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May 16, 2017

Sergio Garcia

Irving, Texas

MARK WILLIAMS: All right. We'd like to welcome Sergio Garcia, the defending champion of the AT&T Byron Nelson back to the this position where we had a pretournament interview last year at this time. Sergio, you went on to win. Keep your fingers crossed again.

Talk about coming back here as the defending champion but obviously now as Major champion as well and has it been a little bit different for you and in what way?

SERGIO GARCIA: Obviously it's great to be back here, back here as the defending champion of the AT&T Byron Nelson and two time champion so, it's always -- it's a very special place for me, it's where I started my PGA TOUR career. So, it's always fun to come back. And, to do as defending champion, it's even better.

So, very excited about it, hoping to be here on Sunday late afternoon it would be a nice thing to have, nice feeling to go through again but, you know, it's going to be a long week and we had to prepare the best way possible and see what we're able to do out there.

MARK WILLIAMS: This year has been good to you already. With the FedExCup Playoffs coming up, last year you were just really close getting to that Tour Championship and that Top 30, just a couple out.

You're currently 13th in the FedExCup standings. Obviously it's a big goal for the players to get into the Top 30.

SERGIO GARCIA: Without a doubt. Obviously last year I felt like I should have been in the Tour Championship. Unfortunately I lacked a couple -- I had a couple bad weeks to finish the year with and just missed it, but this year we have another good opportunity to have a really, really good year, to go into the Tour Championship with a solid chance of may winning the FedExCup.

So, another good week here will help even more. So, we got to work hard and be as ready as we can be for Thursday morning and, you know, get going.

MARK WILLIAMS: Okay. We'd like to take some questions for Sergio.

Q. Sergio, how is it going? So you accomplish a life-long dream winning the Masters. You have ample time to celebrate with family and friends. Describe what it's like with The Players and now at the Nelson refocusing on the latter half of the season, what that process is like.
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah. It's something that, yeah, that I need to get going on that. Last week obviously at The Players I had a couple nice rounds and a couple not so nice rounds but it's been very overwhelming. I'm not going to lie.

It's been amazing to see the reaction from the people and the players and everyone. It's obviously been something amazing to go through but, at the same time, you know, I have to kind of move on.

As nice as it is to be the Masters champion, I need to keep doing things, I need to keep improving on every aspect of my game and, you know, focus on the week that we are right now because it's easy to start thinking and -- about what happened, you know, a month ago and things like that.

So, you know, we have to get going, get back into where we were there and make sure that we get some good confidence.

I did some really good things last week but I also did some things that weren't that great. I need to make sure I clean that up and, you know, have a solid, solid stretch here in Texas.

Q. Sergio, what is it about this course that translates so well to your game and will you be sad to leave after this year?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, obviously I'm going to be sad to leave here because it's a place, like I said before, not only because I won twice here and I've done well but it's where I started my PGA TOUR career as a professional.

It's always going to have something extra special in me, this golf course. So, yeah, it will be a little bit sad, no doubt about it. I'm sure the new place we're moving to, it's going to be amazing, too, but there's always going to be like I said, you know, the opening ceremony of the tournament, a little piece of heart is always going to stay here no matter where we go. But, we're excited about coming last week here and hope to make the most of it.

Q. I wanted to ask you how did it change for you after winning, the pressure and also the motivation to keep competing and if you can answer in English and in Spanish?
SERGIO GARCIA: I don't think it's changed that much. Obviously winning Augusta was amazing and it's, you know, the highlight of my career. But, at the same time, like I said there and I've been saying, I don't want it to be over. You know, I think that I still feel like I can achieve a lot of things and I want to keep moving forward.

So, I need to, like I said earlier, I need to focus on every week and stop thinking what's happened which is great, but, you know it's in the past and I need to keep moving forward. So if I manage to do that then we should have an amazing year. So, we're excited about that.

Q. Sergio, just spoke about moving forward. I know it's early now but when do you start really getting into the mindset for the U.S. Open, start prepping for it and thinking about it and getting ready for it?
SERGIO GARCIA: The week before, probably, or a couple weeks before when I'll be -- when I won't be playing tournaments, that's the ideal thing for me because I don't want to be -- you know, I mean I haven't seen Erin Hills, I've heard about it but I don't want to be thinking this shot or that shot, it's good for there.

Every course needs to be played one way and I mean you start playing a golf course differently because of how you're going to play maybe in three weeks' time, usually you're not going to have a week then.

For me the most important thing is confidence and playing well, it's what gives you confidence. If you're trying to do things that you don't feel comfortable with or you're trying to do things out of the ordinary, and you lose confidence, then you get to the U.S. Open and your confidence is low and then you can't even do what you're supposed to do there.

So, at the end of the day it's all about that.

