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August 18, 1999

Sergio Garcia


LEE PATTERSON: Maybe a couple of thoughts about what you saw yesterday on the golf course, then we will open it up for questions.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes. Well, I saw it is a very nice course, pretty long, but because of the altitude it doesn't play that long. But the course is in great shape. And I saw the greens, you can make a lot of putts here. If you are putting well, you can really make a lot of putts. But I really like the course. It is just in great shape.


Q. Can you just clarify, do you have a driver's license yet, or --


Q. When did you get that driver's license?

SERGIO GARCIA: I got it Monday after the British Open. Monday after or before? Yeah, after.

Q. But do you have a courtesy car this week?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, but I am not driving. Robert drives.

Q. Did you have to take a driving test, Sergio, to get your drivers license or just a written test?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, both. Like everybody else.

Q. After the British Open and that driver's test, you probably weren't too happy. Did you kind of push the pedal down a little bit?

SERGIO GARCIA: (laughs) No, but I passed my writing test the week -- a couple of weeks before the British, then after the British I did the driving one. At the beginning of the test, I was a little nervous. My leg was kind of shaking a little. I was like, come on. (laughs).

Q. Do you have your yardage down at this point after playing on your irons?

SERGIO GARCIA: More or less. I have to check today, but more or less I think I am hitting probably 15 percent more -- between 10 and 15.

Q. The famous 4-iron around the tree at Medinah, --


Q. I told somebody 6. They corrected me. That is what I thought. It was a 6.


Q. Have you practiced that shot, or did you do that on instinct? Did it just come sort of --

SERGIO GARCIA: No, I don't usually go to a tree and hit balls from there. But no, sometimes on the driving range I like to hit some fades or some draws. Well, I know how to make a slice. So I just saw the shot and just tried to slice it as much as I could.

Q. How many yards did that slice?

SERGIO GARCIA: I had to slice it like almost 50 yards to hit it to the pin. So, knew with a 6-iron it was almost impossible. So I aimed to the grass, and I sliced it probably, I don't know, 20, 25 yards, just enough to put it on the green.

Q. Was that crowd there at the PGA Championship, was that the largest gallery you ever played in front of?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know if it was the largest, but it was probably one of the best. A crowd has never pushed me and helped me as much as they did. I don't know. Well, I played in a couple -- I played in three British Opens, you have big crowds there. I played at The Masters. You have great crowds playing with Tiger. It was something unbelievable. But there was a lot of people there, and I don't know if it was the biggest one, but it was the one that helped me the most.

Q. Had you ever had to correct somebody in the gallery, a distraction or something?

SERGIO GARCIA: Not there, not the PGA. But you always have, because, well, sometimes you are on the ball and somebody is talking or a mobile or whatever, something like that. But it didn't happen at the PGA.

Q. Had you not been in contention there the last couple of holes, would you have hit that shot differently when you were up against the tree?

SERGIO GARCIA: You have to see so many things there. If I was 50 shots behind Tiger and three shots ahead of the third player, the third place, I don't know, probably I will lay up. And if I make bogey, doesn't really matter, because at that point, with three holes to play and almost impossible to make birdie from there; probably the best thing you could do was par. I thought, well, tournament is gone, so we are going to play for the second place. But I was two behind, and I knew Tiger has to play the 16th, which is pretty tough. I thought, well, if you make a par here and you make birdie on one of the last two, because I played those three holes really well there, the whole tournament. I shot 3-under par in those three holes. I think it is pretty good. I realized that if I made par there, maybe one or two birdies on the last two, I could have some chances.

Q. The field here is -- this isn't a major, but it is almost like a major in the sense of all the great players in the Top-10 in the world ranking. Are you excited to see this kind of field for just a regular Tour event?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes. Well, I think it is a great tournament, and that is why, you know, the PGA I really wanted to play well there to come here, because I heard so many great things about this tournament, about the golf course, about the milk shakes, and also about the field. So I really wanted to come here.

Q. Have you heard much about the reaction back in Spain to your performance?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes. I heard something, I think it was something incredible. It was almost the whole of Spain watching me on TV and they didn't care about the soccer, something incredible. It was pretty exciting when I heard that.

