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February 17, 2015

Sergio Garcia


The MODERATOR:  We'd like to welcome Sergio García to the interview room.  Sergio, welcome to the Northern Trust Open.  If you could open up with some comments about the tournament and your year so far in early 2015 and then we'll open it up for questions.
SERGIO GARC√ćA:¬† Yeah, excited to be back here at Riviera in L.A.¬† Obviously a wonderful tournament, great golf course and one that I've always enjoyed playing.¬† You know, the weather looks good.¬† It's been really, really good I guess throughout the year.
So, yeah, excited about it, and we'll see what we are able to do.  Probably not feeling at my best level at the moment.  Start of the year has been a little bit slow.  The last couple of weeks, practice was okay but not amazing.  Hopefully I can get some confidence as the tournaments go on and start to find my grove and my game.

Q.  Porque estas aquí?
SERGIO GARC√ćA:¬† Porque?

Q.¬† S√≠‑‑
SERGIO GARC√ćA:¬† Porque no.

Q.¬† ‑‑ de los de Europa esperando hasta la Honda.
SERGIO GARC√ćA:¬† Well, I think for me, it's quite simple.¬† It is a tournament that I really enjoy playing.¬† I really love the golf course.¬† I think when it plays‑‑ even when it plays soft, but when it plays firm, it's the kind of golf course that is asking you to hit the proper shots.
And I think that it fitted nicely in my schedule.  Every time I can get the Northern Trust Open in my schedule, I try to fit it in there.  This year, it fit in nicely.
For me, coming from Europe all the time, I want to make my stretches at least two or three weeks in a row, because that way I don't have to travel as much over the pond.

Q.  Did you come straight from Spain?
SERGIO GARC√ćA:¬† I came from Spain, yeah.

Q.  You said your game's been a little slow to come around.  Is there any one particular part that is holding you back?
SERGIO GARC√ćA:¬† I guess comparing it to last year where I had such a nice consistent year where every part of my game felt really, really good; I guess a little bit of everything.¬† I think that my long game, it's been okay, but not to the standard that I usually have it.¬† Short game, it's been a little bit shakier than it has been in the past three or four years.¬† I guess it's just a matter of kind of building up a little bit of confidence and kind of getting into the rhythm and start doing good things.

Q.  Compared to ten years ago, do you feel like you put more pressure on yourself or less pressure on yourself to win the big tournaments?
SERGIO GARC√ćA: ¬†I don't know, good question I guess.¬† I guess quite‑‑ for me, I don't think it changes that much.¬† So same amount of pressure I guess.
I think that we always want to do the best we can and try to win big events and do well and perform well.  That's what drives us.  And you know, I think that the pressure, what you ask yourself to do, it's always quite high up there.  So quite similar I guess.

Q.  What exactly is your plan, the next three weeks, and then a couple weeks back to Spain or what?
SERGIO GARC√ćA:¬† I'll play next three weeks.¬† And then I'll go back to Europe.¬† Probably go to Switzerland for a little bit and then head back to Spain to practice a little bit where the weather is a little bit nicer.¬† And then I think the next thing for me will be Houston and Masters.¬† So trying to get in shape for all of those.

Q.  What driver shaft are you using, and would you briefly outline your feelings about driver shaft weight for you personally?
SERGIO GARC√ćA:¬† I am using Mitsubishi Rayon.¬† I have been using it for quite‑long time.¬† I just started using a little bit of a lighter shaft.¬† Usually I have quite heavy woods.¬† I usually carry a 100‑gram graphite shaft.¬† But I just kind of went down to 80 grams and kind of feel like maybe I can move it a little bit easier.
But I've always been, I guess for the kind of swing I have and the speed I put into my swing, I've always liked my clubs to be on the heavy side.  I feel like I can feel them a little bit better.  If they are too light, I kind of lose them a little bit.  So that's kind of my feeling.

Q.¬† Just curious, if you go back to the Middle East where a lot of the boys were playing, over here in America, we've had an incident with Robert Allenby‑‑
SERGIO GARC√ćA:¬† Yeah, I heard about that.