Q. Two quick questions, if you don't mind. Last year when you got here you had a special dessert waiting in your room. I wondered if anything like that was waiting for you this time?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, not yet. We haven't been -- I'm sure there's something waiting but we haven't been in the room yet. We got here today they were still kind of getting it ready.

But, I think there was something there they said. I'm sure there's something special.

Q. We'll ask you when you come back later.
SERGIO GARCIA: Hopefully I'll keep my teeth out of it this time.

Q. Secondly you mentioned starting your PGA TOUR career, you won here twice and Colonial and now you're marrying into a Texas family.
Do you and Angela ever kind of laugh about this Texas connection and have you started talking with a Texas twang at all?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, y'all (laughter) -- no.

But, yeah, it is funny how things work out. You don't plan for these things but I've always had a good connection with Texas for whatever reason that's been, I've been successful here throughout my career.

Now, like you said, getting ready to marry a Texan girl, Longhorn girl, so, yeah -- but it's all great fun. We enjoy every minute of it and we're excited to what the future holds for us.

So, you know, hopefully many more good things will come out of Texas for us and, you know, we enjoy it here. So it's good.

Q. What are some of your favorite things to do in between rounds here at the Four Seasons and with this being the last year here, what are you going to miss most about this place?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, fortunately there's a got lot of great things. Right behind there's a lot of great things to do when you're not playing golf.

So, we got the basketball court, the tennis court, we have the great gym, the swimming pool. So, there's so many things that you can do to stay in shape and have great fun doing it.

So, that's -- I think that's one of the big pluses about this place, not only that the golf course is great fun and challenging and is an awesome tournament but what we can do after playing.

So, we'll definitely miss that. I don't know if we're going to have something similar at the new place that we're going next year but we'll definitely miss that and, what was the other question, sorry?

Q. What are you going to miss most?
SERGIO GARCIA: I answered that, I guess.

Q. Sergio, you mentioned confidence and you won The Player prior to Augusta and won tons of tournaments.
Have you noticed a difference or will you notice an elevation in confidence overall having slayed the dragon that was Augusta for you, could it be a different level?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. To tell you the truth, like I said, it's obviously Augusta was great and yeah, it was something that we really wanted to do for a long time but every week is different and, you know, the shots that I hit there and the things that I did there obviously being great memories but, like I said before, every course is different and every week you feel a little bit different and, you know, you have to keep working hard and make sure that you keep going in the same direction to keep building on that, on that confidence.

So, hopefully -- like I said, last week I did some great things and unfortunately I did some things that aren't that great. I need to make sure to clean that up so we can keep doing a lot of mostly good things out there on the course.

Q. Sergio, when competing for a victory when it's on the line, what do you do to prepare on the 18th hole? What are you thinking when you walk up to the 18th hole here?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I think at the end of the day there's only a couple things you can do. You can be as confident as possible, you can believe in yourself as much as possible and trust that you're going to be able to do what you want to do and sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't but, you know, at the end of the day it's just, you know, control your breathing, be positive out there and just try to commit to whatever shot or whatever shots you're going to hit and then hope for the best.

Q. Do you have a specific game plan for the 18th here?
SERGIO GARCIA: Hit it straight (laughter), which is not easy. If it gets windy it's a tough hole but last year I played it great on the -- I played great I think pretty much all week but I played it great on Sunday and that's one of the reasons why I'm standing here as defending champion.

Hopefully we'll do more of the same.

Q. Sergio, had John Drago on the radio show a couple weeks ago and we talked about the way you won here last year was very similar to the way you won at Augusta.
I just wondered if that win here last year, kind of gutting it out and winning on the back-9, if that helped play into your success at Augusta and, by the way, congratulations on that.

SERGIO GARCIA: Thank you. I don't know if it was exactly the same. I think for my liking I think Augusta was cleaner than here. I think that I managed to -- you know, I managed to do some great things coming in here last year after hitting a couple water balls on 11 and 14.

At the same time I had a little bit of help from Brooks with a couple of bogies here and there to give me a chance. But, you know, Augusta was definitely cleaner.

The way I played the last five, six holes at Augusta was pretty much exactly the way I wanted here. It wasn't quite like that but it doesn't mean that I didn't play well.

So, I think they're both a little bit connected. Like I said earlier, every week is different and the way you feel it's different. So, you know, every single week is a new chapter and, you know, a new learning experience.

Q. Sergio, I don't know how many times you met Byron Nelson but was there one time that sticks out in your mind?
SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. I had the pleasure of meeting him, you know, since '99 several times, mostly here at this tournament. There's many occasions that come to mind, you know, seeing him on the first tee when we're about to tee off, it was always a pleasure and an inspiration, seeing him on 18 with Peggy after playing and, you know, congratulating us or just shaking our hand and wishing us luck, something like that.

So, it was always an amazing experience to see him, to see both of them. So, it's difficult to pick one but they were all very special.

MARK WILLIAMS: Okay. Sergio, we appreciate your time and good luck with your defense.

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