Q. Did you get a call from the prime minister, was it?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, the president of the government of Spain called me.

Q. That was straight afterwards, Sunday night?

SERGIO GARCIA: That was Sunday afternoon, just after the press conference.

Q. How long was the conversation?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, he told me that he was very proud of me; that he had a great time watching me on TV. And, well, he congratulated me, and he told me that he was looking forward to play with me in my home course when I come back.

Q. Have you set a date for that?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, not yet. But it depends when I have chance. But I don't know, if he is still there, maybe in a couple of weeks or something like that.

Q. Apologies to the president, did you hear from Seve after what you did? Have you had any contact with Seve? And how much influence has Seve and Jose Maria had with you, and how much input have they given you in your going from the amateur to the pro, and what have they tried to help you with?

SERGIO GARCIA: I heard that Seve said something to the media, congratulating me, and that he was very proud. Well, I saw yesterday Jiminez and Olazabal, and they both congratulate me. They told me they had a lot of fun watching me and they were very proud of me. Well, also Olazabal and Seve, for sure, they have been -- well, they have been helping me. And I think probably, if it wasn't because of them, I won't be playing this good, because they have been taking very good care of me. And that has helped me a lot.

Q. Can you give us your thoughts on the Ryder Cup, No. 1, and also the possibility of a singles match against Tiger?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I am very proud to be on the Ryder Cup team. I think it is going to be a great experience. Well, about playing with Tiger, that is something that is not in my hands and neither in his hands. So the captains will do the best for the team. And we play together on the singles, it will be great. But if not, we are there to help our team and not to play a game against each other.

Q. Another question about the crowds. Yourself, and Tiger, before you have generated excitement and noise in the gallery that hasn't been heard much before. Does that noise pick you up or distract you, and how close to silence do you need to stand over a putt or stand over a shot?

SERGIO GARCIA: That noise helped me. You know, when you are out walking and all the people is: Come on, Sergio! Keep it going. You can do it. And that really helps. When you go into a green and they start clapping at you and screaming: Come on, Sergio! That helps a lot. But you know, golf is -- it is a sport where you want to be very concentrate when you are hitting the shot. And if there is no noise, it is probably better. But sometimes it also depends on how concentrate you are. Because I remember some interviews told me that at the Loch Lomond, I think it was second or third round, I was on the first tee, I made my backswing, and a woman behind me on the crowd, she start talking to a guy, said: Hey, how are you doing? Nice to see you again. I didn't notice.

Q. You didn't know?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, when they told me that, I was like: What happened? When did this happen? It is always good to -- when you are standing in front of the ball and when you are going to hit the shot, to be really concentrate. And, well, if there is no choice, it is better to concentrate than if somebody is talking or something like that.

Q. Do you feel your world has changed significantly since Sunday? Everything sort of turned upside-down since Sunday?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, it hasn't changed -- well, it changed yesterday. I had a lot of kids around me asking for my autograph and that kind of stuff. But my life hasn't changed at all. I like to keep being like I am right now. I am very comfortable with my lifestyle, and I don't want it to change. I know if I keep playing well, well, the crowds will be looking for me more and probably the media also. But in my life, I just want it to be like I am right now.

Q. With this being your first time at this course and adjusting to the altitude, what do you make of your chances to win this week?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. I am going to do my best, but I am sure I am going to hit some shots over the green. And, you know, I will have to make some good up-and-downs. But I think it is going to happen to everybody. We are not used to playing here, but it probably will affect a little more to me, because it is my first time playing here. But I am going to go out there and try to enjoy it, as I have been doing. And if everything goes right, and we can win, it will be perfect, and --

Q. Length is such a big factor here at Castle Pines. Who would you bet on hitting the farthest drive on No. 1, and how far did you hit yours yesterday?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, about the first question, there is no doubt you can say that Tiger Woods probably will hit the longest. John Daly is not here?

