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June 8, 2005

Sergio Garcia


THE MODERATOR: We thank Sergio Garcia for stopping in for the pretournament here at the 2005 Booz Allen Classic. Sergio, your first visit to the tournament. Some comments on the new course here this year at Congressional.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, first visit to Congressional, too. You know, I got the pleasure of playing yesterday 9 and today 18. What a Back 9 we have here. It's amazing. The Front 9 is good, too, but it's a bit easier. And definitely I think that the place to score is going to be the Front 9. The Back 9, you're going to have to hit a lot of fairways.

Great course, looking forward to it. We'll see how it looks this week.

THE MODERATOR: Talk about your season. Four Top 10s this year, including being in contention at The Wachovia Championships. Haven't been able to punch through for the win yet this year though. Talk about your feelings on how the season is going for you.

SERGIO GARCIA: It's okay, you know. It's a little bit slow. But, as you said, I had one really good chance of winning there at Wachovia. I felt like I played well enough to win, but unfortunately I didn't. But I feel like, you know, I've played well enough to contend and have some really good chances of winning. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to score as well as I've played.

You know, it looks like I'm finally starting to get it a little bit. Looks like my short game is starting to come around. I just got to keep, you know, giving myself chances, and we'll be in good shape.

THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions.

Q. You played quite well on a traditional golf courses, Westchester, Quail Hollow this year, courses where people don't tend to shoot 28 under to win, courses where you have to put it into play. This course obviously fits that mould, being a traditional venue. Is this the kind of place that sets up well for your game?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, definitely. I mean, you never know how it's going to go, but I definitely feel comfortable on the course. It's a shame that the course is a bit wet with that huge thunderstorm we had the other day. But, you know, weather doesn't look great either. So it's a shame that it's not going to be playing fast and firm. It would be awesome to see this course playing that way.

But it's still a very nice golf course. You still have to drive the ball well. There's a bit of rough out there, so if you keep missing fairways, you can have a little bit of trouble.

I like the way they set it up. You know, there's a mix of some reasonable some wide fairways and some pretty tight ones. So I think that it's a great mix and should turn out to be a nice event.

Q. This field, so many big names here, historic country club, this has more of a feel than a normal PGA TOUR event, I'm sure, does it or doesn't it?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, but I don't know. I think, you know, we always talk about these things. I think that every tournament deserves credit, and every player deserves respect. And I think that, you know, there's a lot of guys out there that maybe are not in the Top 10 in the world, but still can play the game of golf very nicely. So you got to respect that.

There's a lot of good players out there. Anybody can win on any week, any given week. So, you know, this week we're fortunate to have a really nice golf course, a nice sponsor with Booz Allen that is helping the tournament get bigger, and, you know, we've managed to get some nice players.

But, you know, I think every tournament has pretty much got a good feel every week.

Q. With the massive equipment changes over the last 10 years or so, obviously the positive is that that will extend your career. The negative may be for a younger guy, it's become a little harder, for an older guy a little easier. It's kept some of the older guys around longer maybe, made it tougher to break through and really collect a pile of victories. Maybe tougher than it would have been 15 years ago?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, I wouldn't say so. I think that technology's helped everybody. But I think we've tried to help ourselves, too, you know, just like taking better care of ourselves, becoming a bit more athletic.

But at the end of the day, you still have to be able to go out there and put the ball in play, make the putts. If you don't do that, it doesn't matter how much technology you have. You know, it's all about making putting the ball in the hole. You know, they haven't come out with anything that allows you to do that every time.

Q. The Memorial last week, it's a tournament you normally played at. This is the first time you've been to this tournament. What particularly was the draw to this tournament, and compare that to some of the European PGA TOURs that you've been on?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, unfortunately, yeah, I've always enjoyed playing at Jack's place at Memorial. I usually never play more than three in a row. As you guys know, I'm defending the Barclay's at Westchester, and I wanted to play here. I heard really good things about the course. I remember watching '97, and I wanted to come and play Congressional. I thought it was a good opportunity to play a course with so much history and such a good view from everybody. I didn't want to take a chance of missing this week.

Q. Speaking of Jack and the Memorial, do you regret missing last weekend, concerning that was kind of Jack's good bye in the US, saying he's not going to compete in competitive golf any more? He's going to play The Open later on this summer, but feels like the Memorial is going to be his last US tournament. Do you kind of regret not being there?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, I don't regret it. You know, of course, I would have loved to have played it. But, unfortunately, sometimes things don't fit in the schedule. And I talked to Jack quite a while ago when I knew I wasn't going to be able to play it. And he was very thankful for me calling and saying and I gave him the reasons that I couldn't, I wasn't going to be able to play. You know, it was nice to see that he understood.

