March 21, 2017
MARK WILLIAMS: We'd like to welcome Sergio Garcia to the interview room at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. This is your 15th appearance in this event, and it will be your 52nd World Golf Championship start, which is the second most of all time behind Lee Westwood with 57.
Talk about the bracket you have with Jon Rahm and Kevin Chappell and Shane Lowry.
SERGIO GARCIA: It's a solid group. There's no doubt that -- I don't think there's any easy groups out there, but obviously I'm in a group with guys that are great players. Jon has been playing very, very nicely and it's nice to see coming from another fellow Spaniard.
And obviously Kevin had a really, really good year last year. So it's always a guy that you have to be careful with.
And Shane, you know, we know on the kind of streaks that he can get.
It's not an easy group. It's a challenging one. But the good thing is, the way I look at it, is if I can get out of this group, it means that I'm playing really well because none of those guys are going to give anything away.
So hopefully we'll be able to do that and it will be nice to have the possibility of playing it off with Jon on Friday. But we've got to start with tomorrow, obviously.
Q. What makes a good match play player? What is it about match play that you have to have?
SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. At the end of the day -- obviously, there is a couple small differences between match play and stroke play. But at the end of the day, it's pretty much the same. It's just playing well. It's being on the hole, being consistent that's important, so you keep putting pressure on your opponent. You don't give easy holes away. So those kind of things.
Obviously, aggressive players, they can do well in match play if they have their week, because they're going to make a lot of birdies. But if they are a little bit off, they can also give a lot of easy holes, like I said before. So you have to be consistent. You have to play well. You have to be consistent. You have to be very calm and just be a little bit better than your opponent.
Q. You obviously relish and love that one-on-one challenge. Is it a different feel, it's great to be out there knowing you're man on man?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, it is different. It is interesting. At the same time, it can be really frustrating, because you could play a great round, kind of like the Ryder Cup last year. I could have shot 8-under and lose my match. And then sometimes you shoot 2-over and you win your match. So it is a lot more up and down on that aspect than stroke play. I think stroke play is a little bit more consistent when it comes down to seeing who's the better player. But it is fun. It's different and we definitely enjoy it.
Q. How special is the last year of your life been off the course? Because you're here so much now, do you consider yourself an Austinite yet?
SERGIO GARCIA: I wish I would say we're here that much, but unfortunately we're not. I do like Austin. I think it's a wonderful city. Obviously it's been great, not only with Angela, but her family and getting to know her friends and all those things. So it has been really, really fun and very enjoyable. And hopefully it's just the beginning. So hopefully more beautiful things coming.
Q. How comfortable are you with the golf course and are you more comfortable because it's a match play? Is there any difference as far as comfort levels, match play versus stroke play?
SERGIO GARCIA: I like the golf course. I felt -- I don't think I'm the only one that would say this, but it's definitely the best course we play in this tournament of all the other ones we've played before. So it is a nice golf course. I do enjoy it.
I played well last year, even though I didn't get through. Ryan was just a couple extra things to get me out. But I enjoy it. And at the end of the day, like I said before, it's just a matter of playing well, being consistent, being there all the time and making sure you don't let any of your matches get away. By Friday afternoon have a good chance at getting through to the round of 16.
Q. At the end of the week, what's more important for you, moving forward? Is it leave Austin feeling like your game is in great shape for two weeks or is it leaving Austin with a win? What's the most important thing for you coming out of this week?
SERGIO GARCIA: Usually if you win your game cannot be in too bad a shape. So those kind of go together. But you can leave out here without winning and feeling very, very well with yourself and your swing and the way you're playing.
So that's kind of like the way I felt last year. I didn't get through to the round of 16, but I felt like I played really well. So those good feelings, good sensations are always important moving forward. But if you can get through to the weekend and win or have a chance at winning, obviously you know that you're doing some things well.
