September 26, 2017
BRIONY CARLYON: Delighted to be joined by the Masters Champion, Sergio GarcÃa. A wonderful year for you, Sergio. Must be great to be back on U.K. soil and looking forward to playing at close house this week at the British Masters supported by SKY Sports?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, definitely. Very excited. Like you said, it's been a great year. It's always exciting to come back to British Isles and the U.K. and play in front of these crowds. I've always said, it's my favorite people to play in front, not only for the support but how much they know about the game and how respectful they are. It's just great fun to play in front of them. We are excited about it and hopefully we can get a lot more of this good weather that we had today and hopefully for the rest of the week.
BRIONY CARLYON: Obviously a couple of wins for you this year on The European Tour and a very decent outing the last few weeks in America for yourself. How is the game progress being at this stage.
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I'm not going to lie, after the Masters, a little bit of a downer for a couple of months. But the last two or three weeks, they have been positive. I've seen some really good things in my game coming along. So I'm excited about that. Excited to keep the run that I had the last couple of weeks this week here, and hopefully have a really good week and have a solid chance at winning here will be amazing.
Q. Now that you've look at the course, what do you make of the tests this place poses here?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I played the back nine today, and it's obviously a bit tricky. A couple of blind shots here and there. It's quite hilly. So you have to be very comfortable with the lines off the tees. The greens have quite a lot of movement. They are not fast. I don't think you can get them too fast because of how much movement they have but you know, they might get a little bit bumpy in the afternoon, so that might be a little bit of a challenge. Other than that, it's a solid golf course. It looks nice. It is a beautiful part of the country.
So hopefully everybody enjoys it and we have a great week.
Q. Seems like the last couple of years, the big crowd this event has drawn out; what difference does it make to you when the crowds are that big at a regular event? You expect it at the majors and WGCs. At a regular event, does it get the juices flowing a bit more?
SERGIO GARCIA: I wouldn't say that. I think that it is nice to see that because we enjoy playing in front of big crowds, and we want our TOUR to be recognized and for the people to come and enjoy it. Not only ourselves but the crowds themselves.
So I do have to say that fortunate for us, we have had a great following throughout the years, and the last couple of years, even better. But here in the U.K., that's never been a problem. The crowds have always been very big and very supportive. So you know, I expect more of the same.
Q. And the Hero Challenge, the Junior British Masters today, how important is to have some of those sideshows, if you like, to help grow the game?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I think there's one of the things that Keith and his team are bringing into The European Tour the last couple of years, and like I said, it is important to bring some new things into it to make it more exciting, not only for us, but for the people to watch it and get into the game. At the end of the day, that's the most important thing. At the end what we want is for the game of golf to keep growing. The only way that that is possible is getting more young guys and young people into the game to make the future brighter.
I think all of these little things that we're doing here and there with the Hero Challenges and some new formats with the GolfSixes and things like that, hopefully it's helping rejuvenate the Tour and the golf a little bit to make sure that all those young people get into it.
Q. So just one bad round last week, first round, that cost you the chance of winning. Did you find something going forward in the remaining three rounds?
SERGIO GARCIA: To be totally honest, I felt all right in the first round. I actually felt it on the weekend in Chicago. Unfortunately because I haven't played as great or as nice as I usually like to play; my confidence starting the first round on a tough golf course like East Lake wasn't quite there, and I played heavily for two or three shots that I missed.
So yeah, that put me in a tough spot going into Friday. But Friday, I played great. Saturday I played really, really well. Probably was the day I played the best. I didn't -- I hit a lot of great putt that unfortunately didn't go in. But it was the most I could shoot, 68. And then Sunday, I had a really good round going. Unfortunately missed the drive on 16 and you know, ended up making double.
So you know, even with that first round, I feel like I probably could have still finished probably 9-under, 9- or 10-under, which would have been top three, top four, which would have been an amazing, amazing tournament.
Like I said before, it was important to get some of the -- feel some of the things I felt throughout those last three rounds. Some of the shots I hit that I haven't been hitting lately; you know, hopefully I'll be able to do more of that this week.
Q. And when you've had such a momentous year both on and off the course as you have, do you have any remaining goals for the season, or are you looking for the season to end and relax?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, I still have like six or seven tournaments to go. I have six tournaments to go. There's still a lot of golf to be played.
