August 9, 2017
JOHN DEVER: Good afternoon, again, from the 99th PGA Championship from Quail Hollow Club.
Pleased to be joined by 2017 Masters Champion, Sergio GarcÃa. Sergio, thanks for your time today, sir.
You've played a lot of golf here at Quail Hollow through the years. Had some real good successes. I think in 2005, you got into a playoff that didn't end the way you wanted.
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah.
JOHN DEVER: Maybe take us through your progressions here and the golf course, what you saw before the change and what you see now.
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, like you said, I like this place. I've played well here. I was very close of winning in 2005.
The course is totally different now. There's obviously four or five holes that kind of play similar, but pretty much I haven't played here probably in the last five or six years or so. You know, it's a different golf course. It's much longer, different looks. A couple different holes here and there. So it definitely doesn't feel like the Quail Hollow that we used to come and play.
JOHN DEVER: Now if we go back, way back to Medinah in 1999, and this is your 19th PGA Championship, other than that green jacket you earned, what's the difference between Sergio GarcÃa 19 years ago, if you will, and what we're going to see here this week?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, obviously it's a lot of years and a lot of rounds on my bag. So obviously that has changed. But other than that, not much. I think that I'm still the same kind of guy, try to play the best I can, and that's what we're going to do here this week.
Obviously I'm not coming in with the best momentum in the world right now, but we are going to go out there and hopefully be as committed as possible, be confident out there, and hit some good shots. Because the way the course is playing right now, we're going to need it. There's a lot of 5- and 4-irons into some of these greens, which are very difficult to hit it close and some of them hold. It's going to be a test for sure.
Q. Obviously you could have chosen any entertainment for your wedding reception. What was it that made you land on Kenny G? And other than actually getting married, what are some other things that stood out to you from the wedding day that were highlights that you'll never forget?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, we're here at a golf tournament. We're not going to start talking about the wedding and everything that went on it.
It was a great day. We really, really enjoyed it. Angela and the wedding planner did an amazing job, and we all really, really enjoyed it. We had a lot of good friends there and family, and it was a wonderful day and, you know, we'll cherish it for the rest of our lives.
But we're here to play golf.
Q. We're asking players, we recently saw Branden Grace with that superb 62 at The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale in Southport. I want to sort of ask you to maybe travel back in time and reflect on your best-ever round, your lowest-ever round, the emotional journey throughout that round, what was it like for you during it?
SERGIO GARCIA: In a major or in general?
Q. Any time of your life.
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, probably the one that comes to mind would be Bridgestone, Firestone three years ago when I shot 61. Obviously had an believable back nine. I made eight birdies on the back nine, seven to finish with.
It's one of those moments that you feel amazing because everything feels like it's going exactly like you want it, but at the same time, you kind of try not to think too much about it because you don't want to start thinking, oh, you know, I'm 6- or 7-under par.
So you want to keep being aggressive, but you know, it's some of those things that don't happen that often, and when it happens, it's an amazing feeling and it's really, really nice to go through it.
Q. Can I ask you, can you compare your game going into Augusta and compare it with coming here to Quail Hollow. Any similarities? Any differences?
SERGIO GARCIA: It was definitely better at Augusta for sure, coming in. I felt like my swing was behaving a little bit more the way I want it.
At the moment, I mean, I had a good Sunday last week, but there's some things that I'm not quite where I want them to be, and they need to be better very early, starting tomorrow morning.
But you know, hopefully we'll get out there. We have a good feeling. We get on a good motion and on a good run and we can have a good week. If not, we'll fight with what we have and try to do the best way possible.
Q. Can you just describe how difficult the closing stretch is here, those last three holes, and do you see any similarities between here and maybe TPC Sawgrass with that closing stretch?
SERGIO GARCIA: No. No, I really don't see any similarities, because they are three holes that are totally different.
I mean, 16 today, being wet and a little bit into the wind, driver, 4-iron.
Next hole, 5-iron, par 3.
Then the last hole, driver, 5-iron.
It's obviously different than PLAYERS. PLAYERS gives you a little more leeway when it comes down to those three holes because you have 16 that you can make birdie or eagle if you play it well.
