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MERCEDES CHAMPIONSHIPS

January 6, 2005

Sergio Garcia

KAPALUA, HAWAII

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Past winner of the Mercedes Championships, Sergio Garcia, thank you for joining us. Great round today, 68. Maybe just start with some opening comments and we'll go right into questions.

SERGIO GARCIA: Of course, I'm very happy with the result. I felt like I was a bit tentative on front nine, you know, not knowing after a little break and first tournament of the year. But I played pretty solid on the back nine. I hit a lot of good shots and a lot of good putts. I unfortunately didn't make many, but you know it was a good day and I am just hoping to keep it going for the rest of the week and the rest of the year.

Q. Sergio this looks like you, Tiger, Vijay Singh, Retief, maybe Mickelson, Ernie, the top golfers up there. Is the competition exciting and are you looking forward to it?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, definitely. I look forward to every year, no doubt about it. But it looks like it could be a very exciting year. There's a lot of good players up there.

You haven't mentioned Adam Scott, for example. I think he's going to be pretty good, too. It should be an exciting year and I'm looking forward to it.

I'm hoping to keep on the same line that I've been for the past year, and I feel comfortable about my game. I think my putting has improved quite a bit. So I've just got to keep it going the same way.

Q. Sergio, does coming to a course where you've had success give you any kind of comfort level even though you might not be, maybe a little rusty?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, it does a little bit, yeah, no doubt. The other day -- it might make you feel a bit more comfortable but at the end of the day you still have to perform and play well and make the putts and hit the shots.

But I'll say it does a little big, too.

Q. How are your expectations different not only for today but for this week compared to what it will be in, say, three months for our months?

SERGIO GARCIA: Excuse me?

Q. Your expectations for this round today, the first round of the year and really for the rest of the week compared to what they might be in a month or two or three months once the season is over?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't think it should be any different.

Q. Just not knowing, you mentioned being tentative first round of the year.

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, the first, probably, six, seven holes. The back nine I hit a lot of good shots and a lot of good putts.

But, no, I mean, it's normal. I mean, as I was saying before, on one of the interviews, I mean, even my calluses are a bit tender at the moment around the club, and so, you can tell that I've been relaxing a little bit for pretty much most of my holidays. And it's nice. It's great, and I'll take another nice rest around February and I'll get fully charged up.

Q. Do you go to Torrey Pines?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes.

Q. And after that you shut it down?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, probably Match Play.

Q. Talk about the scoring conditions, how maybe the softness of the course made some things easier and some things maybe more difficult?

SERGIO GARCIA: Really, to tell you the truth, the course is not soft. The only difference is there's a lot more grass than there has ever been on this course. We come here and it's usually the greens don't have much grass. They don't have much grain, but this year, the fairways on the greens, I was talking to Glenn, my caddie, and I was telling him on the 16th hole, I said, "I've never seen this course with so much grass." It's amazing. It's beautiful. Of course, although, you know, it's a lot firmer than it was probably a couple of days ago, you just don't get as much roll.

Q. How much do you expect to play in Europe this year and will you make any sort of special preparations going into the Open Championship at St. Andrews?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, I expect to play the amount that I have to play to keep my card. So that will be 12 this year. I have a pretty good idea of the ones I want to play, and it fits in quite nicely.

For the British, not much. I think I'll probably play the three weeks of the U.S. Open here, the one prior and the one after, defend my title at Westchester. Then I'll take a couple of weeks off and get ready for the British. So, you know, I'm looking forward to that.

Q. When can we expect to see you back in Europe, Sergio?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, unfortunately not in Europe, but I will be playing the Johnnie Walker just right after the Masters, yeah. So that will be my first tournament in Europe.

Q. On the European Tour?

SERGIO GARCIA: Right, but not in Europe.

Q. When are you going to get back it terra firma in Europe?

SERGIO GARCIA: At British Open. On European soil, yeah. Maybe the summer I'll play a good three or four.

Q. And you'll do Crans?

SERGIO GARCIA: Sure.

Q. We need you in Switzerland?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I love that place.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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