No, goals are pretty much the same as always. Just keep building on that confidence. Keep improving. Keep getting better. Play the best I can and you know, hopefully if my best is at a good level, where I know that I can play, then I'm going to be up there with chances of winning. If not, we'll fight to finish the best way possible.
Obviously the Race to Dubai is still up for grabs, and it would be nice to have a solid chance when we get to Dubai.
Q. You're a Real Madrid fan; have you heard from Rafa this week?
SERGIO GARCIA: Unfortunately I don't know him. I know who he is and I've even all the things he's done but I've never met him. No; the answer is no.
Q. You said about competing in a beautiful part of the country. Have you come to the northeast before?
SERGIO GARCIA: I mean, we've been around here, and obviously this is close from Scotland where we play a lot of golf. I don't think I've -- I mean, I would have to look back, some British Boys or British Amateurs or something like that. But I don't recall that I've played much golf up here. But it is nice. I mean, we walked along Newcastle yesterday and some nice restaurants and beautiful buildings. Hopefully we get some good weather so we can really, really enjoy it.
Q. It's a passionate sporting area. What are you expecting in your couple of days here?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I expect what we get every time we come to the U.K.: A lot of support and a lot of people enjoying the tournament and a lot of people coming and watching us play. You know, like I said, hopefully the weather behaves and everybody can really, really enjoy it.
Q. You talked about the ideas that Keith and his team have brought in, the sideshows. Have you ever had ideas as to what you think should happen in the way of something new, a new format?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, not really. To tell you the truth, I leave that for the smart people (chuckles).
I think at the end of the day, like we were talking about before, it is important to bring some new ideas and kind of rejuvenate the game a little bit. At the same time, you still want to have -- you still want to maintain the core elements of the game of golf because it is important that it stays respectful; that it is a gentleman's game and that shouldn't change.
You know, I think there's a way of doing things, maintaining those things. You know, I think that a lot of the ideas have been positive from -- not only from us, but from the crowds. You know, like I said earlier, the most important thing is to make sure that the game keeps growing and we try to help in any way we can.
Q. When you were a kid, did you need anything else to liven up the game?
SERGIO GARCIA: Probably not. But also probably when I was a kid, there weren't as many options to play other sports -- which is great, don't get me wrong. But nowadays, you have so many opportunities to play football and tennis and basketball and cricket here and rugby and things like that.
So it is nice to see some new ideas, and maybe with what happened 2008, 2009, with the economy crashing and everything, a lot of people kind of went a little bit away from golf. So it is nice to try to rebuild that.
Q. You're good friends with Lee. Will there be much knowledge you'll be tapping him up for to help with your role as the host for the AndalucÃa Valderrama Masters?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, I hosted it last year -- are you talking him to me or me to him.
Q. Some words of encouragement or a little bit more for this year.
SERGIO GARCIA: No, I don't think so. I think at the end of the day, we know what we are doing and you know, we try to do it the best way possible.
Everybody has their own way of doing it. So you know, me and my group, my team, we did the best way possible last year at Valderrama and I think it was a great success.
I know that Lee and his team are doing a great job here, and you know, it's been all positive so far. I'm sure that, you know, hopefully we'll have an amazing AndalucÃa Valderrama Masters hosted by my foundation in three weeks' time. Should be fun.
Q. You mentioned The Race to Dubai earlier on. Just wondering how big a motivation that is for you for the rest of the season?
SERGIO GARCIA: It is a motivation but it's not going to change my schedule, no, because like I said, I'm already playing six tournaments and I'm not going to go crazy trying to -- I think that what I'm playing, if I'm playing well, it should be enough. If it's not enough, I'll congratulate whoever gets it. At the end of the day, like I said, I know what clicks for me and I don't want to overdo something now towards the end of the year, and then feel it throughout next year.
I still have to think not only present but future, and you know, we have to control what helps us and hurts us.
Q. What are the other six?
SERGIO GARCIA: This week, Italy, obviously Valderrama, Dubai and Hong Kong and Australia.
BRIONY CARLYON: Thank you, Sergio. All the best for this week.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports