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THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP

May 12, 2017

Sergio Garcia

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

Q. What's been the challenge of getting back into the competitive feel mentally getting yourself back in it?
SERGIO GARCIA: Definitely, I'm not going to lie, it has been difficult. But even like that, I felt like I fought hard the last two days after a terrible start, and it's a shame because today without playing amazing, I felt like I could have shot 3-, 4-under par and that would have been really, really good. Unfortunately, I let a couple slip away there towards the end, but I played well the last two holes with the pressure of making sure that I didn't do anything stupid so I could be here on the weekend, and hopefully I can free up a little bit on the weekend and have a solid two days.

Q. Can you walk us through the 17 tee shot exactly what happened. It hit on the bulkhead, correct?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, well it's quite simple. I had 148 yards, 138 yards to get to the top. That was my goal, to -- wind was left-to-right, maybe a little bit into, but mainly left-to-right, so I thought I'm just going to hit a hard wedge, make sure that -- because it felt like if I hit a 9-iron and I hit is soft, and I flew it on top, it was -- it had a lot of potential to go over into the water. So I thought, I'm just going to hit a nice hard shot. Tried to bounce it just on top, and even if I'm like four yards shorts of the pin it's a great spot. Unfortunately, when I hit it, the wind went straight into us, and I'm glad I hit it hard, because usually I hit my wedge 138, 140, and that thing flew 125. So, obviously very lucky to hit the boards and come back into the green and make a good 3, so that hole has been good to me a lot of times, but this week it's been very good.

Q. Do you think the 12th's encouraging people to play it as a drivable hole?
SERGIO GARCIA: I talked about it in my press conference. I think that it is, I think that the next couple of days when the pins are on the left probably you'll see more guys trying, but when the pin's on the right, you really don't have any room on the left because even if you hit a tee shot that goes middle-left side of the green, it can still go in the water, so for my liking, as I said the other day, it's a little bit too severe because I think if you hit a bad shot it should be in the water, but if you hit a good shot it should at least stay somewhere there so it gives you a chance to get up-and-down or make an easy 4. So hitting short, hitting with this wind, you're hitting 6-, 7-iron and then you're hitting a lob wedge so it's not putting you under a lot of stress, so I guess it just depends on how you feel.

Q. Have you surpassed or matched your expectations coming into this week?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well I would have -- I'm not going to lie, I would have loved to have played better than I did the first two days. It has been overwhelming, I'm not going to lie. I haven't won a Major and I haven't won the Masters before, so I didn't know exactly what to expect and what to feel. To come back to this golf course that we know how challenging it is, it's maybe not the best thing, but it is the way we planned it and we live with it. I think that mentally I can hopefully -- like I said before, I can free up a little bit on the weekend and play a little bit better. I've hit some really good shots but I hit some shots that I wasn't hitting lately, so I need to kind of tighten that up a little bit.

Q. Is there a number or striking distance that you think you need to be behind the leaders?
SERGIO GARCIA: It depends what happens today and how they finish. Obviously if they stay 7- or 8-under par, I think that I'm going to need probably -- I think you would guess that somewhere around 12-under par might win it, so I'm going to need at least two 66s if I want to have a chance. It all depends a little bit on the weather, too, but we'll go one step at a time and hopefully play a couple solid rounds, kind of free up a little bit and get back in the mood that we were at the Masters.

Q. The leader is 5-under; are you surprised it's that low?
SERGIO GARCIA: That low? You mean like it should have been like lower, like? Like a higher score?

Q. I don't know, it's been a lot higher in recent years.
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, the greens are very firm, so you got some new pin positions out there that you haven't seen. You got some tricky breaks that you're not used to seeing, and sometimes even though you see it one way, like your mind is telling you that it used to break the other way and it's difficult to trust it. Still, as firm as it's playing, it's still not easy to hit it close it the pins. Your shots have to be -- even, for example, like on 12, I hit a great -- I think I had like 84 or 86 yards, something like that, and I hit a great lob wedge and flew it three yards short of the hole and it went probably 12 feet by. So it's a lot of the shots are tougher than in the past because the ball is releasing a lot more. Even the shot on 9, it wasn't that easy.

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