Q. No.

SERGIO GARCIA: So, probably Tiger will. Well, my driving yesterday on the first wasn't really good. I hit the sky a little. Hit it too high and didn't run too much. But I had -- didn't have too much roll. But I don't know. I hit a couple of good drives, and I don't know how far I hit them. But you see -- you realize you hit the ball quite farther, because also on the 8th hole, I think the par 5, I hit pretty good drive, and I was like 250 to the pin almost. I hit a shot with a 3-wood and hit it over the green. I was like, you know, last week I was hitting 3-wood perfect, and I was hitting, I don't know, 260. And today, I hit a shot with a 3-iron, I hit it 280 almost.

Q. Sergio, you mentioned your lifestyle isn't going to change. What is your lifestyle away from the golf course? What do you like to do?

SERGIO GARCIA: I like to do quite a lot of things. I like playing computer. I like to play some tennis, soccer. I like to read some Ryder Cup books. No, I like to do some things out of golf, just to put my mind out of golf and relax. And that is what I am going to keep doing.

Q. With as much fun as you show on the golf course and show your emotions, are you surprised that more players aren't as demonstrative and don't look like they are having as much fun as you are?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, that is something that goes with your personality. I have always liked to have fun. I am a kid that always wants -- I can't be still. I have to be doing something because I am very active. And sometimes when I hit good shots in the right moment, I do like I did there -- I started running and seeing where the ball is going and all those kind of things. But I am sure a lot of players have fun playing, but they, maybe they don't show it as I do.

Q. What did some of the players tell you about in the clubhouse about -- you said yesterday they talked a little bit about your running up the 16th fairway. What did they say?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, one thing that really, that I really liked about what they told me was that every golfer, well, every pro that came and congratulated me, everyone said: I had a lot of fun watching you. And that is good, because that is what I try to do. I try to make the people enjoy when they watch me playing golf. And everybody came to me, and they say: Well, you played great. But everybody said: I had a lot of fun watching you. And that is a good thing for me to hear.

Q. In terms of the Ryder Cup, how many of the past Ryder Cups have you watched either in person or on television? And are you pretty aware of the chemistry between Seve and Jose Maria in the Ryder Cup matches themselves that they talked to you about?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I have seen a couple of Ryder Cups. I have seen, I don't know, probably four Ryder Cups, three or four Ryder Cups. But it is a very fun tournament. It is different, and you see how all the golfers, all the players give everything they have to -- for the continent. And that is a great thing to see. Well, also between Seve and Olazabal, they told me that, what I said, it is very fun to play in that tournament and to play as a team. It is always different. You can make a lot of good friends there; can make some friends on the team, because it is not like I am playing my tournament and you are my opponent. So I have to help you because you are my partner. And that also makes some friendship, and it is a very good thing to do, I think.

Q. You said at the PGA that you will decide in November or December what Tour you play next year. What is going to go in that decision, and which way are you leaning, and what are going to be the key factors?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I am going to talk with my family, because I have a lot of fun playing here. I really love playing -- really like playing here in the States. But I also like to be with my family. I don't want to be the whole year without seeing them and that kind of stuff. But I will talk to them, and we will see what is best for me. I don't know what we will do.

Q. You have created a lot of excitement since last Thursday. I am sure it has been exciting for you as well. Do you feel fresh and ready to compete again tomorrow in this tournament?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know that -- I will feel that tomorrow. Because now, the practice rounds, you don't -- because you are playing -- you are just practicing. You don't realize how much you need to play well in the tournament. But I hope so. I feel well. I am very confident with my game. I played great last week. I have putted okay. I have putted pretty well also. I am going to go out there. I am going to try to play my best golf, and I am going to do my best to see if I can win this week.

Q. Do you feel well rested?

SERGIO GARCIA: I think so. Yeah, I don't feel tired.

Q. What tournaments are you planning to play for the rest of the year?

SERGIO GARCIA: We are not -- we don't know really yet, because we are waiting for some tournaments. But for sure, next week and Ryder Cup. Maybe German Masters. And I don't know, we have to look to the end of the year. We are searching for some tournaments. We have some different opportunities, and we will see what we are going to do.

