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WGC AMERICAN EXPRESS CHAMPIONSHIP

September 18, 2002

Sergio Garcia

KILKENNY, IRELAND

SCOTT CROCKETT: Thanks for coming in, once again, ladies and gentlemen.

Sergio you took a week off, the week before that was a winning one. It suggests your game is in fine fettle.

SERGIO GARCIA: I played pretty solidly there. I felt very good with my game. Everything seems to be clicking. If anything, the wedges was the only thing I did I liked the least. I was pretty good. I'm looking forward to this week. The course is in great shape. It's a very nice golf course. The weather, if it blows a little bit, it can get tricky, so I'm looking forward to play well here.

Q. The season as a whole, you've made Top-10 finishes in all the four majors, a win here would be good?

SERGIO GARCIA: It would be great. It would be good. It's been a pretty consistent year. I've been hanging in there in a lot of tournaments and unfortunately I didn't win as many as I should have, but that's the way it goes. I'm pretty happy with it and hopefully I will have another good week here.

Q. What did you do with your week off?

SERGIO GARCIA: I met Ronaldo. That was one of my highlights.

Q. Did you play golf?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, we're going to have a golf game, but I just met him, though.

Q. Sergio, talk about the excitement. It seems like we haven't got the quite the same excitement going up to the Ryder Cup; is it exciting for you?

SERGIO GARCIA: I'm really excited. I think it's a little different because, of course, what happened last year in September, but there's no doubt when we all want to win. Nobody wants to lose at the Ryder Cup. It will be a little different, but it's still going to be exciting. We're going try as hard as we can, and I'm sure they're going to try as hard as they can.

Q. Scott Hoch was saying that if the weather is bad at the Belfry he's going to ask Curtis to stand him down. I wondered from your point of view if you could ever imagine not wanting to play all five matches?

SERGIO GARCIA: That depends. It all depends on the person and the player, so the only way I would say to decide not to play is if I'm not playing well and I have to perform well on so many matches, but not because of weather or anything like that. I don't think that's an excuse for me, at least.

Q. Did the fault last year, lie with the gallery or did the players have some responsibility in whipping up the gallery?

SERGIO GARCIA: I think it was a little bit of everything. There's no doubt there was a lot of excitement by both teams. When the U.S. was starting to make a comeback, of course, they were doing something that has never been done before, they were getting excited and the people were getting excited with them. It got a little out of hand, but it's something that unfortunately happened and we all must forget about it.

Q. Is it forgotten?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, at least I have.

Q. You said you haven't won as many tournaments this year as you should. How much should you have won and how many do you have to win in a year to make it a good year for you?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I feel like the way I've played in many of the tournaments, I should have at least won a couple of more. I felt like at a time like just before the Masters with TPC and a couple of tournaments where I played, I definitely played well in that, but I wasn't putting well enough to win, and then I had good chances in the majors and a couple of other tournaments. A successful season, there's no doubt. Three big tours this year and I'm still playing. It's still a good year. But around that is what I ask myself to be -- well, a nice year, and to make it better and win a little more.

Q. Has it been difficult the last 12 months focusing on the Ryder Cup? How has it been for you mentally the last year?

SERGIO GARCIA: It has been good. I mean, there's no doubt that when we all knew that Ryder Cup was going to be postponed, you know, it was a little bit of a shock, but it was the right thing to do, and you have it in the back of your head, but you try to focus on what you're doing at the moment. If you play in a tournament, you're focussing on that tournament, you are not thinking about the Ryder Cup. But I'm glad it's coming next week, so I can't wait to get started and hopefully bring the Cup back to Europe and leave it here.

Q. Do you feel it's to the benefit of your team that the captain sticks with the original selection?

SERGIO GARCIA: I think that that was the first thing to do. Those players deserve to play the Ryder Cup. Unfortunately it was postponed, but I don't think that because it's one year later, I think that those guys really played well enough to be on the team and they should play on the team. It's something that happened and I think it was a good thing to do.

Q. My name is Kevin. I work in a kids sport shop called here in Ireland called Stream. You've always had a lot of success in Ireland; do you like playing golf in Ireland?

SERGIO GARCIA: I've done well here. It's a place I like, it's a country I like. I think the people are very nice. They know a lot about golf and they have a lot of beautiful golf courses. I'm always looking forward to coming back and it's really a pleasure to be the Irish Open championship.

Q. You're still a young guy; do you have any advice to young golfers who are just taking up the game seriously?

SERGIO GARCIA: Just to enjoy it, have as much fun as they can on the golf course, and you know, if they want to try to do this maybe for a living later on, just work on it and believe in yourself.

Q. At the Ryder Cup, one of the biggest events of golf, do you actually get nervous?

SERGIO GARCIA: You do, there's no doubt you get a little butterflies going on around the first tee, at the start of the week. That's the beautiful thing about it. That's the beautiful thing about tournaments, big tournaments like the Ryder Cup.

Q. Sergio, you mentioned you thought it was the right decision to stick with the same team this year. Would it suggest that wild card picks could come into the equation in 2002 to reflect changing forms? Where do you stand on that?

