April 3, 2018
THE MODERATOR: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Like to welcome our defending Masters champion, Sergio Garcia.
Sergio, first of all, I would like to congratulate you and Angela on your new addition, baby Azalea, and would like to ask you: Did it have anything to do with how you played the 13th hole on Sunday?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, it's actually quite a fun story because obviously we got engaged New Year's Eve 2016 to 2017 and‑‑ but the year before we came to Augusta, we were talking about kids and names and how many and things like that, and out of the blue she came up with the idea. She said, so if it works out, timing‑wise and place and stuff, she says, why don't we name our first kid regarding where you win your first Major. And I was like, well, that's a great idea.
And then couple months later we won here. So we started looking at different names from here that related to Augusta, obviously looked at Georgia, we looked at Magnolia, Holly, different ones, but we really liked Azalea, for different reasons.
First of all, because we thought it was a very pretty name. You write it the same way in English and in Spanish, which is great, and also because of it's the hole that kind of turned things around on the final round and kind of got me going to be able to win the Masters last year.
So it's just one of those nice stories that we'll be able to tell her when she grows up a little bit.
THE MODERATOR: That's good. A lot has happened to you this year. You have a new Green Jacket in your wardrobe, Angela and a beautiful wife, and Azalea. My sense is‑‑ what's your mindset as you're here to defend your Masters championship?
SERGIO GARCIA: I'm excited. I'm really excited for many reasons. It's been a three amazing days already, starting Sunday. The feel that you get and the receptions that you get coming to Augusta as a Masters champion is different. And I've always been very fortunate with the way that people have treated me all around the world and especially here at Augusta, but now as a Masters champion, it's just a different feeling, it's a different sensation, and it's unbelievable.
It's great. I'm enjoying every minute of it and just hoping that I can go out there and play great again and have a chance of defending a Green Jacket. It was fun to have it for a year, so I would like to extend that if possible.
THE MODERATOR: Final question. Tonight's champion dinner, tell us about that. And those that don't know, do you want to talk about the menu?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, extremely excited about it. Obviously it is my first one, but it's going to be so emotional. It's going to be such a tremendous honor to stand‑‑ well, to sit next to all those amazing champions and to Mr.Ridley, the chairman, and listen to some of the stories. And we‑‑ I'm hoping that everybody will enjoy it.
Obviously it's going to have a lot of Spanish taste to it, with some little tapas to start, but we have a couple‑‑ it's going to be three main‑‑ three‑course meal. We're going to have a salad. It's going to be three of my favorite dishes. So I'm a big fan of Caesar salad. So we're making it a little bit different, a little special. We want to pay a little tribute to all the winners and all the countries that have won the Masters, so we want to add to that salad. We want to add at least one or two you ingredients from every country that has won the Masters, so it's going to be a little more special and it's our way of saying thanks to all the winners.
Then as a main course we're going to have a beautiful‑‑ one of my favorite dishes in Spain from where I am in‑‑ next to, arroz con bogavante (phonetic). It's going to be a rice dish, not a paella, but it's going to be a lobster rice dish. It's kind of like a soup kind of meal. Very delicious, very tasty. So I hope that everyone enjoys it. I definitely will.
And then as dessert we're going to have my favorite dessert, which Angela usually makes it for me, and she does amazing, it's tres leches cake. So we're going to have that for dessert. And then a couple of nice Spanish wines, a little wine, and then an Albariño, which is from the north, Sketch (phonetic), I think is what it's called.
So very excited to host it and really‑‑ I'm going to be soaking in everything that happens.
THE MODERATOR: Well, thanks for sharing. Let's turn it over to questions, now, please.
Q. A few years ago out here you had a frustrating Saturday, and you mentioned that you thought that you might not have the right stuff to win this tournament. I'm just wondering, did you ever really believe that?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I mean, we have talked about this several times and I said you guys, I think I've been around for quite some time and you guys know how I am, I always say what I feel at the time, and at that time that's the way I felt. I felt like that I was letting it slip away. But like I said, it didn't mean that as soon as I left Augusta my mind wasn't different. And obviously if I thought that I didn't have what it takes to win a Major, I would have probably stopped playing Majors and just played PGA TOUR events and European Tour events and stuff like that.