Q.¬† Dustin Johnson returned from a long leave, and Tiger is‑‑ stuff's been going on with Tiger.¬† It's been a big soap opera over here.¬† Just curious what the reaction was over in the Middle East when you were starting the European season to what all the stuff was going on over here?
SERGIO GARC√ćA:¬† Well, I guess the thing with Robert, until we know exactly what happened, I guess it's all kind of like a little bit of a guessing game.¬† The important thing is to see that he's back in shape and he's back playing again.¬† Obviously something that you don't wish for anyone to happen.
And then obviously Dustin, after six months, he's back on TOUR.  He played very nicely last week.  I just saw him today for the first time.  So it looks like he's doing okay.
And then, I don't know, Tiger is, to me, feels like it's a little bit of a question mark obviously a little bit with his game and his physical problems.¬† You know, we'll see what‑‑ only he knows what really happens to him.¬† So you know, we'll see how he recovers from all those things.

Q.¬† And secondly, can you kind of get a sense of where golf is right now in terms of the number of young players coming through and the quality of the players coming through, especially for a guy who is coming up on‑‑ excuse me, celebrated your 35th birthday recently.¬† How does that make you feel?
SERGIO GARC√ćA:¬† Pretty much the same as 34.¬† Didn't change that much (laughing).
I feel like the game is in good hands.  I think that obviously Rory is playing really, really well.  It's nice to have that kind of player, that kind of person up there on top of us, on top of our game.  I think that obviously you have guys like Jordan, that he's doing well; Harris, he was playing well the other week; Carlos Ortíz who is a youngster.  You have a lot of players coming out now that look really good.  We have a couple nice Spanish young guys, Jon Rahm and Mario Galiano, who are really, really good.  They look really, really good.
So it's going to be interesting to see how the game keeps developing throughout the next five or eight years and see hopefully how many more of those guys come up.

Q.  How well do you know Jon?
SERGIO GARC√ćA:¬† I've seen him a little bit on TV and stuff.¬† I haven't really been able to meet him.¬† But he looks really, really nice.¬† Obviously saw a little bit of his U.S. Amateur last year.¬† So, we'll see.¬† Obviously he played really well in Phoenix.¬† So it's good to see.¬† As a Spaniard, it's good to see.

Q.¬† A follow to your young players story.¬† You've been state side enough to see what drives the popularity of golf here.¬† With Phil and Tiger being off to slow starts this year, when you look at the picture of golf in the United States, all those young players you talked about, is that enough to carry the game here?¬† Or what do you see here in a post‑Tiger, post‑Phil world?
SERGIO GARC√ćA:¬† Well, I hope so.¬† I certainly hope so.¬† I think obviously you're talking about two players that are, you know, one of the best players we had, and also, two guys with a lot of charisma.¬† So that obviously brings a lot of people into it.
But you know, I've always said it.  I think at the end of the day, the game is bigger than any of us.  And at some point, there will be no Tiger.  There will be no Mickelson.  There will be no Sergio Garcia.  There will be no Rory McIlroy, but more people will come out.  At the end of the day, the game will still be there.
So I think it's important to know that we're here, we are trying to help our game as much as we can.  Obviously we try to do as well as we can for ourselves, but I think the most important thing at the end of the day is to make sure that when you leave your game, it's maybe one step than it was when you started.
So I think that's my goal.  That's the way my father and my family have brought me up and into the game of golf, and that's what I tried to achieve.

Q.  Still talking about young guns, what do you think about Victor Dubuisson, the Frenchman you know very well?
SERGIO GARC√ćA:¬† Great, great player.¬† Obviously another one of those young guys that we talked about.¬† The kind of guy that also has a lot of charisma.¬† He's a little bit on the quiet side, but at the same time, he's really, really nice, very, very pole lied.¬† He always, always says hi when I see him and always asks me how I'm doing and we have nice chats.
Like I said, I think there's a lot of good, young players that are playing at a good level, and obviously Jason Day, for example, he won not too long ago.  So it's good to see all of those things happening.

Q.  Do you have an inside the ropes story about Victor in Gleneagles, for example?
SERGIO GARC√ćA:¬† Do I have?

Q.  An anecdote?
SERGIO GARC√ćA:¬† No, I wouldn't say‑‑ no, obviously I think there's a lot of things that happened throughout that week, and some that you can talk about and some that you cannot.¬† But at the end of the day, we all had a great time.¬† We really enjoyed him.¬† He really opened up to us.¬† He was funny and very, very charismatic with the team and everything.¬† I like him.¬† I like him a lot.

