January 23, 2019
BRIONY CARLYON: Thank you, everyone. Delighted to be joined by Sergio Garc√≠a here at the OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic.
Welcome back, a past winner here only a few years ago. You must have some great memories of this course and of playing in Dubai over the last few years.
SERGIO GARC√ćA: Yeah, definitely. Obviously we won a couple years ago, started off a great year. Excited to be back and just hoping to go out there and play well, have a solid week and see if we can have another shot at that beautiful trophy.
BRIONY CARLYON: You've come into this year now, it's your first European Tour event of the year, but last year, if we look back from Portugal, you haven't finished outside of the Top-10. You've won in Valderrama and finished runner-up, and we'll throw a Ryder Cup in there, as well. How is the game feeling coming into this week?
SERGIO GARC√ćA: It feels good. I played last week in Singapore. It was pretty good for the most part, a couple things here and there obviously a little bit rusty but other than that it was a nice week. We finished tied seventh. It was a good start of the year.
Now, bigger things come around, and you have to keep the momentum going and that's what we're going to try to do.
Q. The last six tournaments now, you've been in the Top-10, are you happy you're playing so well or frustrated you haven't won --
SERGIO GARC√ćA: Well, I won in Valderrama. At the end of the day, the way I've always looked at it, you can't get victories without being up there and finishing in the Top-10 or anything like that. You know, if you're fighting to finish 25th, you don't have a chance of winning.
So winning has become tougher and tougher as the years went by, all the kids are much better now than they used to be, and you know, it doesn't make it easier. At the end of the day, the only thing I can do is give myself the best chance and try to play the best way possible and the best way that I know. You know, if I'm around the Top-10 and I have my chances of winning, and if it happens, great, and if not, it's still a great week.
Q. When you look back on last year, the tail end of last year, was there a particular moment that you felt things turned around, a phone call or something like that, that got you out of the slump and got you on this great run of form?
SERGIO GARC√ćA: With the Greensboro I felt like I already played much better. I felt like things were starting to turn, and then obviously being a part of The Ryder Cup Team was obviously a little extra boost, and then I played great in Portugal where I didn't really make anything and still finished I think sixth or something like that.
Then had a great Ryder Cup, and then, you know, all the tournaments were at a good level, Valderrama, obviously Sun City, Dubai, Hong Kong, I felt like I was playing at a nice level and that's why we got all those Top-10s.
We've just got to try to keep going the same line and same momentum.
Q. Just about ten odd weeks until the Masters. Now all these majors being bunched up together in four months, how do you prepare for that at the start of the year?
SERGIO GARC√ćA: Well, you don't really prepare any differently. You obviously try to be at the best level you can be come April. Like you said, we have April, May, June, July, all the majors within four months. The only thing you can do is try to be at the best level you can be on those four months. It's not easy to do, but you know, hopefully we'll be able to do it. I guess now with the schedule being a bit more bunched up, we're all going to get a little bit more play when it comes to those months.
If you get in a good rhythm, it could be really, really good to have some solid chances there on not only the majors, but some of the other tournaments, too.
Q. Do you like the fact that there are four majors in four months? Obviously if somebody gets in a good run -- or if somebody isn't, it's going to mess up three or four majors?
SERGIO GARC√ćA: Well, it is what it is. At the end of the day, if you have a couple bad weeks, you have to find a way to get over them and get going again. I actually don't mind that they are kind of close together because it makes it exciting for everyone, and you don't have to wait too long for the next major.
I think not only for us, but for the crowds and the fans and stuff, it's going to be exciting because they know as soon as Augusta finishes, they know there's another one coming and the next month, they don't have to wait two months until the U.S. Open.
Q. Obviously spending the beginning part of this year, seeing the new rules, the opinions are quite divided. What are your thoughts on the new rules that have been brought in?
SERGIO GARC√ćA: I've always said that whatever helps our game of golf, it's good. I think that obviously a lot of them are going to help the amateurs and stuff. Obviously it's going to help us a little bit.
There's some things that you just have to get used to it because automatically, like the first thing when you take a drop, you're going to go shoulder-high. So you have to kind of pay attention to a few things here and there.
I think that the only bad thing about it, I would say, is that you're going to get a lot more rulings to make sure that like some guys, making sure they don't take the wrong drops or anything like that. That might slow down things a little bit until everybody kind of gets with the flow of them and then it becomes automatic to know.
Q. What's your thoughts on how you're going to putt, with the pin in or with the pin out?
SERGIO GARC√ćA: It depends. I think from long range, I will use the pin in because I think it's nice, it gives you a little bit better view of the hole, and also, you don't have your caddie or someone's caddie like walking around the hole, so that kind of helps.
When it comes down to things inside 30, 35 feet for me, it's going to be pin out every single time.
Q. This is your first European Tour event since P√°draig was named as captain. Can you give us your thoughts on that, and also, has his involvement as a vice captain in the last two or three sort of helped any issues you two have had in the past?
SERGIO GARC√ćA: We don't have any issues anymore. You guys keep bringing these things. We're totally fine, and we've been fine for a lot of years now, so I think you guys should kind of stop that.
At the end of the day, I think that we're all a team and I'm sure that P√°draig is going to be a great captain and I hope that I'll be a player on his roster and I'm going to play as hard as I can like I always do for Europe.
You know, there's nothing else over there.
Q. What do you think he'll bring as captain?
SERGIO GARC√ćA: Well, he's going to bring a lot of experience. He's been a great player for many years and he's been a part of many Ryder Cup teams. So I think he's going to bring a lot of good experience. I don't know exactly some of his ideas. You know, every captain brings a little extra thing, little different things from himself, and I'm sure that P√°draig will have a couple aces up his sleeve to make sure that the team is well prepared and fired up to retain that Cup.
Q. You've obviously had success here. What is it about the Majelis Golf Course that suits your game and can you talk about the setup?
SERGIO GARC√ćA: Yeah, I've always liked this golf course. You know, funny enough, until two years ago, I always felt like I played better than I probably scored or finished. Obviously two years ago, it was really fun and great to get that victory here finally.
I think it's a solid golf course. It's the kind of golf course that if you drive it well, it gives you opportunities to make birdies.
I mean, I would love it to play a little bit tougher, but you can't really do that anymore -- it's the kind of golf course, like I was saying, if you drive it very well, you can score very well. But if you're off of the tee, you're not going to do well and it can be quite tricky.
It's the kind of golf course, like I said, that if I'm swinging it well and have confidence, I always feel like I can do well.
Q. Have you got the Epic Flash in the bag and what's your feedback on how it compared to the previous driver?
SERGIO GARC√ćA: Yeah, I do. I do have it. I played it last week for the first time. I really like it a lot, the look of it. I love the playability that it's given me, the way the ball is coming out a little bit faster, the combination of driver and the new ball for me, Callaway.
I'm excited about it. I enjoy the way I hit it last week and just hope to keep going the same direction.
Q. You're one of the finest shot-makers in the last couple of decades, but why was this golf course a little difficult for you before you won? Because this golf course, everyone says that it's a shot-maker's golf course and you just have to shape your shot well. Why did you find it difficult before breaking through?
SERGIO GARC√ćA: I don't know it was funny, it was one of those things where I felt like I had a lot of weeks where I played well and I had a couple of weeks where I was up there, and a little bit of an injury and it would kind of take a toll on a weekend, or a couple -- not the most fortunate breaks here and there when I was up there with a chance at winning before. So it's just one of those things that it just kind of happened.
The good thing is that a couple years ago, we were able to turn it around and get a nice victory here, and hopefully we can do that again.
BRIONY CARLYON: All the best this week.
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