So I kept believing, I kept giving myself chances, that's what I always said, just to give myself chances, that's the only thing I can do, and just wait for the right time, and that was last year.
Q. To follow, what happened last week‑‑ or last year during that week that wasn't happening in previous times where you were close to winning? What do you think was ‑‑
SERGIO GARCIA: I think it was a combination. I think it was a combination of mentally I was probably a little bit more in sync than maybe in the past, I was probably enjoying the moment more than in the past, not really I was trying to win, but it wasn't like I have to win kind of thing.
I was just believing in myself and things happened. It's as simple as that. Some of the times things didn't happen, and unfortunately I finished second or was just around the corner. But last year fortunately for me it happened, and it was amazing.
Q. I noticed have you a green ribbon on your cap this week. Could you explain the significance.
SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, it's something obviously very close to my heart and my whole family. Unfortunately one of our very good friends, a member of Augusta, passed away last year. Rob Chapman is his name. He was 66. He had a brain aneurysm in July. And him and Nick Evans were the first two members when I started coming here in 1999 as an amateur, were the first two members that we built a relationship with and we played golf with. Then we got to know the whole membership, which was amazing. But those two were the first two, and we built a really big friendship. And it was very sad to hear what happened to him.
The only good thing that I can think of is that I'm so glad that I got to win last year and not this year, because he was able to see it. And I remember the hug we had just as we finished at the 18th hole, just before the prize giving. I remember he was right behind me on the right on the prize giving, and it was very special. I know that he wanted me to win, many people wanted me to win, but he wanted me to win so badly, and fortunately at least he got to see that. So I hope he's enjoying it up there.
Q. In any Masters you played in, has there ever been this much excitement going into a Masters that you played in with so many great players playing well?
SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. Probably not. I think that this year it feels like you probably have, I don't know, eight or ten guys that are in good form, with really good, solid chance of winning. So it's kind of interesting to see how the week goes on, because every week is a‑‑ it's a different story, but it's‑‑ at the moment, it's quite exciting.
Q. What are the emotions like from a standpoint of what you had gone through in the past here, and now that you're coming back as a defending champ, is it a totally different feeling coming into this week, or is it, as a lot of guys say, I'm just trying to make it another tournament?
SERGIO GARCIA: It is a different feeling and, yeah, I mean, it's easy to come here and say, oh, yeah, I'm just treating it like any other tournament and it's‑‑ the Majors are the Majors because of that, because they're different. Augusta is‑‑ it's even more different and more spectacular.
So that's the way you want to take it, but when you go out there you know that it's going to be a special week, and this week for me it's even more special because of being the defending champion. So I'm‑‑ like I said earlier, I'm really enjoying it and hoping to put some good golf out there and on the weekend.
Q. During the years we have had quite a few multiple Masters winners, but just three back‑to‑back winners. I don't know from the experience that you're having these days if you find an explanation. Is it like really difficult to like to focus on the tournament when you get here as a champion? Why do you think that has happened?
SERGIO GARCIA: No. You want the simple‑‑ the simple answer is it's just difficult to win. It doesn't matter if it's back‑to‑back or just one. So people don't realize how difficult it is to win any tournament, and a Major is even tougher, and Augusta and the Masters, it's even more difficult.
So it's just not easy to do it one time, so imagine twice. And back‑to‑back. So it doesn't mean that I'm not going to give it my best shot and I'm going to try as hard as I can, but it's not easy to do it.
Q. You mentioned a fun year with the Green Jacket and it looked like you literally took it everywhere. Just curious what is the most‑‑
SERGIO GARCIA: Can you blame me?
Q. What is the most interesting place you took it and were there any close calls with spilling something or stains or anything like that?
SERGIO GARCIA: I mean, if I told you everywhere I took it, then probably it will be‑‑ I will probably miss my tee time on Thursday.
