January 24, 2018
CLARE BODEL: Sergio, welcome back to Dubai. I think it's safe to say this was the start of a pretty special year for you last year.
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I think it was decent (laughter). It's obviously to be back here in Dubai defending our title, beautiful weather, the course looks great and the greens are rolling very nicely. They are quite firm, firmer than they were last year already on Wednesday. It's going to be interesting to see how we can cope with that. Yeah, it's a fun week.
CLARE BODEL: Given what happened here last year, do you feel sort of extra pressure to replicate that performance?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, I wouldn't say so. I think that every week, we come out here and we try to do our best, play the best we can every single week, and that's the same thing I'm going to do this week.
I'm going to keep trying hard, keep challenging myself to achieve things, and, you know, hopefully we play as well as we did last year and we have another chance at winning again here. You know, it would be great, but we'll see what the week will bring us.
Q. Obviously things went very well for you last weekend. Did you have a time over Christmas or the break where you sat down and reestablished new goals, given everything you ticked off last year? Would that be any different to what you might have thought of before, or is it a case of just continuing to try to do the same thing?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, not really. The goals are still the same: Trying to keep improving, keep getting better in all aspects of the game, just like I try to do every year.
Obviously try to put myself in winning situations like I did last week and try to cope with them the best way possible and give myself chances at winning tournaments. I don't know if it's going to be one, six, two three or what's going to happen, but at least if I feel like I'm getting better, like I keep putting myself in those situations, that's already an achievement, and then you try to take as many as you can.
Q. Do you feel like it should be easier now to win multiple major championships now that you've won one or does it not follow like that?
SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. I don't know if it's easier or not. Obviously, yeah, we have won one already, but it doesn't mean that the next one is going to be easy. It doesn't work like that.
It's still always pressure and trying to overcome things and achieve things. So maybe if you're in a situation to win and you feel a little bit more comfortable, but it doesn't mean that it becomes easy.
Q. How pleased are you that you hit the ground running with new equipment? Like any player, having to change equipment must have been a difficult thing, but to win as quick as you have must be satisfying.
SERGIO GARCIA: To be totally honest, no, it hasn't been difficult. Callaway has amazing equipment. So that makes it easy. When you like what you see when you look down, you know, it obviously helps.
I think the biggest question mark for me was the golf ball, but I'm really happy with this new golf ball. Obviously played last week for the first time and it felt amazing. Obviously I practised with it earlier but I played with it in a tournament.
It is exciting. I'm obviously very pleased with the move, and you know, hopefully we can keep having more weeks like last week.
Q. Is there anything about this tournament that makes it a barometer for the first major of the year, given that obviously you and Danny both went on to win the Masters?
SERGIO GARCIA: I don't think so. I think it's just coincidence. It's not like every time that every guy that has won has won the Masters like three months later or two months later or for that matter, a major throughout that year.
I guess it's just a coincidence it happened last year and the year before. But you know, neither Danny or I are going to complain about it for sure.
Q. Is there any similarities in the courses at all?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, not really. Well, I mean, they both have 18 holes. Other than that (laughter).
Q. It sort of follows on to that question: Was winning here for the Masters, was it more mentally about winning an event leading into the Masters, and doesn't necessarily matter where you won before the Masters?
SERGIO GARCIA: I guess in that aspect it does help. For me, for me last year, winning here against Henrik, with Henrik playing well, and myself playing well, and kind of keeping him off my back throughout the whole day, I think that was the most important thing mentally. That helped me a lot. It gave me more confidence as I went on through the year. So on that aspect, it definitely helped, yeah.
Q. The major schedule this year includes a return to Carnoustie. I know it's a little bit away, but how much are you looking forward to going back there, given how close you came the last time it was there?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I'm excited. I'm really excited to go back. Maybe because I love Carnoustie. I think it's one of the best links courses we play in the rotation, in The Open rotation.
Yeah, it is exciting and you know, hopefully I can play as well as I did on 2007 and give myself a solid shot at it. It would be nice to put myself in that situation again.
Q. What in particular do you like about it? Is it the toughness of the course?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I think it's just a solid golf course. It's great. It doesn't -- it's not the kind of links course that needs a lot of wind or very bad weather to play tough. You know, even with good weather, it's still very challenging. So I love that about it.
Q. With regard to the Masters, just wonder how superstitious you've been in sense of following exactly the same routine --
SERGIO GARCIA: (Shaking head no) (laughter). Zero. (Laughter).
Q. Seems obvious to ask you, Jon Rahm, he could be No. 1 in the world by next week. You're maybe less surprised than most people by his rise, but it's been incredible, hasn't it.
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, he's a great player. We all knew that. Obviously he's been on a great run. He's won four tournaments in, I don't know, what is it, 16, 17 months that he's been a pro. Obviously he's shown what he's capable of doing. We all see that he's a great player.
So you know, he's got a great opportunity to achieve something, not only for himself but for Spain that hasn't been for quite a long time, since Seve did it, it would be nice to see it happen. We'll see. I'm sure DJ and some of the other guys that are around that spot would not make it easy on him. So we'll see what happens.
Q. Would you give him any advice about the kind of attention he's already getting? You've been through that when you were younger. Can it be difficult for someone like that?
SERGIO GARCIA: I think he can handle it fine. I think that he's been doing okay. So you know, I think he'll be okay.
Q. Jon Rahm's got a lot going on this week, but most people are going to be watching another guy playing in San Diego. Just wonder what your thoughts were on Tiger?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, it's going to be interesting to see. I mean, I don't know, but in my opinion, it's a big question mark to see how he's going to be able to do physically. I think that he looked pretty good at the Hero Challenge. But he has looked good at the Hero Challenge, and then, you know, he hasn't lasted too long.
So hopefully he's able to get in a bit of a rhythm when it comes down to playing tournaments. But nobody knows. Probably I would like to -- I think I can say that probably he doesn't even know how his back and his body is going to cope with everything that goes on with playing tournaments and practising and everything that comes with it. So we'll see.
Q. How important do you think he is to golf? Do we need him?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, of course we need him. He's done so much for the game. If he's not there, will the game of golf fall apart? I don't think so. But obviously like I always say, the more sugar, the sweeter.
So the more big-time players we have on Tour, the better it is for the game globally and he's obviously one of those.
CLARE BODEL: Thank you, everyone, Sergio.
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