Q. Is there any chance you will play over here towards the end of the year?

SERGIO GARCIA: Here in the States?

Q. In America, yeah.

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. Maybe one or two tournaments, but we are waiting for that opportunity.

Q. Perhaps a difficult question for you to answer, but how would you evaluate your own character, and what part of it would be good for golf and what part would be bad? Or should I ask Jose?

SERGIO GARCIA: I evaluate my character as a very open person. I am always trying to make friends. Well, I think I have a good humor. I am always trying to joking and tell some jokes. Well, the good thing for golf, I don't know. I don't really know what is good and what is bad for golf. But I hope everything I do will be good. If not, just forget about it. I mean, just forget what is bad and tell you what is good. But I can't tell you what I do good for golf. I just play my game, and if that helps golf, I am proud of it.

Q. Do you see the first -- the next 20 years, say, as Sergio versus Tiger, or do other factors come into it?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I don't know. I am sure there are going to come some great players, but that is going to be a great thing for either Tiger and me. I don't know if it will be better for him or me. Probably for me because I am younger. But to have Tiger around me playing against me and, you know, that makes me improve my game. And I think it also makes him improve his. So probably I won't be able to play as well as I am playing without Tiger, probably.

Q. Back on the Ryder Cup real quick. When it comes down to the two-men competitions, is there a specific team member on the European team that you would feel most comfortable playing with?

SERGIO GARCIA: No. Well, I will play with everybody they put me. But if I always like to play with Olie. Olazabal is a good friend of mine. And, you know, Seve and Jiminez, they made a great team. I will be glad to follow Seve, first footsteps. And I will play with Olazabal and maybe do as well as they did. But, if they put me with another player, I am going to be as friendly as I am. I am going to try to help him, and I will try to play my best golf to help the team. That is the main reason.

Q. When you see how famous Tiger is right now and has been for the last couple of years, would you like to have that same kind of fame? Or do you see some danger in the crush of the kind of fame that Tiger has?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I don't know. I haven't really talked to Tiger about how he is managing his life about all that fame. But I know if I keep playing well, I am going to be famous, because I started to be last week because of the PGA. But I say I like to keep having my lifestyle like it is like right now. I would love to be going out with my friends and go to the cinema. I mean, just people can recognize me, but it would be fun to hear: Well done, Sergio. Something like that. But not everybody coming and trying to touch me or hit me or push me or whatever. But if one day comes, I will try to manage that all right, and we will see how it goes.

Q. Sergio, I am sure you know that Jose Maria won here and this is one of his favorite tournaments, even before he won here. Have you talked to him about this tournament? Did he not only talk about how good it is, but also did he give you any advice on how to play this tournament and this course?

SERGIO GARCIA: No. Well, I talked to him about the tournament, and he told me -- he was one of the guys who told me that it was a great tournament to play in. And that is why I wanted to come here and play. But, no, I haven't -- he hasn't told me how to play it. It is just another tournament. It is a different type of way to play it, but just have to make a lot of birdies and eagles (laughs).

Q. Are you ever concerned that what you do on the golf course, having fun running up and down the fairway, might be a little distracting to other players?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know why. I mean, if the other -- if the guy who -- if my partner of the game has already hit and he is walking down the fairway, and I hit my shot and I want to see where it lands and I start walking and jumping to see where it lands, I don't know why it can distract other players. If it does, I don't know. They have to focus and play and not in what I am doing.

Q. Assuming you have not played in any tournaments where they had the ^^ stable for scoring system, do you feel like this will change the way that you approach a tournament or, once again, all birdies and eagles for you?

SERGIO GARCIA: It will change, because you have to realize that bogeys is bad. But it is not as bad as it usually is, because it is just minus 1. But you have to realize that if you make a double it is really bad and, you know, if you just make a bogey and then you make a birdie, you are tied. If you make a double, you have good chance to tie with a birdie and a par. So probably it change in some holes, the way of hitting par or something, being more aggressive on the putting, on that kind of putt, but it is the same sport. It is golf, and you have to do birdies and eagles and pars. And if you can do -- if you are able to not do too many bogeys, it is perfect.

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