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U.S. AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP

August 28, 1998

Sergio Garcia

ROCHESTER, NEW YORK

BRETT AVERY: We start with a couple of general comments. First --

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, bottom line, like I'm sure he said, it was an exciting match. I probably like I said before, one of my best matches I've ever played, and I played with a great opponent, and with a great guy. I think we are very good friends. And I enjoyed it a lot. I think he also enjoyed it, but I think it was so great. It was unbelievable.

BRETT AVERY: Let's go through the card quickly. You birdied the 2nd hole to go one up.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I hit a good iron to middle of the fairway. Then I had a good wedge, just a little left, but it was on the green about, I don't know, 10, 12 feet, and I made it. And I turned to one under. You want to say the hole and then I explain it?

BRETT AVERY: Yes.

SERGIO GARCIA: All right. He chipped on 4 to go back to all square. That was a great hole. I hit a good drive, but just a little too much right. He had a very good 3-wood to the middle of the fairway, then we both laid up pretty well. I hit a sand wedge from there. I got 102 yards, and just hit -- three-quarters of a sand wedge, and the ball kicked the green and went over it. So he hit it -- I think he hit it a little fat, and he made an incredible bunker shot from there, and I just tried to hold the chip, it was rob probably too difficult.

BRETT AVERY: 5th hole.

SERGIO GARCIA: That was a nice half. (Laughter.) Well, we were playing quite well, both, the hole. We hit good drivers, and pretty good irons to the green, just a little right, both. And we didn't hit very good putts. We were almost the same, same distance to the hole, and I just said to him, do you want to half? And he said all right. And we just went to the next hole.

Q. What was your thinking on that, why did you -- why?

SERGIO GARCIA: Why? Well, we got a pretty similar putt. I know he's a good putter. I was putting quite well, also. But I prefer his putt than mine (laughter.) And mine there was a little break left and right, and I didn't like it too much.

Q. If he would have done the same thing to you, would you have taken it or would you have wanted to putt out?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know, you have to be there. You have to feel it. I don't know.

Q. Have you ever done that before?

SERGIO GARCIA: What?

Q. Have you ever done that before?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, lots of time. Yeah, at the British, we gave some halves, also. And yeah, because I think sometimes it's good for both. You get some pressure out of you, and I think it is good.

BRETT AVERY: 7th hole he birdies to go one up.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, he hit a very good -- I don't know what iron he hit, but a great shot from the rough. And then on the green I hit a great putt. I thought I got it in, and missed by nothing, and he made an incredible putt. When he hit that putt, I knew it was going in, just after he hit it I knew it was going in.

BRETT AVERY: And the next hole you made a nice save for par on 8.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, that was a good hole also. I hit a very good drive. I hit a bad iron, I hit a little fat, and just before the green, I didn't chip in well, but I made a good putt. And he also made a good one to halve the hole.

BRETT AVERY: 10 and 11 you missed short putts.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I played quite well those holes. I hit a very good wedge on the 10th. I hit a good putt, but it just didn't break, and then on 11 I hit a very good 6-iron after his 5-iron, I think it was. And I hit a great putt, and just lipped it out. But then he missed it, and so it was okay.

BRETT AVERY: A conceded birdie on 12, to go all square.

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, that was a good hole for me, because I was one down, and he hit a bad 3-wood to the left, and just hit a 3-iron to the fairway and a pretty good wedge about, I don't know, 8 feet from there, from the hole. And he tried to hit a good shot and he made it, but just -- he just took the branches off of the last tree, and then he got a very difficult shot from there. He tried to tip it in for four, and he missed it and just gave me the hole.

BRETT AVERY: Describe the third shot on 13, please.

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, that was a good one, but I have to tell you that the second one, it wasn't as bad as it looked like. I mean the ball -- I hit it quite well. I thought it was a good 3-wood, and the ball just did something strange to the right, and I was a little surprised by it. After that I got 140 yards to the pin and had to hit it a little long with an 8-iron. I had to make my backswing a little flatter, and I just make it and tried to hit it to the green, just hit it before the green, and I made it.

Q. Did your club hit the branch on the follow through?

SERGIO GARCIA: On the first one, yeah. I made the swing and hit the branch and I just stopped it. And then I knew that I had to make it flatter.

Q. Did you ever think in that situation what would Seve do, here?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, no, no, because you don't have time to think of those things when you're playing there.

Q. How close did you hit it there?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know, I was 40 feet from the pin, just short of the green. 8-iron.