17, it's a wedge or a sand wedge. Even though it's a tough hole, you can still make a birdie hitting a good shot or even a hole-in-one if you get lucky.
And 18, if you're aggressive, you're still hitting driver and a wedge. Obviously if you lay up, then it's a lot longer. But these holes, there's no -- there's no being aggressive. If you're aggressive, you're hitting 4- and 5-irons, and if you're not aggressive, you're hitting woods into the greens. It's just a different kind of golf course.
Q. The thing about this pairing at the PGA with the three major champions of the year is that no matter what happens, you guys all go into the rest of the year having won a major. If you think about the 17 or 18 other PGAs when you've come to the last one, can you notice a difference, feeling a little bit more freedom or whatever the word might be of saying whatever happens, I've got one?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, you do think about that. You do think whatever happens, I've already won the Masters, and it's amazing.
But at the same time, it doesn't mean that you're not going to go out there and try as hard as you can, because that's what we do. That's the only way we know how to play. And if I didn't care, then I wouldn't get angry when I don't play the way I want to.
So you do have that in the back of your mind, feeling like, you know, obviously I've already achieved something amazing this year. But at the same time, you still want to go out there and play the way you know how to play and contend and have another shot at it. But you know, we'll see how the week goes.
Q. When you talk about how different your game is now than it was at Augusta, is some of that attributed to the fact that you've had some pretty momentous things going on off the golf course or is it just the rhythm of the season?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, it's just the up and down of the season. Don't get me wrong, I played great in Germany. Just the last month, month and a half, it just hasn't felt as fluid as it usually does. That doesn't mean that I'm playing badly.
Obviously ball-striking has always been my forte. And when I mean that I'm not feeling great, I don't see all the shots the way I want them. But it doesn't mean that I'm hitting the ball like poorly, poorly.
At the end of the day, I've always been a feel player. So if I feel something that works and I can ride that feeling throughout the week, then we should be fine. If not, like I said, we'll fight with what we have and try to do the best possible.
JOHN DEVER: If I may, are you a fan of the shorts? Can you talk about the shorts in the practice rounds?
SERGIO GARCIA: Excuse me? Oh, yeah, love the shorts. I don't know why the PGA TOUR is waiting, waiting to make a decision on it. I love it. I think it's great when we play in hot conditions that we get to play all year. Obviously, European Tour we've been able to play in shorts for a couple years now, and it's great.
We get to show a little bit of skin and are a little bit cooler, so it's nice.
JOHN DEVER: Enjoy it.
Q. You're such a good driver of the golf ball. How does this course set up for you off the tee, and how many drivers will you hit?
SERGIO GARCIA: At the moment, hitting driver everywhere, because if you don't, you're struggling to reach some of these greens.
Yeah, if I drive the ball well, obviously it is an advantage but at the same time, like I said before, the course is very wet. Obviously the greens are a little bit firmer because of the SubAir system, but the fairways are wet. Everything you hit it, it just plugs.
So there's not many holes where you can lay up, other than two or three. So you've just got to get there, and even if you don't feel that comfortable on some of the holes, just kind of suck it up and try to hit the best drive possible. Because, you know, like I said before, you're hitting 4-, 5-, 6-irons into a lot of these greens, and if you are hitting 3-wood and 5-wood off the tee, it means you're hitting 3-iron or 5-wood into the green. It's difficult to give that much distance in the golf course the way it's playing.
Q. Do you think that's a better test of golf when you have to hit longer irons into the greens and not hit --
SERGIO GARCIA: Not particularly. I think the beautiful thing is to have a mix. I think the beautiful thing, I think a golf course is testing you when it's making you think a lot. So it's not like just get there, tee it up with the driver and hit it as hard as you can and hopefully hit it straight.
So you know, there's different ways of testing us. Obviously if the weather helps and the greens get firm and stuff like that, you don't need a long course to make it difficult. So, unfortunately we depend on the weather, and it doesn't look like this week is going to be that great (smiling).
JOHN DEVER: Thank you, as always. Have a great week.
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