SERGIO GARCIA: I think having to change the Ryder Cup from odd years to even years was big enough. I don't think you want to get two more picks, instead of 12 guys, 14 guys. I think that the way it was done, I really think that the guys who got on to the team to play in 2001 deserved to be on that team. You know, that's why they're still on the team this year. It's something that you have to do. It's unfortunate, sometimes maybe you get a guy who was playing really well then and is now not playing so well, and some of the guys who weren't playing well then are playing well now, but that's the way it goes.

Q. Were the first two days in Brookline the most fun you've had on a golf course and was Sunday the most dejected you've ever been?

SERGIO GARCIA: I had a great time with Jesper. Of course we were playing great, and it's easier to enjoy when you're playing that well, but Sunday, it was a little disappointing because you know, you want to win the trophy and we were so close. It hurts a little more. Outside that, I don't think, you know, it was still a good experience. I'm glad I was there, even if we lost it, but I think overall it was a really nice experience.

Q. Have you expressed your wish that you want to play with Jesper again?

SERGIO GARCIA: It's something we'll have to look at next week and see how Jesper is feeling, see how I'm feeling and see what Sam thinks. Jesper is a good friend of mine. I think we make a good team together. We'll see how everything feels that week, but I hope so.

Q. Just on a similar theme, have you spoken to Jesper recently and do you expect to build him up in the days before the contest?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, well, I haven't talked to him lately. I saw him at the British Open. That's pretty much it, the PGA. I'm sure the Ryder Cup is a different tournament. It's match-play. So many different things can happen that week. You know, you get yourself motivated for that week and you always strive harder than before. I'm expecting for him and for all the other guys to play well and give as much as they have to for the team.

Q. As Europe's highest ranked player in the world, despite your age do you feel you have to step forward and be one of the team leaders next week?

SERGIO GARCIA: You know, there are guys out there that have more experience than me, like Colin and Darren, and guys like that. So, of course, they're going to be looking at them and maybe some will be looking at me, but I'm just going to try my best. You know, I'm going to try to help us as much as I can, but I think it's always been if the European team just makes a good package, you know, we'll be good. I think that's one of the most important things.

Q. How much will your team miss Jose Maria Olazabal?

SERGIO GARCIA: I'll tell you when you're finished. If we win, we won't miss him at all. If we don't, we'll probably miss Olazabal and Justin and a lot of people. I think we have a good enough team to win, three years ago, nobody was giving a penny for us and we were this close to winning, so you know what a Ryder Cup means.

Q. What do you think of Monty's back? Is it any kind of distraction when you hear he's great one day, and virtually crippled the next? It seems to be all over the map?

SERGIO GARCIA: Actually, I read a little bit about it. It wasn't good for like a month and then he played pretty good last week. I don't know how he's feeling this week, but hopefully he will be good. He is a good part of our team, so hopefully we'll have him around.

Q. I think he said at one point, it's not worth playing if you can't play all five matches. Is he, with as much experience as he's had, worth having on the team even if he can only play one or two?

SERGIO GARCIA: I'm sure he can probably play two or three. One a day, I'll say. I'll probably say so, yeah. He's just a great player. He's someone you look up to in the Ryder Cup. We'll see. We'll see how he feels and hopefully he will be okay.

Q. What was your exciting moment at Brookline?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. There were so many of them.

Q. Just one.

SERGIO GARCIA: Probably when Jesper holed out on the 6th hole, I think it was. The par 4 up the hill.

Q. The second shot?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, with a 9-iron. That was probably one of the first ones and probably the most exciting, but I don't know. There were so many. When I chipped in on 14, and when he chipped in on 12 the other day, and when I made the putt on 18 to have a match with Davis Love and David Duval I think it was. There were a lot of moments, but I think that first one is the one that sticks in my mind.

Q. The start of the year or the end of last year, to be strictly accurate, you told us you wanted to be No. 1 in America and Europe. Would you have to win here this week to have any chance of accomplishing that?

SERGIO GARCIA: I think it's pretty much gone. To win a tour in Europe, I think the year is pretty much gone. If I'm able to win here, and I have a couple more tournaments coming in, I would have a good chance, because Ernie isn't playing much here anymore, in Europe, but it all comes through this week. If I don't win here, I have to finish really well and win the next two or something like that. I'll give it my best shot. I'll try as hard as I can, and hopefully it will come around and I'll win, if not finish as high as possible on the money list.

Q. With it be a continuing ambition next year?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, that's my main goal. It's a hard goal to get, but I think if I try hard for that, I can get as close to that as possible, if I don't do it.

Q. Do you think it's strange that Tiger would put a brand-new set in the bag one week before the Ryder Cup?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know about that.

Q. You don't know about it? He's gone from Titleist to Nike?

SERGIO GARCIA: Good for him. I don't know.

Q. It doesn't strike you as odd?

SERGIO GARCIA: Nowadays, clubs are so -- all companies are so much alike, they can build you pretty much whatever you want, so it all comes down to feel, if they are right, and I'm sure he's not going to put in a set of clubs that don't feel right for him, it should be okay. We'll see.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Good luck, Sergio, this week.

End of FastScripts....

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