ASAP Sports Logo

WGC NEC INVITATIONAL

August 24, 1999

Sergio Garcia

AKRON, OHIO

GORDON SIMPSON: Welcome to Firestone Country Club, Sergio. It's been a phenomenal few weeks for you. Especially with the Ryder Cup, second in the PGA. Are you managing to cope with all this high-pressure golf?

SERGIO GARCIA: I've been playing pretty well these last weeks, and I'm really happy being on the Ryder Cup team. And I'm going to enjoy and see if I can play a good tournament here, and then hope we can win the Ryder Cup.

GORDON SIMPSON: Obviously you feel comfortable with your game at the moment, the way you've been playing?

SERGIO GARCIA: I'm feeling comfortable. I'm hitting the ball really well, and I'm really confident right now. More or less, everything is going the right way.

GORDON SIMPSON: And were you surprised at the reaction that shot received at the 16th hole? It's been shown all over the world, hasn't it?

SERGIO GARCIA: I think everybody saw it. But it was -- it was a good shot. But, you know, I didn't know it was going to be that good.

Q. With your performance, first in the British Open and then in the PGA, was it in your mind somewhere how this would affect your place in the Ryder Cup? Was Ryder Cup in your thoughts at all with either of those tournaments?

SERGIO GARCIA: Of course it was. I mean, I was thinking about making the Ryder Cup team. I just had to play well.

Q. Were you concerned after the British that you might not make it after that? At that point, you were no longer -- you would have -- you were out of the Top-10?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I was 12, I think, or 13, but I had the PGA.

Q. Were you that confident that you were going to play your way on at the PGA?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I was hope to go play well and to make the Ryder Cup team. I wasn't thinking I played bad at the British Open; so, that's all. I give up. That's not my way. I had a bad tournament and, that's all. But I played very well at the PGA, and I played well last week also; so, now I'm on the Ryder Cup team.

Q. The shot at Medinah, do you have a tape of it yourself?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, CBS Studios, they gave us a tape.

Q. How many times have you watched it?

SERGIO GARCIA: A couple of times, not too many.

Q. Mark has said he was going to give you the second wild-card place had you not made the Top-10. Had he discussed that with you at all?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, he had not told me anything.

GORDON SIMPSON: Have you spoken to him since you qualified?

SERGIO GARCIA: I spoke to him at the PGA, I think it was Wednesday or something like that. He just wish me good luck and told me if I was -- that he was hoping -- he was hoping me to make the Ryder Cup team.

Q. Were you surprised at how the crowd seemed to get behind you at Medinah? And since you were competing with Tiger, was that especially surprising?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, I was a little surprised, because the crowds were helping me a lot. And, you know, it was something really amazing, because there were -- they were wishing me to win, not Tiger. And it was something that I couldn't realize.

Q. Why do you think that was? Do you have any ideas?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know.

Q. Since Tiger has announced a new deal with Nike for quite a few dollars, will we see you signing any deals that will affect your status in the game?

SERGIO GARCIA: Not right now. I don't have anything in my mind.

Q. Any discussions or negotiations with new sponsors?

SERGIO GARCIA: That's something that my manager does, and I'm not into that business.

Q. Do you know about the Tiger deal?

SERGIO GARCIA: No.

Q. $80 to $90 million over the next five years from Nike.

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know.

Q. It's all been renegotiated. It was originally $40 million. It's now up to $90 million over the next five years.

SERGIO GARCIA: That's a lot of money.

GORDON SIMPSON: Do titles mean more to you than money then?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I just -- you know. Money is important, but I just want to play golf and enjoy myself and do what I like to do. Playing golf, figure do it well. I know that if I play well, I'm going to have enough money; so, I don't really care about that.

Q. Would you discuss your game compared to Seve's and Jose Maria's?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, my game, I'll say I'm maybe a little mixed. I hit the driver pretty well. I usually hit the driver pretty straight. And, you know, sometimes I hit some good recovery shots. So, probably, I'm half and half.

Q. Given the purse at this tournament and the field, how important -- or where would this rank up if you were to win this tournament? Would this be on par with winning a major? Where would this tournament rank up in there?

SERGIO GARCIA: For sure, it's a great tournament, and it's a regular field. It's a not a major, but it's almost one. You know, if I win, I'll be really happy. I won't have a major title, but almost.

Q. Are you going to manage to get to Brookline before the week?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, I'm hoping to go there probably the week before the Ryder Cup.

Q. For the whole week or just one day?

SERGIO GARCIA: No. Just two or three days.

Q. You seem to be really enjoying all the attention you're getting. Could you talk about that a little bit?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I'm really enjoying it. I'm having a lot of fun, and I'm playing pretty well. I'm just trying to be myself. If people like me, that's perfect. But I'm just trying to do my best, and I'm really enjoying it.

Q. What was it like in Colorado last week? Were the fans as loud as they were at the PGA?

SERGIO GARCIA: It was pretty good. They helped me a lot there. But just unlucky. I didn't play well the last round. It was pretty enjoyable. I played with David; we had a good game. The crowds were very good, also. Not as the PGA, but the PGA was something incredible. But they were really good there, also.

