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September 24, 2014

Sergio Garcia


SARAH GWYNN: Thank you very much for joining us today. If you wouldn't mind just talking us through your preparations so far and your first impressions of Gleneagles.

SERGIO GARCIA: It's been great. We had a nice day yesterday, got a nice, good look at the course. I think we're just excited to get going. Obviously Ryder Cup week always takes a little bit longer starting on Friday, but the team looks great. We are all thrilled to be here and to have the possibility of helping out and we can't wait.

SARAH GWYNN: It's quite a long week, as you said. How do you stay fresh physically and mentally?

SERGIO GARCIA: I think you have your moments where you can rest a little bit and make sure that you stay nice and relaxed. But it does kind of drag a little bit when you get here Monday and you don't start until Friday. But I think the good thing is they keep us quite busy, so at least you don't feel like you're just sitting down doing nothing.

Q. As a Real Madrid fan, what was your take on Sir Alex last night? What do you think?
SERGIO GARCIA: I thought it was really good. I thought it was very interesting to hear him talk. I mean, obviously, yeah, I am a Real Madrid fan and probably not his biggest fan in the world, but I think that somebody -- when you have the possibility of listening to somebody that has been up there in sports, and even if it's not sports, somebody that has been up there and he's been able to perform at a really high level for that long, it's always interesting to kind of pick his brain and see what things he's gone through and stuff. It was really, really interesting, and I'm actually glad that I got to -- I think we all did, got to know him a little bit better and listen to him a little bit.

Q. With so much focus on Ian Poulter and the passion that he brings to the team, do you feel people are overlooking how passionate you are for The European Team? People almost forget?
SERGIO GARCIA: This is not a competition. I think we all know what we bring to the team. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that we are all here together and we are all here fighting for each other. You know, everybody has their own way of doing it, and we love the way Poults does it, and we all try to do it the way we know that works better for us and for the team.

Q. Does it make it easier for you in any way, because there was a time where you were the guy that the Americans always wanted to try to get?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, I don't know, I think that they want to get on all of us the same way we want to try to get on them. So I don't think that that changes very much. But you know, it's nice to have as many leaders as possible on the team, and I think that Poults is definitely one of them, we all know that.

Q. You were saying that getting here on Monday for an event which begins on Friday, it can drag a little bit, but they give you plenty to do. What would be the optimum day to arrive for a match starting on Friday?
SERGIO GARCIA: It's difficult to say because obviously there's so many things that go with this week that you need to be here on Monday. If there weren't so many things to do, then maybe I would say I would probably get here on Wednesday morning, something like that, a couple practise rounds and ready to go. But then you can't fit everything. You run out of time. So don't get me wrong, I'm not saying -- I think it's right the way it is. But at the end of the day, what we love is getting to Friday and playing. You know, that's the most exciting thing about it. The whole experience is amazing, but the most exciting thing is getting on it. That only gets here on Friday, but it's good. It's worth waiting for it.

Q. If there's one message, one detail from that address from Fergie, what will you take into this week?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, there were a lot of little quotes and stuff. But obviously hard-working, confidence, belief, never giving up. That's some of the things he kind of mentioned. You know, just like I said, just keep fighting until the end. It doesn't matter if you're 2-down with three to go or 5-down with eight to go. So even if you lose, at least make it as tight as possible. It's always important.

Q. When you get to a seventh appearance in Ryder Cup, do you still have the same edge to beat the Americans or does it mellow a little, especially when you spend more time over there and live there?
SERGIO GARCIA: No. I think that the drive to try to do well and obviously win, it's still the same. There's no doubt that I think for us Europeans now, we're a lot more global than we used to be and a lot more of us play on the PGA TOUR and get to play with a lot of the Americans. We get to know each other better and obviously have closer relationships. But once you put your clothes on and your shoes on and you step on the first tee, you still want to beat them as hard as you can, the same way that they do with us, because that's the nature of the game. That doesn't change.

Q. Rory was just mentioning how impactful, how big a deal it was to have the voice of Seve in Celtic Manor in 2010. Now as the Spaniard on the team and kind of a direct line through that Spanish line through JosГ© Maria and now yourself, how important is Seve's memory to you this week and is it still a powerful force for you and the team?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, for sure, I think the other day we were watching a couple videos that Paul and his team put together and he was part of the some of the videos. It definitely still gives you chills when you watch him and when you listen to him talk, even though he's been gone for a couple of years now. But he'll always be a memory for us. Obviously somebody that brought so much to the game, not only in Ryder Cup, but European golf, it's always going to be in the back of our minds.