There's been so many amazing places. Obviously my wedding‑‑ well, my wedding. Our wedding. Yeah, I think Angela‑‑ I think Angela was there, too, wasn't she?
Sorry. Our wedding was extremely special because of the timing. It's very‑‑ it doesn't happen very often that you win the Masters and then you get married that year. And we actually‑‑ we were supposed to get before, before I won the Masters. So that was one of the most exciting moments.
Obviously Wimbledon was great. The bell was amazing. But so many different spots around the world, and that it made it so special to walk around and see the people and the reaction of the people when they were seeing the jacket and when they were seeing me with the jacket on. So that was amazing.
And, yeah, about stains, yeah, that was nerve‑wracking. So we‑‑ if you bear with me, we won the Masters, obviously we got to New York for all the morning shows and everything, which was a really cool experience. And we were there, so I've had the jacket for a day and a half, and we're doing all the different shows and the stock exchange and Bloomberg and everywhere. And all of a sudden we're kind of wrapping up the first day on Monday, and I'm about to do an interview, and I kind of‑‑ I've been taking pictures with different people and guys behind stage and stuff like that, and I kind of look at my right arm and there's two big grease stains on it. And I'm thinking, my God, I've had the jacket for a day and a half and I already have two massive stains on it. What am I going to do?
So apparently one of the guys from backstage working on the stage, he must have had some grease on something, and when I put my arm around him, it just got on it. So we were trying to clean it up as we can and everything, and we kind of get it off a little bit, and then we took it to dry cleaner and they did a great job.
But no, it was‑‑ oh, that was tough.
Q. You said were you going to serve food from all the countries that have won the Masters. This year it's 30 years since Sandy Lyle won, so can I assume you're going to serve haggis at the dinner at some point?
SERGIO GARCIA: I think from Scotland we have the sole, and I don't know if it's cucumbers or something that. I mean, I don't know exactly all the ingredients, but I know that we're putting a little bit of all I think ten countries that have won the Masters.
Q. I assume the baby's here with you?
SERGIO GARCIA: Not right now.
Q. Oh, okay, cool.
SERGIO GARCIA: Sorry. She's at home.
Q. You said you and Angela talked about how many kids you wanted to have. Do you know how many you want to have, and did you pick names?
SERGIO GARCIA: 48.
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah.
Q. Did you pick the names from other sites of other Majors, potential names?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, I think that was a one‑time deal. It was a special moment, and we'll see. We're still working on it. I'm not going to tell you exactly how many we are wishing to have, but you'll find out.
Q. There's obviously a lot going on this week as the defending champion. Talk about how difficult that might play into your focus and preparation, and then how is your game coming in this week?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, preparation has been good. All three days have been great. Obviously the receptions I've been getting around tees and greens and around the fairways, they have been unbelievable.
But the progression has been good. I feel like my game is‑‑ it feels quite solid. I'm obviously coming off three good tournaments, three Top‑10s. But like I said earlier, every week is different, and it's just a matter of how I'm going to feel on Thursday, how the nerves are going to be, because I know I'm going to be a little bit nervous.
This is my first time defending a Major and a Green Jacket, so it's new to me. But I'll try to go through the things that I know help me and hopefully get off to a good start, decent start, and really enjoy the week.
But no matter what, this week is going to be amazing, and the most beautiful thing about it is that I get to play the Masters as‑‑ until I can't walk. So that's pretty cool.
Q. What was the third course that you're serving? I couldn't understand, I'm sorry.
SERGIO GARCIA: It's called an at that tres leches cake. It's a Mexican dessert. It's three milks cake it's called. But it's obviously ‑‑ sorry, it's‑‑ it's really delicious. It's like cake with a little bit of‑‑
Q. Ice cream?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, no ice cream. No, it's like‑‑ how you say? It's a like a‑‑ the bottom side it's kind of like madeleine pastry kind of stuff, and then you put whipped cream on it, but you pour it with three different kinds of milk, like condensed milk and a normal milk and some other one and stuff, and you just soak it, and then you put whipped cream on top. And it's delicious. I tell you that.
