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THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP

March 25, 2006

Sergio Garcia

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Sergio Garcia, thank you for joining us here in the pressroom at THE PLAYERS Championship. Three rounds are finished, you're in excellent position heading into tomorrow. Maybe talk about your day today in some really tough conditions.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, it was definitely not easy out there, but I felt like I played really well. I felt like I hit a lot of good drives, a lot of good iron shots, and I really could have got it going there on 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, on 13; I guess I had very good birdie chances there, I unfortunately only made a couple of them.

But then, I don't know, unfortunately something happened on 13 and I misread my first putt and then I don't know why I just couldn't get focused on the second and hit a bad putt. And that probably cost me the bogey on the next. But thankfully I made a great up and down on 15. That got me going again.

I played 16 really nicely with two really good shots.

And I played 17 and 18 just very well. Unfortunately I just couldn't make any of the birdie putts. But I'm happy with it.

Q. Are you in the second to last group tomorrow? Does it matter whether you're in the last group or second to last?

SERGIO GARCIA: I wouldn't say so, no. At the end of the day you've still got to go out there and try to play the best you can. No, it doesn't. I would love to play with Vijay again, because he's a good friend of mine. But Mike is a good friend of mine, too. I'm looking forward to playing with him and hopefully put another good round like I did today.

Q. Could you just talk about your putting this week? I know you've gone to the cross hand style and you've made all kinds of changes with the putting. But this week looks like you've been pretty steady. I know you missed chances today but you avoided until 13 today, you avoided the three putt all week?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah. I started about two and a half weeks ago back home and probably just trying to get out of the routine. I wasn't having a good feeling the way I was putting. I was talking to my father and we decided to we've got to change something to kind of start over. And we went to cross hand and I practiced it for a little bit and it felt pretty good. I putted very well last week, the first couple of rounds. The last couple of rounds I felt like I putted well, I didn't really hole many putts.

But this week I've been making some nice putts at the right moment, too, and that's really what you want. Unfortunately today, well, I mean I had a chance on 8, after I made a great putt on 7 and then I great birdie on 8.

On 9 I had a great chance and unfortunately misread that.

And on 10 I hit I felt like I hit a good putt and unfortunately it didn't go in. But then made a nice birdie on the next.

And I think 15 was huge, kind of took me out of the mentality, the frame of mind that I was going on with the three putt, and it got me going again.

And I played 16 very nicely. I don't know how the 7 iron spun so much, but still managed to make a nice birdie.

17 and 18, I don't think you can play them much better than I did, unfortunately there were two pars. But two pars on those two holes are never bad.

Q. The first time you played this tournament you had a pretty rough day, if you recall. Are you more patient on this course just because you're a little bit older than that or have you had to learn that patience is what counts the most out here?

SERGIO GARCIA: I think a little bit of everything. I'm definitely a lot more patient. You could see today even when I made those two bogeys, because I was cruising. I was 3 under, and it was a pretty simple 3 under. I wasn't having too much trouble out there.

And I made those two bogeys and I wasn't happy, I'm not going to lie to you, I wasn't happy at all, but I was calm. And I knew that I was playing well and I was trying to get back to where I was all day long, and I guess those things help. Probably I have more trust in myself and my swing than I ever had before and that also helps. And knowing that I can make some putts also helps, too, because I know that not every shot has to be spot on. I can roll a 15 or 20 footer once in a while; I don't have to hit to three feet all the time.

Q. Is it your pattern when you start making putts it takes some pressure off, and all of a sudden you start hitting your iron shots closer? Does that happen to you a lot?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. I guess I've always felt like I'm a pretty good iron player. I've always felt even when I've struggled with my putting, I felt like I had rounds where I've hit it really, really close in a lot of holes. But I guess when you're putting well, it does ease you up a little bit. It makes it easier to kind of free swing it and not worry so much about it. You know that maybe if you even miss the green you're probably going to get up and down and you don't care so much.

Q. Had you ever tried left hand low before?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, I have.

Q. In competition?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, I have, probably about three or four years ago.

Q. Do you feel more confidence the way you're rolling it with left hand low

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes.

Q. Better feel walking onto the green?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, I feel like my speed is better, and that's huge. And it just feels a bit more consistent. It's all a matter of trusting, believing in yourself and making sure of breathing the right way and staying nice and calm over the putts. And I've been working on all those things and it feels definitely much better than it has for a while.

Q. What would winning this tournament mean to you?

SERGIO GARCIA: I'll tell you tomorrow if I win. I have to win first.

Q. When you tried the left hand low a few years ago, how long did you try it and what made you switch back?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. I'm sorry, but I can't remember.

Q. There were a lot of disasters out there because of the wind and the rough and the water. Can you discuss how dangerous the course was playing today?

SERGIO GARCIA: It was playing dangerous. I could still feel it, even though I was playing really well and I really wasn't in much trouble all day long. But you could see that a bad shot at the wrong time, it could cost a lot. And it was really it was difficult mainly because the wind was hard but it was gusting a little bit, too, so it wasn't real easy to pull the right clubs and things like that.

But I love it. I think this course right now is testing us and that's the way it should be. That's the way you become a better player, when you play on tough conditions, no matter what. Even if you shoot whatever, 80 or whatever. So I think that that's the way I've always loved playing golf. No matter what happens tomorrow I'll still go out there and try to play the best I can.

Q. Did you notice the leaderboards, the names didn't move so much as the names just disappeared, the names just fell off? Did you notice that at all day?

SERGIO GARCIA: On the 12th green when I looked at the score on the leaderboard, and I saw that guys that started fairly well, Adam, Greg Owen, John Rollins, some of the guys that were, Arron Oberholser that was up there for a while, I felt all of a sudden they were gone, and that's what can happen on this course. You think you have it under control and you don't have to hit that bad a shot to get in a lot of trouble on those last holes. So I think it always keeps you on your toes, so that's good.

Q. A lot of players a lot older than yourself have gone through periods in their 20s or early 30s or whatever, waiting to get that big win in that signature event. Out there you said it wouldn't be the end of the world if you didn't win tomorrow. How much is it would it be kind of a burden off your shoulders to kind of get that so called signature win, whether it's here or Augusta or wherever?

SERGIO GARCIA: Tell you the truth, of course it would be great. It would be great, and this is what we play for, to try to win PLAYERS Championships and majors and stuff like that. But every single win that I have under my belt feels like it's been a great win. And it might not be a major yet, but I feel like I've learned from every single one of them and none of them have been easy.

So no matter what you may think, winning is not as easy as it might look. You always learn something from those. So it will be nice to, as you said, get what you can call a big win, but I think that all of them are very meaningful.

Q. Somebody asked you a question out there that quoted you as saying that you felt yesterday you played like crap. And I was a little perplexed by that because you got a 68 in an afternoon round

SERGIO GARCIA: On Thursday.

Q. Okay.

SERGIO GARCIA: For my standings Thursday I played like

Q. 68 is

SERGIO GARCIA: No, yesterday I said that the first three holes I didn't play that great, but from the third hole on I played very nicely on tough conditions.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Sergio, thanks.

End of FastScripts.

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