I mean, he's been in that position and he knows what's going on. And he knows I love playing Memorial. He knows that I love Muirfield Village. But, unfortunately, this year it just didn't fit.

Q. The Booz Allen has been growing as an international golf tournament lately, with the international superstars coming here more and more. This year particularly I think we have the top eight world international stars of golf. What do you feel is drawing them to the Booz Allen Classic this year in particular?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I think that the course, to start with, is big on it. I think, as I said before, this is a chance of playing on a wonderful course with a lot of history, with a lot of US Opens on it. I think any time you have the chance of playing a high quality golf course like this, you want to try to fit it in as well as possible.

But I think the timing is also all right. You know, the timing fits nicely with US Open coming up next week, you know, playing kind of like three US Open courses in a row, with this week, next week and Westchester. It should be fun to get on this little stretch.

Q. I guess you have quite a bit of criticism directed at you from seems like Thomas Bjorn and some other folks on the European Tour for not playing the BMW.

SERGIO GARCIA: I didn't know this. News to me.

Q. Being a guy from Europe, it must have been hard to make the decision; in order to play your best golf, you have to come over here all the time in order to give yourself the best chance to be among the top five players in the world. Is that hard leaving Europe?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, no, no. I haven't left Europe. I play my 11 events in Europe, and I keep my card every year. Unfortunately, there's other reasons why, you know, I'm not able to play like BMW, PGA and things like that. But I'm not worried about it. You know, I do whatever I think is going to help me the most and, you know, trying to do the best thing possible.

But you're never going to keep everybody happy. I do keep my card in Europe every year, so that doesn't change.

Q. Speaking of The Open next week, what is your gut telling you? Right now you're currently ranked like 158 in putting average, but you're second in greens and regulations. Your ball striking obviously is pretty spectacular right now. What is your gut going into Pinehurst?

SERGIO GARCIA: I'm looking forward to it, there's no doubt about it. You know, I just said like I feel like I'm hitting the ball well and I feel like my putting is starting to come around.

You've got to realize, too, you know, the more greens you hit, the tougher it is to be out there on that ranking because, you know, if you have 14 or 15 chances of birdie a round, instead of having 10 or 9 like some of the other guys do, well, it's probably going to be tougher to make more putts than they do.

But I feel like it's getting there. I feel like, you know, it's been improving slowly for the past month or so. I've had weeks or days where I felt like I putted pretty nicely and then days where I didn't putt it too well. But, you know, I just got to keep working on it. It's just a matter of hard work and keep believing in myself.

So should be okay.

Q. Have you played Pinehurst?

SERGIO GARCIA: I haven't actually. But I heard about it, yeah. Not many people is going to be hitting 14 or 15 greens every day.

Q. Given the fact that you have had as much success as you have by 25, is it sometimes frustrating to hear people criticize the fact that you haven't broken through and won a major yet, that sort of thing?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, I really doesn't really bother me at all. I know what I'm capable of doing. I know what my limits are. I'm not worried about it at the moment. I know that I'm going to have chances. Sometimes, you know, you have to I mean, you have to play well on any tournament to win. But even more in majors, you have to get a little bit lucky. You know, having a couple good breaks at the right time, it can make a huge difference.

So I'm just waiting for that moment, just keep putting myself in a good position to try to win. And if it comes through, it's fine. If not, I'll just keep waiting for it. But not really too worried about it at the moment.

Q. Any more pressure from home because Rafael Nadal won the French?

SERGIO GARCIA: No. He plays tennis; I play golf.

Q. Winning a major, though.

SERGIO GARCIA: Not really. I'm happy for him. I actually know him. He's a friend of mine. I was thrilled watching him play all week long, how well he's been playing. I'm really happy. I call him, I leave him a message. He's actually a bit of a golfer, too. I'm just hoping to kind of do a little bit of what he's been doing.

But I don't know, I guess in tennis it's a bit different because, you know, you have a preferred surface that you can perform better. We're Spanish, we perform better on clay than other surfaces. But he's been doing great, and I'm really happy for it.

Q. I imagine you like grass?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, my surface, yeah (laughter).

Q. What is the better warm up music for you, Eminem or 50 Cent?

SERGIO GARCIA: Oh, I don't know. They're both good. They're not I wouldn't say they're my favorites, but I've always enjoyed listening to maybe two or three of their songs. But I'm more, I don't know, rock kind of guy, pop kind of guy.

THE MODERATOR: All right. Thank you, Sergio.


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