July 27, 2016
JOHN DEVER: Good morning, everybody. Welcome to the 98th PGA Championship, Baltusrol Golf Club. Pleased to be joined by Sergio Garc√≠a.
Sergio, welcome to your 18th PGA Championship. Curious about your thoughts on what you're seeing out of Baltusrol this week, your second time here, but what are you seeing out here this week?
SERGIO GARC√ćA: Yeah, I've taken a couple looks. Obviously one last week on Friday and one yesterday. Course looks great. Very, very good shape. Obviously a couple new tees here and there from 2005. The lake on 18, obviously it's a little bit closer to the fairway than it used to be, but the course looks really, really good. Obviously I like what I see. Hoping to play nicely this week again and have a chance coming on the weekend.
JOHN DEVER: So you're playing pretty well the last two majors, which are obviously recent vintage here, you're tied fifth at the U.S. Open and tied fifth also at The Open Championship. What's clicking for you right now?
SERGIO GARC√ćA: I don't know, I played fairly well at the U.S. Open. At The Open Championship, I felt like my swing wasn't quite there but I scrambled well. I scored well.
So I guess for me, that is positive, because it shows me that I don't need to be perfectly in form to still have a chance, you know, going into tournaments or into majors.
I had a couple nice practice rounds here. At the end of the day, the most important thing, the way the course is playing and the way the rough is, driving the ball well is going to be important, because it's going to give you a little extra going into some of these difficult greens.
So if I can manage to drive the ball well, then I can give myself some options, some looks at birdies, and you know, hopefully play the tough holes well.
Q. I know golf is an individual sport, but how much do you draw from the fact the last four majors have been won by first-time champions, particularly the last two?
SERGIO GARC√ćA: Yeah, it's obviously nice to see, nice to see new Major winners. But every week is a new world. Every week is a different story.
I would love to make it five in a row. Obviously it would be very nice. But we'll see. It's a long week. And like I said before, my goal is to play well, to give myself another shot at winning a tournament, winning a major, and then see what I can come up with.
Q. Which is more important to you if you had to pick one: Rio Olympics or Ryder Cup in Minnesota?
SERGIO GARC√ćA: You're putting me on the spot. Obviously the Olympics are special because they are the Olympics. It's the first time that we are in it for a long time. Obviously we don't know -- as a golfer, you don't know how many or if you'll play another one. So that makes it special, representing your country.
But at the same time, The Ryder Cup, you know, everybody knows how much The Ryder Cup means to me and it is my favorite tournament, my favorite event. If I had to choose, I'd probably choose Ryder Cup. But I'd rather not choose and take both obviously.
Q. You and Rafa are kind of the Spanish duo, at least now for the Olympics and for The Ryder Cup. Can you talk a little about his game and how is it playing with him?
SERGIO GARC√ćA: It's great. I mean, Rafa and I have been friends for a long time. It's great to see that he's finally getting his potential out. The way he's playing, the way he's been playing this year has been amazing.
Obviously he's had some decent years. He's had some wins. But the consistency he's been showing this year, it's amazing. He looks really good to be in The Ryder Cup team, too. So I'm very, very happy for him, and you know, we enjoy playing together like we've been doing pretty much every week. He's a wonderful guy and a great player.
So I'm very happy to see another Spaniard up there in the World Rankings and doing well.
Q. Did you understand his accent okay?
SERGIO GARC√ćA: So-so, but you know it will be okay (chuckles).
Q. What makes you happy on the golf course, and has that changed from when you were, say, 15?
SERGIO GARC√ćA: Well, being out on the golf course makes me happy. Obviously making birdies and pars and no bogeys makes me happy. I think it does to everyone. But at the end of the day, I love competing and that makes me happy. I love to see myself improving, because that also makes me proud of the work I'm putting on and my ability.
So you know, that's pretty much at the end of the day what we all try to do. So obviously when we play well, we're a little bit happier. When we don't play as well, we're maybe not as happy. But it is -- you know, it's the nature of golf.
Q. Has that changed from when you were a kid?
SERGIO GARC√ćA: Has it changed? No, I wouldn't say so. I think that probably the way I look at things now has changed a little bit. I think that, you know, experience and age, it's definitely made me a little bit calmer out on the course. Where before, you know, if I make a couple bogeys, I would kind of get a little bit angry.
Now I seem to take it a little bit easier. And probably that's -- for example, The Open Championship, the way I was feeling with my swing and everything, probably 12, 15 years ago, I would have struggled to maybe finish in the top 30 or 40. And you know, two weeks ago, I knew that maybe I wasn't feeling amazing, but I fought hard. When I made a couple mistakes, I didn't let it bother me. I knew there was some tough holes.