Q. You were there in 2010 when Rory was a Ryder Cup rookie. I'm wondering if you can talk a little about his presence kind of growing in this event and his presence in the team room, and then secondly, what do you pinpoint in this event that seems to really elevate your own game?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I mean, he's definitely grown up a lot, I think both as a player and as a person. I think he's gotten to know what the Ryder Cup is all about even better. He has a lot more respect for it. Not that he didn't before, but even more, if you can. He lives it a little bit more than maybe he would have at the beginning. So I think he's really become a really nice team player. Obviously we know the ability he has to play, which is really, really good. You know, it's been nice to be a part of it with him on the team and obviously when I was a vice captain. So I've got to know him quite a lot and he's the kind of guy that you always want to have on your team, so that's nice. And I don't know. I guess you could ask kind of like the same thing to Ian, but I think at the end of the day, we know how important The Ryder Cup is to all of us, how much it means to be a part of this team; how difficult it is to be a part of this team. I guess when the U.S. has dominated The Ryder Cup so -- has been so dominating for so many years, as a European, you come out and you feel like you want to try to level that up, and I think it just gives you extra motivation. So you try -- not that we don't try hard every week, but I don't know, you try to find something else, something extra. I think that's one of the reasons why lately we've been quite successful at it, and the goal is to keep going in the same direction as much as possible. But, you know, the U.S. Team is always very strong, and it never makes it very easy for us.

Q. The United States has hundreds of years of history and Americans have a very well-defined idea of what being an American is. I don't know if many of us Europeans can say the same thing about being a European, especially somewhere like Britain where lots of Britains don't feel European at all. At The Ryder Cup does that sort of concept of being a European, does it start to feel real for you in any way? In that team room, are you still just a bunch of guys from Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Germany?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, I wouldn't say so. I mean that's not my personal feeling at least. To me, I couldn't feel more European when I see Swedish people, German people, British people obviously Spanish people, Italians, cheering for me. I mean, you can't feel more European than that. I think that when everybody comes together and cheers for one, for the same cause, it doesn't matter where you're from. I think that's the ultimate European feeling, I guess. So I guess everybody has different opinions, but that's the way I look at it.

Q. Captain McGinley talks about rolling out the same template for success as the captains before him. Can you talk a bit about that and what it is exactly he's trying to hold onto?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I think that he probably -- the way he means it is he doesn't want to change too many things on the things we do before, the preparations, things like that. Obviously he knows, like he's always said, we have a winning formula the last nine Ryder Cups, so he doesn't want to change that. He just wants to try to take it one step forward and make it a little bit better. I'm not sure if he means that he's going to put the same teams that we all put, because at the end of the day, there's a lot of different players and new guys, so you can't really do that. But I think that's probably the way he means it, to make sure that everybody feels as comfortable as possible; that if we do that, then we can go out there and play the best we can and then that usually brings good results.

Q. Is there a formula?
SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know, you should ask him. I don't know if it's in a bottle you drink or something. (Laughter).

Q. You're still contending in majors, but if you were to finish your career without one, do you think you would reflect on your Ryder Cup victories as your majors, as where you were as good as you could possibly be?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, I don't know, it's difficult to see it that way. I think that the Ryder Cup is very special and for me, you all know how special it is. But majors are majors. You can't really compare the two of them. It's a totally different event. But obviously to be able to be successful at The Ryder Cup, it is very important, at least for me, and it's something that makes me very proud. But hopefully I won't have that problem (smiling).

Q. What do you make of the amphitheatre at the first and the cauldron of noise it's likely to generate on Friday morning? And secondly, how do you feel that Stephen Gallacher has integrated into the team this week?
SERGIO GARCIA: The first hole is always amazing. It's definitely the most impressive first hole we play throughout our careers. That tee shot on the first is always different, the way they build it up and all the songs you hear and everything. I've always been surprised, everything that happens on the first hole and the cheers you get. But to me, two years ago, to be in Medinah on American soil and to hear -- what we were losing 10-6 on Sunday morning, every single player that went there, to sing that "You'll Never Walk Alone," it gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. It gives me such a special feeling. I wanted to put my football boots on and start playing football (laughs). No, it's very, very special. Stephen has been great. He's obviously very excited about it, not only because he's Scottish, but it's his first Ryder Cup. He's played really, really hard this year to be a part of this team, and you can see it in his eyes that he's willing and he's ready.

Q. You've been around a few of these, you're pretty experienced now. What is the distinguishing feature of this team?
SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. I think that to me, obviously the atmosphere is great, like it always is. I think we're very fortunate with that. But to me, truly I feel like this team I can see so many pairings. I can see everybody playing with everybody. It's not like sometimes you get on teams and you think, you know, okay, so these are pairings that are definitely going to be there and stuff. Here, I could see myself playing with everybody on the team, no problem, and the same way around. I can see everybody matching up well with everybody else. We all get along great. We love each other and we enjoy each other's company. It doesn't matter if it's a rookie or a veteran. I see like a lot of depth on this team, which is very nice.

SARAH GWYNN: We're going to have to leave it there, Sergio. Thanks very much.
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