October 30, 2002
TODD BUDNICK: Why don't you tell us about how you felt your season this year.
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I think it's been a pretty consistent season. You know, I'm not disappointed about it at all. I think the level of golf that I played was good. Unfortunately, I had a little bit of a slump with my putter throughout the middle of season where I felt like I should have won some big tournaments, like TPC or a couple around there.
Other than that, I think the game pretty much overall has been consistent, has been a good level. I give myself a good chance of winning tournaments, and unfortunately I didn't win as many as I would like to, but it's been pretty nice.
Q. Even though you had two wins last year and one this year on this tour , do you feel you played better?
SERGIO GARCIA: I do think so. I think that the level of play for myself has been getting better. I just -- you know, that's what you try to do every year. You just try to improve a little more every year, just try to get better. I really felt like my game was better this year.
Q. How do you measure that?
SERGIO GARCIA: You just feel it. You just feel how controlled you are on the course, how you hit the ball, and in tough weeks that's where it shows the most. I've been pretty well in almost every tough week, every tough tournament we had.
So, I think that's pretty much what you can see.
Q. What do you need to improve upon to be better next year?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I'm working quite hard on my putting. I think I've got to -- from probably 110, 120 yards in, I've got to improve a little more. It's not that I'm not good but I need to, to be better.
If you're able to do that -- because I've been driving the ball really well. I've been driving the ball extremely well for the last couple of years. Long irons are pretty consistent, pretty solid. If I get a little better from 120 yards in and with my putting, the scores should get lower and lower.
Q. Are you happy with the way it's been working out playing both sides of the Atlantic and splitting time; and you don't feel you've been spread a little too thin in any way -- buying a house -- will you play more here next year? What are your thoughts on that?
SERGIO GARCIA: I'll probably play a little less here. I'll probably maybe go down to 18, so a couple less tournaments. Did a lot of traveling this year. I really feel like I need to play on both tours. I love playing here in the States, but I really feel that Europe deserves to see me play there, because I'm European and you've got to support your tour.
At the moment, I'll keep going like this.
Q. Does winning a Ryder Cup feel like winning a major? I know you haven't won a major yet and everything, but does it feel like it would if you had won a major?
SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. As you said, I haven't won a major yet.
Q. Do you think the Ryder Cup is on that level?
SERGIO GARCIA: The only thing I can tell you, the pressure of a Ryder Cup is like -- of every single match, is probably like a Sunday on a major. So that's what I can tell.
The feeling of winning, I don't know. I don't know if it will be bigger. Maybe not. Maybe yes. But, you know, when I win a major, I'll let you know. But I'm sure both things -- I mean, I've done one that was one believable, and when I get the other one, I'm sure it will be great, too.
SERGIO GARCIA: Don't get me wrong. It feels good to win the Buick Classic, too. Even though I went to Korea and I won there, it felt good to win there, because you're a worldwide player and you want to win all over the place. You want to get known by everybody in the world everywhere you go.
So, of course, the feeling is different because it's not the same thing, winning a regular Tour event than a major. But, still, it's a great feeling, both things.
Q. Where do you rank this tournament?
SERGIO GARCIA: Where do I rank this tournament? I probably rank it in the Top-10 of the season.
Q. Later today, Commissioner Finchem is going to come in and he's going to be addressing the overall State of the TOUR. From the beginning of the season there was a lot of talk that a lot of the tournaments did not have title sponsors and some are now renewing, like Coca-Cola for this event. As a player, how much does it really matter to you, with title sponsorships and the financial state of the TOUR?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, it's always important for us. Thank God golf and the PGA TOUR is doing extremely well. But, you know, when you get title sponsors like those you mentioned you feel a little more relaxed because you know they are going to be there, they are solid, big companies, and that's what the Tour looks for.
It's great to see that coming along, and hopefully, we can get as many as possible.
Q. And getting to another major issue this year, as a player, what is your feeling about and how much do you wish the Augusta issue would just kind of go away?
