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September 26, 2018

Sergio Garcia

Guyancourt, France

STEVE TODD: Sergio, thanks for joining us.


STEVE TODD: Your ninth Ryder Cup. Give us your thoughts on the week ahead here in France.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, obviously very excited about it, to be here again, being a part of Team Europe. It's amazing. You know, the course looks great. The stands look unbelievable, the way it's supposed to be, very, very nice. A little chilly, but other than that, it looks like everything is set up for an amazing week for everyone to enjoy.

STEVE TODD: You guys played the course yesterday, and the first tee grandstand and everything looks set up to be an incredible atmosphere, as well.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, it definitely does. Those stands look massive. Excited to see them all the way up to the end, you know, filled up and cheering and everything. I think it could be one of the most exciting Ryder Cups ever, and you know, I'm just thankful to be a part of it and to be a part of Team Europe obviously.

Q. Having had to rely on a captain's pick, and all the debate around that, do you think you have a point to prove?
SERGIO GARCIA: I don't think so. I think that at the end of the day, the captain's picks, they are not easy for captains and vice captains, but they have their way of doing it and they know what they want to choose that can bring something extra to the team.

You know, I think that I've proved myself over and over, and the only thing I can do out there is when I get called upon playing, just do my best, do what I do, do what I've always done here at Ryder Cups, and that's everything.

You know, if we are able to do that and play well, then we'll have a good chance. If not, we'll have to fight really hard.

Q. Rory was in here just a moment ago, and he said that you were the heartbeat of the team and everybody loved you. Obviously your job is to get as many points as possible, but how do you see your role in other areas? Do you feel you have a special role?
SERGIO GARCIA: I think I do, yes. I think I do from experience, from the way I am, from the way I enjoy team events, the way I enjoy The Ryder Cup.

Yeah, I think that probably, to be totally honest, is one of the reasons why the vice captains and the captain decided to have me on the team, not only for what I can bring on the golf course, but what I can bring outside.

What I'm going to do is just do what I do best and try to make sure that everyone feels good, comfortable, happy, enjoying themselves, and if we can do that, then it's much easier for everyone to play their best game.

Q. The European Team's strength has always been its cohesion and camaraderie and whatnot. You always seem to be an advantage over the American side. Seems likes the Americans have caught up to that and figured that out a little bit. Have you noticed that? And if so, what's your assessment of kind of how they have --
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I mean, to be totally honest, I don't live on the other side. It may seem that they are doing a little bit better. I don't know exactly what goes on in their team room or what's happening, but I know what goes on in our team room, and for us, it's easy. It comes naturally. That's easier for us to do, I guess, and that's the only thing that we can do. Then we will go out there and play the best we can and make sure that we have a good shot at winning the Cup.

Q. Those qualities you talk about as a team, from what you bring to the group as a team player, can that transcend things like form coming into the tournament in a way that it might be harder to do as an individual?
SERGIO GARCIA: It might, yeah. I think that when sometimes -- the way I've always felt, I like to have someone around me. You know, that's one of the reasons why I've enjoyed foursomes and fourballs because I feel like it's nice to have someone around that you can put your arm around and kind of cheer yourself on.

Golf is such a lonely game throughout the whole year. Sometimes it's nice to have a friend next to you that is cheering for you, and not only one, but another ten behind that are doing the same thing. You know, that definitely feels like -- I feel like it probably helps me a little bit, yeah.

Q. Couple of quick things. Portugal Masters, when did you decide to play, and how pleased were you with your performance last week?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I obviously talked to Thomas and I told him that if he decided to pick me, that I would play Portugal to make sure that I didn't come into The Ryder Cup without playing four or five weeks. You know, as soon as he called me, then obviously it was a done deal.

Yeah, I was very pleased the way I played. I think that I played very, very nicely throughout the whole week, which was nice. I hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens. Felt like I putted nicely. Probably didn't hole-out as much as I would like to and that's why I didn't have a realistic shot at winning.

But you know, other than that, it felt like it was a very positive week.

Q. And just a comment on the yellow ribbon you're wearing for Celia front and centre this week. You knew her, I understand. A really sweet picture of the two of you was released. Have you spoken to her family?
SERGIO GARCIA: I haven't, unfortunately. Yeah, obviously it was very sad when we found out. My dad spoke to her uncle, and it was very sad when we found out on Tuesday morning in Portugal, for many reasons, not only because she was way too young, but she was just too nice of a person, and the way it happened.

Unfortunately these things happen in the world, and nowadays, more than ever. It's sad. But I guess the only thing we can do is pay a great tribute to her and make sure that her family feels proud of us, and I know they feel proud of her. It's sad but unfortunately it happened.