Q. And also Jon Rahm, who you know, is going to be playing his first Masters in a couple of weeks. Is it realistic to think that he has a good chance at Augusta or how would you -- if you were him, coming for the first time, after what he's already done to get there, how would you approach that?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, he definitely has a good chance. I think he's playing very well. He's got a lot of confidence. He's got a good short game. Obviously he's got a very nice long game. So he definitely has a chance. Then there's so many little things that have to lineup for you to be able to win one of the majors or even more the Masters. But I definitely would say that he does have a good chance, yeah.
Q. I don't know if you saw or heard Jordan's comments last night. He said he looks forward to this year's Masters being over because he's sick and tired of being asked about what happened. You're an experienced guy. If in your career, if you go back anywhere where you've had any kind of disappointment, what was your mindset dealing with that and making sure it didn't happen again?
SERGIO GARCIA: I think in this case he's probably going to be thinking more about two years ago than last year. So he's been successful there. Yeah, what happened to him, obviously it's never nice, but those things happen to all of us. And as much as you would like to avoid it, unless you come out here and play two tournaments and win them and say, okay, I'm done, and retire, those things are going to happen. The game of golf is just like it that.
We know the talent he has and how good he is mentally, so I wouldn't expect him to not be somewhere around up there at Augusta as much as he enjoys that place and as well as he's done.
Q. You personally, what stays with you more, huge highs or huge disappointments? What stays in your mind?
SERGIO GARCIA: I think it depends. It depends on the person. It depends on the situation. But probably -- I mean, the disappointments are never nice. I think if you're surrounded by good people, good family and good people around you they're easy to get through those. The highs are very important and they're good for you. But you don't want to get too high on them either because then you can get a little bit comfortable and kind of forget what got you there and not practice as much or things like that.
So both things can be good and dangerous at the same time. You've just got to take it the right way.
Q. Have you heard any stories about Marty Akins football greatness? And the second part of the question is have you talked to someone like Jordan Spieth about becoming Long Horn royalty, because you're coming into the family?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, thanks for that. Obviously it is nice. Even though I didn't go to University of Texas, it is nice to be welcomed as a little Long Horn. I obviously -- I feel related to it with Angela and Marty and everything. And, yeah, I've heard some of the great things that he did and also she did in the women's team, golf team.
So it is a shame. Sometimes we're talking, Angela and I, oh, it would be so nice to be able to watch what my dad did when he was younger and stuff. Apparently he was unbelievable. But we definitely enjoy it. Yeah, I'm happy to ride them a little bit.
Q. Doing a piece on social media. What is it like engaging with your fans, and what impact do you think it's having on golf?
SERGIO GARCIA: I think it's very important. And for me especially, I think it's very important to really connect with my fans. I know that it is a great platform to build professional relationships with sponsors and stuff like that. But that's not one of the things I want to do. I want to do some of that because my sponsors deserve it and I do it. But I really want it to be -- like I've always said, I want it to be truthful. I want my fans to feel closer to me because of the things they know about me, not because of me posting things about TaylorMade or Adidas or Omega or SuperStroke or all of my other sponsors.
So I think that at the end of the day, you have to balance it in a good way. But one of the most important things for me is to know that my fans know me better because of it.
Q. With the Masters just two weeks away, do you like where this match play tournament falls in the schedule or can seven rounds be too taxing if you get to the finals?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, I think it's fine. Because we've got a week in between. If it was the week before, it would be a little bit tough, probably. But having a week in between, it really helps either taking a slow week in Houston or taking the week off. I think that fortunately for us that shouldn't be a problem.
Q. Were you glad to see Jon in the same group, knowing that you'd be guaranteed a match against him or would you have rather maybe seen him on the weekends when the stakes are a little higher?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, I definitely would like to see him on the weekend mainly because I would like all of the three Spanish players to have a chance of making it through the weekend. Unfortunately, now only two of them have a chance or only two can make it. So that is a little bit disappointing.
It is going to be nice to play with him, though. So that's the good thing about it. But I would have loved to get to the quarterfinals or the semifinals and have three Spanish players going than maybe only a couple or one. But it is what it is, I guess.
MARK WILLIAMS: Thank you, Sergio.
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