be quite poor. The weather is coming in from the southwest, and so I will need it. So I am glad to get that under my belt, if you like. I had opportunities to score well today, took it, that's very important.
Q. How many shots in this rounds did you take one club or more?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Most.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Most.
Q. Was the diet you are on now?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I am just -- it's sort of portion control. I eat less. It is amazing how that works actually.
Q. Would you have played any other European event but this this week?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Probably not, no.
Q. Do you sleep on the floor at home?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No. No, we're not having as many rows now, so -- (laughter) --
Q. 6 pack, I usually drink actually. What actually is wrong with your back?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I have four disks that are prolapsed in my back, and they are leaking out fluid and it's very, very bad on the spine. They are all at a funny angle as well and my spine is at a funny angle as well. I am a little lopsided to the left.
Q. Could you tell us how much sleep you average in the last week?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well I had none on Sunday. Then I tried to get some sleep on Monday. It is very difficult when you try and move over, you know, we always move -- I just wake up but it's fine. I can handle that. I know my rhythm is good right now, and I am confident on the greens, I put up with it. I will be tired after next week. Probably if I can play next week it will be great, then I will be tired after that. Then I will have a week off after that which is great before the U.S. Open.
Q. How many hours a night?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Two or three.
Q. How do you feel in the day then?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I am very tired right now. Very tired ride now. I will fall asleep on the way into London and back out again, definitely.
Q. You said you needed two months and you have got two days. Your decision to play 4 in a row or 5 at the moment, the spin-off be that you won't recover in time for the U.S. Open; is that a fear?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I just have to go day by day really. It's unfortunate. I can't get any stomach muscles up within two weeks unfortunately. But at the same time, my rhythm is good. I am starting to putt much much better - much better, that's a delight. I felt that okay, because this is next door and because I like Wentworth so much that I felt that I will give it a go and that was all I was doing this morning, I was giving it a go and seeing what happened, and if I shot 75, I just shot 75. I mean it was no big deal. I had to give it a go and I shot 64. Now, I have got to be really careful and really watch what I am doing because I have a good chance at that.
Q. How are you getting the 6 pack, is it weights or situps?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I can't do any work right now because my back is not aligned -- I can't really work right now. I have to wait until it is stabilized, then I can start working but it's a swimming pool mainly at home. I have got a pool at home and I work out there. Swimming pool that's a huge benefit for me right now.
Q. What about the supports that the weight lifters wear, would they do you any good?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, yes in the long-term, but right now, I need as much support as I can so I go in the pool at home. That's supports me.
Q. On the course?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Oh, on the course.
Q. Would it help to get one of those belts?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I have enough problems with it what I am doing, so I don't -- no, not right now.
Q. Reaction of your peers to all this great golf while you are struggling physically?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I got a lot of support this morning which was nice on the range, everyone comes up and says, well done because we all know that as a European player it would have been good if I had won on Monday, it would be good for the Tour. As it was, it was a good good effort against someone who we all feel is by far the best player that's playing the game right now. That was a good effort, especially the way I felt, and some of you were out watching me try to hit balls before I played on Monday. It wasn't very pretty. So that was okay on Monday, and I was glad that I could compete against him and -- but I must admit, I mean, the four 2-irons he hit on the last hole were probably the most impressive four shots I have ever seen in golf. Yeah.
? COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Actually finished in the same space. Very, very impressive indeed. If that's the standard that we have to attain, well, we all have a lot of work to do.
Q. With the wind the way it was today, was it a question of just making sure that you got through this first four holes relatively unscathed, or --
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, 1, 2, 3, are most difficult and then I was -- I always feel that this course when you come off the 4th green, if you are not --I always feel I have got to start -- I have got to have that 11 shots the first three holes, then birdie the fourth. If I am not under par after 4, I have got a long day ahead of me because 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 before you get to the next par 5, the 12th, with a gusting wind are most difficult, and I feel I have got to have one shot in the bag, if you like, from the fourth which I was this morning. I was 1-under after 4. That enabled me to go fourth.
Q. 3 looked really tough.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Third was hard, especially the pin position back right, was difficult. One is always a good hole. And two is always a sleeper.
Q. 12th hole today maybe the worst shot of your round --
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, yes, I led a bit of a charmed life at 12, to be honest with you. I wasn't really on the map. I hit it left off the tee, which wasn't clever but I only had 190 yard to the front which would have been 4 or 3-iron under normal conditions, but I hit a 5-wood, it came out. I was supposed to draw it in. It came out dead right. It could have been out-of-bounds across the 13th tee, over the new fence that they have built there that I hadn't seen before and it stopped about a yard from the out-of-bounds. Then holed it from there. Some say, okay reasonable shot, others would say, you know, fortunate.
Q. How long a shot?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: About 35 yards.
Q. Was the ball on the right in the rough sitting up?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: For the third shot, yes, it was actually very, very fortunate. That's why I said I led a charmed life. That gave me the momentum to go on and birdie the 13 which was a good birdie.
Q. You have always been not a technical golfer. I am wondering how much work you have had to do and how straightforward devising a swing which enables you to play as well as you have done in the last week without perhaps damaging your back even further?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I just have to release the club a little bit earlier now than I usually do. My swing has changed over the last week to accommodate to play, and I just had to play last week. I mean, under normal circumstances if I was -- put it this way, if I was 3, 4-under last week into the last round I would not have played. Because I was leading, I played. And got around. And as Mark's question was if this was any other European event I wouldn't have played here either. So I have just -- I have to sort of change my swing slightly. I have to release the club a bit earlier because I don't have the power coming from my legs because I can't come up and through it. Backswing is okay, but the followthroughs curtailed. So I have got to release the club slightly earlier. That's all I am doing really.
Q. What kind of fluid leaks from the spine and how do you stop it from happening?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: You work out and you get strong and you rest unfortunately. And I don't have that availability right now. I need to rest and not to sit and not to -- and to keep going, keep the blood flow going, that's what the massage is all about, to keep the blood flow going so we don't have the inflammation that's there. I have got to reduce the inflammation.
Q. What does the osteopath charge?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I don't care.
Q. Making regular visits?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Oh, yeah, I don't really care how much he is.
Details of the back nine, I hit a 6-iron into the 10, holed it from 30 feet.
11 driver, 9-iron to a foot.
12, hole, I think you have heard about that. Chipped in from 35 yards right of the green pin-high.
13, hit a driver 7-iron to 15 feet.
15, I hit a driver 8-iron middle of the green 3-putted from 20-foot. I missed from about two and a half feet there.
17, hit driver 5-wood middle of the green 2-putted and the last hole hit a good drive, 295 to that bunker and went in it. Hit 5-wood out of it a little bit right, sort of just past the tree, chipped on to, well, 15 feet maybe. Holed that.
So 31 back with a bogey, that's not bad.
Q. Lower back?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes.
The bottom 4 disk are a bit worn, yes.
GORDON SIMPSON: Well done. We all look forward to the Monty six-pack.