Q. Can you tell us your memories of Celia, and in a similar way to Medinah, Seve became such a symbol that drove The European Team on. Do you take an extra strength from wanting to do something for Celia?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, obviously we want to try to win the Cup for Europe, for everyone, for our teammates, but obviously with the passing of Celia, it's an extra effort there, if you want to say. We hope that we can play as well as we can to make sure that we can achieve that.

You know, we're obviously touched by it because, like I said earlier, it's disappointing to see something happen like that, to anyone, but to someone like her even more. You know, hopefully we can make sure that the family are proud of, like I said earlier, of what we are doing for her. I know they are; I haven't spoken to them, but some other people have spoken to them, and they told us that.

You know, it's all we can do.

Q. If the Americans were to pair Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson together, do you think that would be good for The Ryder Cup, and thinking back to 2004, could it be good for Europe, too?
SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know, to be totally honest. If we beat them, yeah, it would be good for us; if they beat us, it won't. It's as simple as that.

Is it good for Ryder Cup? I have no idea. I think that it doesn't matter who you pair with; whatever pairings you get, they are good for the game, they are good for The Ryder Cup and they are good for the show. That's not going to change no matter who is paired with. I'm sure they have their pairings and we have ours, and we'll see what happens.

Q. Curious about playing a Ryder Cup in Europe versus in the States. Is there a certain increased level of comfort or confidence when you guys play over here?
SERGIO GARCIA: For sure, the same way that I'm sure that they feel the same when we are playing the U.S. It's normal. You know, you play on your home turf, so you're going to feel a little bit more comfortable there. You have most of the crowd on your side, and you know, when we are playing the U.S., you have most of the crowd against you. It's the way it is.

But we've been on both sides and we know how it works. We've just got to make sure to enjoy every minute of it and hopefully give many things to cheer for.

Q. Are you surprised it's been so long since the U.S. has won over here?
SERGIO GARCIA: No. I mean, I think it just shows how well we've played. It's as simple as that. Am I surprised? No, because that's what we try to do. We try to win it.

You know, they are probably surprised, but that's our goal. So we are not, and we are hoping to make it even longer.

Q. Could you take us back to your early memories in a Ryder Cup with watching Seve and how inspired you were? Not sure if you were at '97 at Valderrama, but if you were there, talk to that, as well?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, unfortunately I wasn't. '95 I was at Oak Hill.

Yeah, it was amazing. Unfortunately I only watched like Seve's Ryder Cups, like the good ones, on TV. The one at Oak Hill, obviously he was towards the end of his good game. He was still an amazing fighter, though, as you can remember.

But yeah, it definitely was very inspiring. And I remember, '95, I loved The Ryder Cup, but '95 is really The Ryder Cup that kind of make me really fall in love head over heels with it. I remember being there. I remember seeing the atmosphere. I remember, I think I was only 15, I went to the International Pavilion and seeing people singing and the energy that was around was amazing.

And then to be able to see -- I was in the Junior Ryder Cup team, so to be able to immediate your idols and Seve in this case and say hi to them and talk to them for a bit, obviously I knew him from before, but to be able to see him at a Ryder Cup and spend some time with him was something amazing that I will never forget, and he's one of the reasons that I love this event so much.

Q. Was there any point in the last couple months where you had doubts about whether or not you would be sitting here this week?
SERGIO GARCIA: For sure, yeah, there's no doubt. You know, when things don't go exactly as you plan or as you want it, and you are playing a lot in the summer and you keep missing cuts by one; it feels like it's kind of getting a little farther away.

You still kind of see it, but it starts to get too far away, and you want it to come back. Obviously, yeah, there were thoughts, but at the same time, you know, I talked to Thomas, and I told him, I said, you know what, I want to be a part of the team. Obviously I'm not going to lie to you. But if you guys decide to not pick me, I'm going to be at home cheering as hard as if I was there. So it's not like I'm going to be like, oh, didn't pick me, I don't even want to watch it or I don't care. That doesn't change for me and that will never change.

But I'm definitely glad to be here and to be a part of it.

Q. That point you just made, Sergio, about enjoying having other people around in a lonely sport, does the pleasure come mainly from you inspiring them, or them inspiring you, or is it a bit of both?
SERGIO GARCIA: I think it's a bit of both. Obviously I get inspired by them, there's no doubt, and I think -- hopefully I inspire them and make them feel comfortable, make them enjoy it a little bit more. That's what I always try to do, and that's probably one of the reasons why I've been fairly successful with my partnerships in Ryder Cups, with many different ones. I don't know if I'm the one with the most different partners, but I'm probably close to it.

Fortunately for me and Europe, I've been able to do well with pretty much all of them, so that's always nice.

STEVE TODD: Thank you for joins us.

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