May 16, 2018
SHARON SHIN: All right. I'd like to get started. Please help me welcome the two-time past champion of the AT&T Byron Nelson, Sergio Garcia.
Sergio, you're making your 14th start here at this event and you got to play the new venue today.
How was it out on the course?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah. Good morning everyone.
It was fun to get a look at the new course, Trinity Forest. Obviously very different from Las Colinas. The course looks great. It is in great shape. Gives you a good amount of room on the tees. Greens are big but, you know, depending where they put the pins they can be like small areas so I think it's going to be -- it's still going to be tricky.
Obviously it all depends on weather conditions and doesn't look like the wind is going to blow too much so that probably make the course play a little bit easier than it is supposed to.
Other than that, it looks nice.
SHARON SHIN: Having won this event two times before, you must have a lot of confidence going into this week. How special is this tournament to you?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, it is, it's very, very special. Like you said, to be able to be a two-time winner of the Byron Nelson, it's very special, such a big event and I've been fortunate to do well here so it is a new venue so, hopefully I'll be able to keep that trend.
SHARON SHIN: We'll open it up for questions.
Q. Sergio, you grew up in Europe where sports gambling is commonplace there, bookmaker shops on every street corner. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that sports betting is legal here in America, how do you see that impacting the PGA TOUR?
Do you think we'll see like you see in Europe, will we see sports books at different events like they had at the Ryder Cup over there and things like that?
SERGIO GARCIA: I didn't quite --
Q. Now they legalized sports betting yesterday.
SERGIO GARCIA: I didn't know that.
Q. You see that a lot of in Europe. Do you think we'll see what you see in Europe where they have sports books set-up at the Ryder Cup and stuff like that?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I think I mean I've never been a betting man so I'm probably not the right guy to ask but I think sports betting has been around for a long time. Obviously here in the U.S. like you said, it wasn't legalized but there was still betting out there in the crowd every week, I guess, but I don't think it makes a difference at the end of the day because, you know, the only thing we can do is do our best, play the best we can and, you know, whatever happens outside of that, we can't control.
Q. Do you think that it will take a big part of the European culture, guys putting bets on whatever, Ryder Cup or whoever it is, will it take awhile for that to become ingrained in the American culture?
SERGIO GARCIA: I have no idea. I wish I could answer you but I mean you're asking the wrong guy. Sorry.
Q. Sergio, if I understand correctly you played nine holes today. Have you also played the other nine holes?
SERGIO GARCIA: I played yesterday, yeah.
Q. Was there one or two holes or any nuances about the course that really jumped out to you?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I think there's several, several nice holes that I enjoyed. I think the 7th is a really nice par 5. The 8th is a cute little par 3, I love those little 130, 140-yard par-3s that still tricky. If you hit a good shot, you'll make birdie. But if you don't, you can struggle to make par.
So, that was -- those were nice. There's a couple long holes on the back-9 that we didn't see on the front, 11, I think 11, 13, 18, obviously are long par-4s but also mixed in with some shorter par-4s.
I think 5, it is I think it is, is it -- 1, 2, 3 -- yeah, 5 the short par 4, that could be fun, too. So, there's a good mix of different options out there.
Q. Sergio, two questions. First one is about this golf course and the way it's playing and your -- you're a fan of links golf I know and played very well on many links.
How does this compare to the true links of the United Kingdom that you've played in?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, it is different. There's no doubt about it. It is -- it's bigger obviously, like everything here in the U.S., the greens are bigger, the fairways are bigger but it's the closest you can get to a links course.
So, it's an American links course. I think that if the weather is good it can play -- it can play quite fast, which is probably the way it's meant to play and, like I said earlier, with a little bit of wind and the course drying up it could be tricky because a lot of those -- you know, a lot of those bunkers that don't seem to be in play right now, they will come into play and a lot of the areas on those greens that seemed easy to get to will become a little bit tougher with the humps and everything.
We'll see how it plays as the week goes on.
Q. Have asked Ben Crenshaw, now that you've known him a little bit more, did you ask him for any insights or thoughts on this golf course?
SERGIO GARCIA: I mean we did talk about it a few weeks ago, he was mentioning it to me. He was curious to see what I thought about it and he thought it looked nice. I agree with that. It is a good looking course.
It's very different from where -- from what we played when we used to -- where we used to play the Byron Nelson at and pretty much where we play week-in and week-out.
We do see like Erin Hills or you know, maybe Chambers Bay, something similar looking to this. But it is fun to experience it and see how -- see how it plays through the week and see how it develops as it settles down and stuff.
Q. Sergio, Justin Thomas announced yesterday he's going to play the French Open. I wonder about your reaction.
SERGIO GARCIA: I can't really hear you, sorry.
Q. Justin Thomas said yesterday he was going to play the French Open. I wonder what your reaction was to that and some of the top Americans adding a European Tour start with a chance to get a Ryder Cup --
SERGIO GARCIA: I didn't know about it but yeah, I can tell him that it's a great golf course, top golf course. I'm sure he's going to like it. It's right up his alley.
So, yeah, I think it's smart for him to get a look at it. Hopefully he enjoys it.
Q. Sergio, you've played in Dallas Forth-Worth a lot. What are you going to say to the folks in this region who struggle early on this week to recognize you with this new bearded look?
SERGIO GARCIA: I've had it before so it's not like -- I probably haven't grown it this much but I had a little trim last week. So, no way. They'll manage, hopefully. If not, they can look at the bag, the name is there.
Q. Sergio, how do you go about preparing to play a course that you don't have much experience with or a new course?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, at the end of the day, it comes down to the same thing every week, hitting good, committed shots to the spots you want to hit it to. I think that it is nice to at least get a look, one solid look at it to see some of the green contours and some of the different pin positions and some of the places that you really want to make sure you are or you get the ball to.
But, at the end of the day it comes down to executing, you know, good, solid shots and we'll see what happens then.
SHARON SHIN: We'll take two more questions.
Q. Sergio, do you have any idea what it might take to win here?
SERGIO GARCIA: Can you put the mic closer to your mouth? We can't hear you back here between the air conditioning and offering it's --
Q. Do you have any feel yet for what it might take to win here in terms of targeting the score or maybe a range, do you feel it might be low scores or high or what's your take?
SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. Jordan and I were talking about it a couple weeks ago and talking about it today on the range and I mean you get the feel that there's not much wind. Obviously this course is made for wind, there's no trees.
So there's nothing to stop that wind if it comes. It doesn't look like the golf course will be too windy, it's going to be fairly comfortable so because of that, I mean there's a lot of great golfers out there and they all know how to make birdies.
So, I would expect the wind is going to be probably in the mid teens to high teens, something like that. If the wind comes up a little bit then it probably can change a little bit and get more in the lower teens or even, you know, blow 10-under.
But it all depends on the weather.
SHARON SHIN: Thank you, Sergio, for your time. Good luck this week.
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