Q.  Two questions.  Did you hear about Davis being chosen for the captaincy and what do you think?
SERGIO GARC√ćA:¬† I just heard today.¬† Is it captain‑‑

Q.  It will be announced next week?
SERGIO GARC√ćA:¬† Well, I think at the end of the day, we'll see how it works.¬† I think he was unfortunate, what happened to him at Medinah obviously.¬† But I felt like as a captain, he did a great job.¬† I thought‑‑ I mean, the feeling I got is that the players were very happy with him.
Obviously the end result wasn't what they wanted, but he's the kind of guy that you can talk to, you can sit down and discuss strategies and pairings and things like that.  You know, he likes to get you involved; it feels like that.  Obviously I haven't been in their team room when he's there, but that's the kind of feeling that we got when he was captain.
So, you know, hopefully it will be good for you but hopefully not good enough (laughter).

Q.¬† A little bit off‑topic, but were you ever recruited by colleges here before you turned pro?
SERGIO GARC√ćA:¬† No.¬† I thought about it.

Q.  No one came to you and gave you a sales pitch; "come to my college"?
SERGIO GARC√ćA:¬† Yeah, we did have some possibilities.¬† But at the end of the day, I was in a spot in my career where I felt like four more years of amateur golf wasn't going to really help me.¬† It felt like‑‑ nothing against college golf or anything like that but I felt like as an amateur, there's really not much higher that I could go to.¬† And to spend an extra four years in college, it felt like it was going to be a little bit of a handbrake.
We looked into a couple things in Florida and stuff, but at the end, we decided that from what I love going, which was playing golf‑‑ which it is playing golf, sorry; it just wasn't the right thing for me.

Q.  And lastly, since Adam Scott took a month before he let anyone know he got married, will you let us know when you do?
SERGIO GARC√ćA:¬† (Laughs).¬† Yeah, I will whenever it happens.

Q.¬† At your age now, where do you put your career in your mind, and what are you trying to achieve at this point?¬† It's hard to believe you're only four years younger than Tiger and you just talked about him‑‑
SERGIO GARC√ćA:¬† Do I lock older or younger?

Q.  You look younger.  You certainly look healthier?
SERGIO GARC√ćA:¬† I think I'm doing a little bit better, that's for sure, yeah.

Q.  Where do you put your career now?  What are you trying to achieve, do you think?
SERGIO GARC√ćA:¬† Well, I'm obviously very happy with the career I had.¬† We could sit here and talk about things that could have gone better and obviously things that could have gone worse.¬† But I think at the end of the day, it's a little bit what I talked about before.¬† It's just trying to help your game, the game of golf, be a better game for everybody else.¬† That means not only playing well and winning things and achieving things, but also trying to bring the game nicely to kids or to people that maybe don't have the same capabilities that we do to play it, and make the game better at the end of the day.
Then on a personal side, you know, I want to try to achieve as many things as possible.¬† Some of them I'm sure I'll be able to and some I probably won't.¬† But at the end of the day, I think if I give it everything I have, you know, that's really not‑‑ I can't really ask myself for anything else.¬† If I give it my hundred percent and I give it my best, that's really all you can ask yourself for.

Q.  When you first came out in the early part of your career, to try and achieve the best, you're trying to chase Tiger and Ernie and Phil, Vijay, and now the targets are people younger than you; Rory, for example.  What's the difference, chasing older or younger?
SERGIO GARC√ćA:¬† I don't know, I think the main difference is within yourself.¬† I think that when you are younger, you probably only care about certain things.¬† You just want to achieve it.¬† You just look at that and you just want to go there.¬† As you get older, you realize that there's more things to just winning tournaments or being No. 1 in the world.
I think on the personal side, there's a lot of things that you want to achieve, and I think as you get older, you kind of realize some of those things.  So there's a lot of beautiful things that you can do that make you happy that doesn't have to be involved with golf or anything like that.
THE MODERATOR:   Thank you.

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