Ryder Cup legend reveals the extreme measures he used to calm his mind

Longtime Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie reveals wild multiplication technique he used in order to distract himself and calm his nerves

Longtime Ryder Cupper Colin Montgomerie reveals the wild multiplication technique he used in order to distract himself and calm his nerves.

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The Ryder Cup is one of golf’s biggest events, with the pressure of playing for your country a heavy burden — even for the best golfers on the planet.

For instance, take current Team USA member Brooks Koepka’s recent comments, where he questioned the willingness and resolve of some players to handle the pressure of a putt to win the Ryder Cup.

“You’ve always got to believe you’re the best and want to be the best and have that drive, and that’s what’s going to put you over the edge,” Koepka said. “I think a lot of guys have it, but I don’t know how many guys would want an eight-footer with this on the line.”

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That’s about as candid as it gets from Koepka, isn’t it?

Since the weight of a Ryder Cup can cripple any player, there are a variety of ways in which golfers try to block out the nerves and channel positive reinforcement. One of the most unique (and extreme!) ways comes from longtime Ryder Cup player Colin Montgomerie, who recently said he used to do multiplication on the tee to help distract him from any pressure.

How Colin Montgomerie tried to calm himself on the tee

In the video above, Montgomerie joined other Ryder Cup legends Paul McGinley and Thomas Bjorn to talk shop — but it was Monty’s comment about pre-shot multiplication that stole the show. Recalling the pressure of pulling the No. 1 position for Team Europe during the 2002 Ryder Cup, Monty admits he “wasn’t prepared” when his name topped the list.

“It was a very nervy situation,” Montgomerie said. “The gates open at 8:15 [in the morning], and my tee time was at 11:15; so it’s three hours of the stands getting packed. Everyone in anticipation … and it was up to you to get that momentum for Europe going. It’s a difficult task.

“I was really as nervous as I’ve ever been.”

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As Montgomerie continued to describe his nerves, he revealed something quite bizarre: He used a 37-times table to distract himself from the electric atmosphere.

“[I’m using] light hands on the grip, and doing my 37-times table, which I always do on the first tee,” he said.

Naturally, this gets the attention of both McGinley and Bjorn, along with host Nick Dougherty, who were all perplexed at the idea.

“I try to visualize something, and get away from the situation where I’m in,” he explains. “So I do my 37-times table,” he adds. “I go 37, 74, 111; and I keep going. So I was doing my 37-times table, and I’ve always done it since when I’ve got real pressure, and I want to get myself away from where I am.”

Montgomerie, obviously, was asked to explain the method further.

“As I tee it up I’m doing it, and as I’m walking back, I’m doing it as I strike the ball,” he says. “Under that extreme pressure, that’s what I do.”

This is one of the strangest pre-shot routines I’ve ever heard about — and, more importantly, a 37-times table isn’t easy. Not sure why Montgomerie didn’t just use a 15-times table, which seems easier, but, hey, whatever works.

Considering Montgomerie finished with the most individual points during the 2002 Ryder Cup (4.5) and compiled an overall record of 4–0–1, it’s proof it works for him.

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Nick Dimengo

Golf.com Editor