Q. How has life changed since the PGA? Do people recognize you more? Do you get more calls to go on TV shows?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, they recognize me more now. It hasn't changed too much. I'll just do whatever I -- whatever I was doing before, and, you know, I try to go to the movies sometimes. Try to -- just normal life. But people kind of recognize me a little more right now.

Q. Will it be no more hockey on Saturday nights?

SERGIO GARCIA: That's the thing I've been thinking of, and it made a big deal from nothing. I'm not saying I played bad because of the air hockey. I just have a little sore, but it didn't hurt me on my swing. I just played bad. And I don't know how you can realize that. I'm not going to play well every single round. I had a bad round, and that's all. I missed like, I don't know, four putts from six feet on the last round. So you miss those putts, you can't shoot a good round.

Q. You were asked about clothing and equipment endorsements. What about video game endorsements? Has anybody approached you about any of those?

SERGIO GARCIA: I just told you I'm not in that business. My manager knows what's happening there. If something is happening there, he will tell me. But he hasn't told me anything.

Q. Do you expect something to happen along those lines, given the popularity surge from the PGA? Do you expect something to happen from endorsement deals?

SERGIO GARCIA: Maybe, because I've been playing well. But I just don't know. I can't tell you because I don't really know right now.

GORDON SIMPSON: I take it you're aware of the course record here, are you?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes. 61, isn't it?

GORDON SIMPSON: Have you had the chance to play yet?

SERGIO GARCIA: No. I'm going to play today.

GORDON SIMPSON: So you'll find out maybe how good that is.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, but I heard this is really difficult to break the course record.

Q. Have you talked about the Ryder Cup with any of the Americans since the PGA speculation about you and Jose Maria teaming up, for instance?

SERGIO GARCIA: I spoke a little with Jose Maria Olazabal --

Q. Were you there at Valderamma?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, I wasn't. I was playing a tournament. I think I arrived like Thursday or Friday, and I watched it on TV.

Q. What's happening last week, No. 9 on the second shot? The final day, No. 9, second shot?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, first of all, I didn't hit a bad tee shot. Just drove it a little too much. But it kicked on the fairway and made a big kick to the left and went to a very thick area there. Well, it didn't happen -- I had a terrible lie. I hit an 8-iron and tried to put it close to the green, and kind of went a little right, but nothing else.

Q. Is the wrist okay?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, no, I didn't hurt myself there. Don't worry.

Q. A lot of people tried to make Tiger and Duval into the great rivalry, but they didn't play in the last round. You didn't play with Tiger. He was one hole ahead, I believe. Do you think this will be a rivalry that will continue, you and Tiger?

SERGIO GARCIA: Me and Tiger? Probably, but I think everybody is a rival on the course. If you see Tiger and Duval are not winning all weeks. You have different winners and different players.

Q. Is it unrealistic to expect a rivalry like Nicklaus and Palmer to ever happen again, given how much parity there is?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, it's difficult, because I know Nicklaus -- there are great players. But you have to realize right now there are more -- there are more good players than there were before. I mean, everybody can win the tournament right now. And that's something that, you know, that you have to realize. Well, it could be a rivalry right now, but I don't know if you can only say it's between two players or three.

Q. Said you played with Duval last week; is that right?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about what you thought of him and his game?

SERGIO GARCIA: He's a great player. He surprised me that -- he hits the ball long, but he can hit it really soft. It kind of surprised me that he was able to hit, I don't know, a 6-iron a long way, but suddenly he could hit a 6-iron really, really soft and -- I don't know, hit it like my 8-iron probably. It was kind of funny how he was able to manage that.

Q. This week and just about every week in golf, you're always playing for yourself. But when you go into the Ryder Cup and it's a team concept, how different is that for an individual to play as a team, and different challenges that it presents, as opposed to a regular week of golf?

SERGIO GARCIA: It's different, but not really for me. I think I'm a very friendly person. I always like to play teams. When I play teams, I get into it very much. I've always tried to help my partners. You know, it will change a little because you won't be thinking about yourself. You will be thinking: Don't do this, because it's the team is doing that . And you have to take care of that. But it's different, but you have to realize it.

Q. With the two Ryder Cup teams being here, does it put more of an edge on the tournament, the Europeans and the Americans, sort of compare each other before the Ryder Cup?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, but you never know what's going to happen. Here, the two Ryder Cup teams are here, but we're playing individuals. We're playing singles. We're not playing as a team. Until the Ryder Cup, you'll never know what's going to happen there. It doesn't matter if the Americans play here or we do, because then you go to the Ryder Cup and everything changes.

Q. Has Mark talked to you at all about the Ryder Cup yet?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, not really. Not now.

Q. What's he said about it in the past, maybe?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, he just told me that it's one of the best tournaments in the world, and it's really fun. You really enjoy it a lot when you play the Ryder Cup.

GORDON SIMPSON: Good luck this week, and see if you can threaten Olazabal's record.

End of FastScripts….

  1. Recent Interviews
  2. FastScripts Archive
  3. Upcoming Events
  4. About ASAP Sports
  5. Contact us