So I waited for my opportunities, and thanks to that, I finished top five. That obviously encourages me a lot.
Q. What are your thoughts on the quick turnaround between the Open and this event, and if you had a say, where would you like to see this event on the calendar in the Olympic year?
SERGIO GARC√ćA: It's tough to say. When you have to put an extra week in the middle of the schedule, where that week has to be there, it is difficult. Obviously for me, it's not ideal to go one week on, one week off, one week on, one week off, because it's difficult to get in a rhythm. It's difficult to kind of really rest or really, you know, like I said, really get in a rhythm of playing.
So it's not ideal, I would say, at least for me. But you know, this is going to happen once every four years at most. It's something that we can deal with it and just kind of realize that it's that way.
Q. This is kind of related to the earlier question about first-time Major winners. But when you see really old guys like Henrik winning at the age of 40 --
SERGIO GARC√ćA: (Laughing).
Q. Does that give you extra hope and belief as a 36-year-old?
SERGIO GARC√ćA: You'd better not tell him really old because he'll (gesturing, knife to throat) (laughing).
It is nice to see. I think, you know, to see Henrik at 40 winning and the way he did, very much deserved; I think at the end of the day, if you stay healthy -- look at Phil. He's 47, 46 -- 47. And he probably, I mean, he probably should have won. And Henrik, when I saw him Monday at my event in Switzerland, he said, you know, I'm 40, you're 36, you still have probably 16 more before you get there. And look at Phil, he's 47 and he almost won.
So at the end of the day, if you stay healthy, you still can give yourself a lot of chances here and there. But that's my goal, to keep giving myself chances and you know, hopefully take as many as possible in the coming years.
Q. What's the most fun hole to play at Baltusrol and why?
SERGIO GARC√ćA: There's a lot of good holes. I think obviously 4, it's a very, very nice hole. You know, depending where they put the pin, it can be very, very tricky. But you can hit some nice shots there.
I like 13. I think it's a great hole. But you know, fortunately, I think there's a lot of good holes. The finishing holes are nice that give you some chances.
But probably 4 and 13 I like quite a lot.
Q. You've played a lot of golf with Henrik over the years, before he had his problems with his swing, during, after. What's it like to watch a guy go through those struggles and to see them kind of in the middle of it and then to see them come through it on the other side?
SERGIO GARC√ćA: Yeah, I've played with him for a long, long time. We played amateur golf together. So we've known each other for a very long time. But obviously he did have his up-and-downs, like we've all had them. I had them. Lee Westwood had them. Obviously Henrik had them. Everybody's kind of pretty much had them.
So it is normal. It is the way -- it is golf, at the end of the day. But it is nice to see the way he's been playing. He's just so solid and he's been giving, like I said before, he's been giving himself a lot of chances and he finally waited for that day where everything clicked and everything was happening.
So I think that what that shows me is that, never give up, keep giving myself chances and keep waiting for that day when things really happen my way and then hopefully I'll be able to raise that trophy.
Q. When you read stories and hear about us proclaiming the next big three, do you roll your eyes and say, "There go those naughty journalists all over again," or do you have some sympathy with it?
SERGIO GARC√ćA: No, it doesn't bother me. I think that, you know, it is something that you guys have always done. You've always kind of gone with the big three or the big four or the big five or whatever. It is fine. At the end of the day, on my behalf, the only thing I can do is, like I said, keep improving, keep getting better, keep doing what I know how to do and then the rest doesn't really affect that much.
So you know, you guys enjoy the big three or the big four, or however many you want to get in there.
Q. Given the number of majors you've played and how close you've got, the number of Top-10s and your consistency during your career, isn't it crazy that you have not actually won one; is it hard for you to understand, as well? How do you resolve that in your own mind?
SERGIO GARC√ćA: No, not anymore. Like I said to Doug before, maybe five or ten years ago, it would have. But not anymore. I understand how difficult it is to win every week. I always said it; it doesn't matter if it's a major. It doesn't matter where it is. It doesn't matter if it's in the US, in Asia, in Europe, in Africa. It is tough to win.
Nowadays, there's the level of play from guys coming up and everything, it's so much higher than it used to be. So that is great for the game of golf, and you know, the only thing I can do is just, like I said, keep giving myself chances and just wait for it.
Hopefully it will happen. If it doesn't happen, it's not going to change my life. I'm not going to go in a cave and you know kind of stay there until I die because I didn't win a major or anything like that. It's not that serious.
But it would be -- I'm not going to lie; it would be nice to get at least one. But it's not the end of the world.
JOHN DEVER: Sergio Garcia, thank you, sir, for your time. Have a fantastic week.
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