Q. Did you ever regret saying that out loud in here you didn't know if you had the stuff? And the reason I ask is can you acknowledge that it kind of made the whole arc of your story that much better, you know that you ended up having the stuff to win, or did you ever regret that?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, I don't. I don't regret it because, like I said earlier, for good or for bad, you guys, the media, you guys are always asking for people to be truthful, and I'm not sure there's many more out there more truthful than myself. Unfortunately, sometimes when I'm truthful, you guys don't like it.
So at the end of the day I'm just trying to say what I feel. It's as simple as that. I'm just trying to make you guys realize what I'm feeling, what I'm going through. Then it's a matter of how you guys take it.
So I'm not‑‑ no, I don't regret it. It's like I said, it's what I felt at that time. It doesn't mean that when I left here my mind wasn't different. And it did change because I gave myself chances to win Majors after that, so it's just one of those moments.
Q. Last year on the 13th hole you took a very aggressive line, and it was nearly disastrous on Sunday. Could you explain your thinking on the strategy off the tee there and then if you're going to adjust this year based on what happened on Sunday?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I hope to hit it three yards farther right and then it will be perfect. No, not really. 13 hole is‑‑ it's a tough driving hole, mainly because you can't hit it over the trees anymore. The trees are too tall, they're too far away, and so you have to turn it a bit.
This year I feel with my new equipment, with my new Callaway equipment, I feel a bit more comfortable turning it over, but last year I had a harder time turning it over. So I hit the same drive the first three days. The difference was that the wind the first three days was‑‑ off the tee was like left‑to‑right, maybe a little bit into, so I hit it straight at the top of the trees, a little cut, and it cut nicely, and I hit three really good drives.
Sunday I hit exactly the same drive, the difference was that the wind was right‑to‑left. It wasn't a lot of wind, but it was right‑to‑left. So my ball, instead of cutting those three or four yards, it went dead straight. It just caught the top of the tree. It wasn't a bad drive, so don't get me wrong, unfortunately it just caught the top of the tree and bounced kind of back and to the left into the azaleas, but you know, it made it a little more interesting, I guess.
Q. I have to ask you about this last Sunday. How was your experience with the kids, inspiring the kids?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, no, it was great. It was amazing. Saturday afternoon I got to go to the hotel where they were staying and get to see them and talk to them a little bit, and that was amazing to get a couple pictures with them. Then obviously Sunday we got to see them again in action here at Augusta.
So it's amazing, and it brings me back to ‑‑ I was talking to some of the members about it, and my family and I said it brings me back to my old times, when I was eight, nine years old, ten years old, and I got to meet Bernhard Langer and Seve and all those guys. And I remember the way I looked up to them. They were my idols. And I was like‑‑ for me as a nine‑ or ten‑year‑old, it was like a dream come true.
So it's such an honor and it feels so amazing to be on the other side now and be the one that is being looked up to. So it was a really cool moment.
Q. Last year I think Angela would have kind of notes of encouragement for you during this week and letters and everything. Is there anything she's doing this week do you think to kind of keep that positive reinforcement going like last year?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, of course. She gets to bring our beautiful Azalea to me every morning to make sure that I give her a kiss. That's more than enough.
Q. I'm just curious, what's the most challenging shot for you around here and how do you pull it off, what aiming point do you have, what club to you use?
SERGIO GARCIA: Probably the 10th tee shot. It's one of the toughest ones for me because you have to turn it quite a bit, but you still have to make sure that it doesn't turn too quickly, because those trees come in quite a lot.
So it's probably one of the tee shots that I‑‑ it challenges me the most, but I'm excited to kind of work on it a little bit. I have a good idea of what I want to do, depending upon the wind. I might go from hitting driver to maybe hitting 5‑wood, depending upon how the course is playing and everything. So we'll see.
THE MODERATOR: Sergio, thank you very much.
SERGIO GARCIA: Thank you.
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