SERGIO GARCIA: I mean, I don't know. That's something that they have to figure out. I don't know. They are the ones who have to -- I think that doesn't come to us to decide what's best or not, because some people might think one thing and some people might think another.
Q. So as a player, you don't feel the need to take a stance on it?
SERGIO GARCIA: I don't think publically, no. I mean, I've got my ideas, but I think that that's more of Augusta, the way they have done it over the years and what they feel like.
Q. Do you think it will be a major distraction until it's resolved?
SERGIO GARCIA: I don't think so.
Q. Do you think the issue will go away?
SERGIO GARCIA: It probably will, yeah. But we don't think about it when we are playing. We're trying to concentrate on playing well. That's hard enough.
Q. Outside of Sun City, what do you plan on doing in the off?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I'm playing next week. I'll be playing the Volvo Masters, The Tour Championship in Europe. That will be my 11th tournament there. Then I will play some Skins Game in Singapore, just a couple of days. Then I'll play Japan, Dunlap, and then the Million Dollar and that's it until Hawaii.
Q. At the beginning of the year, you talked about trying to win the Order of Merit and the money title on both tours. Now that you are going to change your scheduling, do you still have that in mind?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, well, I'm going to be playing two tournaments less -- a couple tournaments less than before, so it's not that big of a difference. It's a big difference traveling-wise, and my body will feel it. But the tournaments I didn't play well this year, I just have to play those better.
Q. There's been some international players who have come over here and played a full schedule and they become Americanized, you know what I mean? Nick Price, we almost look at Nick as an American. Jesper, Norman, how do you think you can retain, even though you are playing both sides, your European roots?
SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know.
Q. Have you thought about that?
SERGIO GARCIA: There's no doubt my accent has already changed. (Laughter.)
I think that more than anything, it's a personal feeling. And by coming back, you know, spending some time in Spain as I do once in awhile, you kind of recharge. And the people can say different things, but I'm sure that the Europeans, they would like the Europeans to feel -- they would like to say, "oh, look the Europeans," and when we come here and when we are good players, the Americans after a while, they like to think like we are Americans, too. But that's a feeling that I think goes through the people. It's not a big deal, though.
Q. Were there any hard feelings that lingered from the Ryder Cup, because some of the Americans were a little cut off during the last couple of days by your enthusiasm. This is your first American tournament since the Ryder Cup; do you think there will be any reception by the galleries or by players?
SERGIO GARCIA: I don't think so. I think the Ryder Cup is over, and Davis and me, we talked, we came to realize -- I said, if I hurt him, I said, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to. That's first. We really came to one big decision, one thing that we both thought, that the Ryder Cup was over at that time.
So I don't think it was that huge of a deal. The last couple of days, I don't know what you mean. I don't know if you want me to be like a robot going out there; I can't play like that. That's the way I play.
I don't think I disrespected anybody while we were playing. Of course, I got excited when -- or I was jumping up and down or doing things when the other guys were hitting, so I think you can do whatever you want when you are on the golf course.
If I see a guy that doesn't get excited at all, I'm not going to tell him, "oh, what are you doing, that's wrong." Maybe you should ask somebody else to get a little more excited.
Q. On the subject of being Americanized, when you are over here, are you to the point now to where when you are speaking, do you think English first or do you still think in Spanish and then translating over into English?
SERGIO GARCIA: When I'm here, no, I definitely don't think Spanish. Well, actually, it's funny, but for the last, probably, I'll say six, seven years, I've pretty much been talking English everywhere, even Spain. When you play a tournament, you're playing with European guys, and usually you talk English to them, unless they are Spanish.
It's got to a point where sometimes I know a word in English and I can't get it in Spanish. (Laughter.) Yeah, I don't know. I just freeze and I can't get the word in Spanish, and I know it in English. It's funny, but it's happened. It's happened sometimes.
TODD BUDNICK: We thank you for joining us today.
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