BRETT AVERY: 14, made birdie to go one up.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, that was a very good hole for me. We were -- my dad and me, we were speaking about hitting a 6-iron to the fairway or hitting the driver and had a good chance to make birdie. At least he told me, well, just -- if you hit a driver, I think you've got a pretty good chance. So I hit it, and I hit it quite well, just hit it on the rough. But then from there I made quite a good chip, and I made a good putt about, I don't know, five or six feet downhill.

BRETT AVERY: Good save at 15, but he made birdie.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I hit a -- well, the first shot wasn't that bad, but probably adrenaline or something, I just -- I got 178 to the pin and I just tried to hit three-quarters of a 7, and it was a little left, but I thought it's going to kick on the hill and maybe it's going to finish all right. But I just hit it over. So I hit a great shot there, and well, I knew I had to hole that chip, and I don't know why, but I knew he was going to make a putt.

BRETT AVERY: And birdied 16 to go one up.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, that was a good shot there on 16. It was in the right-hand side rough, and I got 137 to the pin. I took a wedge and I thought just hit it high to put it on the green, and to put it soft, because the pin was on the front right. I hit a pretty good wedge with a little fade and pretty high, and he had like, I don't know, 8 feet or something like that. But he had a better shot, and he put it like six feet. The best thing of that hole is that I think I got the chance to make the birdie first. I made it and I was putting some pressure on him. I thought he was going to make that one, because he was putting well. But he missed it and I said let's go to 17 and try to make another birdie or whatever.

BRETT AVERY: 17.

SERGIO GARCIA: And on 17 I just took the drive and hit it high and as long as you can. I hit a pretty good drive over the trees. After that he hit it left. He had a pretty difficult shot. He hit it quite well from there, but just on the bunker over the green, and I hit a pretty good 9-iron from 163 yards, I think, just a little right, but it was good enough.

Q. How was your lie and the wedge shot on 16 in the rough?

SERGIO GARCIA: It wasn't very good. It was like -- the ball was like laying a little down, but the good thing is that the grass was helping.

Q. You weren't concerned about that tree on the right, were you?

SERGIO GARCIA: On 16?

Q. Yes.

SERGIO GARCIA: No, because I was going to hit a little fade to kick soft on the green.

Q. Did you consider the tee shot, had you aimed at that point, every other day, on 17 or when you practiced or was that a gamble at all to take it that far right or not?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, I always hit it -- today I hit it a little different, because I hit it with draw, but I just hit it pretty straight on a little fade. But I was more comfortable hitting that shot with draw, and not with a little fade.

Q. I get the sense that you two guys are going to be doing this for the next 25 years at a lot of different levels for a lot of different kinds of hardware, do you get that same sense?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I think so. Like on the 17th green, I think maybe -- well, I hope we will play a Ryder Cup match like this one, whoever wins, but I think we will play.

Q. Did you notice him leading the applause as soon as he missed the putt?

SERGIO GARCIA: Can you repeat that?

Q. Did you notice him start to clap to lead the applause as soon as he missed the putt?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, I'm sure he missed that putt on 17, I was just -- I was thinking about the victory. I couldn't hear the crowd. I just went to him and say, great play. And after that I realized that all the crowd was around calling, and I just say, well, like thank you to them.

Q. Have you ever hit a driver on 14 before?

SERGIO GARCIA: No. No, but the guy I played on Wednesday, he gave me a good see of that hole hitting a driver. So I just got the feeling to hit it, so that's why I did it.

Q. Sergio, on 11 he hits it tight in there, 5, 6 feet. And you're on top of him 7, 8 feet. And you lipped your putt out. And he said that was probably the turning point in the match. Because if he made his putt, he was two up. Did you feel right there maybe a momentum swing happened right there?

SERGIO GARCIA: After what my ball did, and I was not very nice, but -- after that when he was there with the putter, I was thinking, if he makes this one, he's going to really tough to win him. But he missed it and then he hit a bad shot on the 12th, so I turned to all square and said, come on, you can do it, so keep going.

Q. Your matchplay record is 36-1. What was that one that you lost?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, that one was about a year and a half. It was in February of '97. It was the final of the King's Cup against Martin Lafeber, a Dutch guy, who had turned pro like 6 months ago. And -- well, I played really well there, also, but I missed a lot of putts and he was a great golfer and a great putter, and he just beat me 4 and 3.

End of FastScripts....

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