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August 3, 2002

Sergio Garcia


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, Sergio, for joining us. Great round today. You had an eagle on 17 and then managed to birdie seven of the nine holes on the front nine. Maybe just start with a couple comments.

SERGIO GARCIA: One thing is for sure, I'm playing tomorrow. That's a good start.

As you said, it was just a great day. To be able to make up 18 points in the last ten holes, I think it's always good.

Unfortunately, you know, I hit a great shot on 3 and hit it a little too soft and spun it back and hit a poor chip and made bogey with a sand wedge in my hand.

And hit a great putt on 5 and it just stayed on the lip. It was just a day where things were going my way. I was hitting the ball great and I finally got it going with the putter. I've been saying it for a while, I've been hitting really good putts, and unfortunately, I have not been able to make putts. You know, today just seemed like I made a couple and I just gained some nice confidence that just kept me going.

Q. You've been playing so well in majors and stuff. Do you think players are starting to look at the leaderboard and seeing your name like they do Tiger or whatever? Do you think you made a statement out there?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I think so. I don't think as much when you see Tiger Woods there on the leaderboard. Of course, if you're a consistent player, in the top during majors and contending in every tournament you play, there's no doubt that it's got to be in somebody's mind, back of the mind.

But still, I've still got to go out there tomorrow and play well. Do something like today, just get it going early, and the sooner I get out there on the leaderboard, then the better it's going to feel for me and the more the people is going to start thinking different things.

Q. The crowd really seems to like you; it cheers louder for you than maybe some other players. What is it about you or your game?

SERGIO GARCIA: It's that good. (Laughter.) I don't know. I've always been thankful for the way the American people treat me. I think I was probably the most fortunate guy in the history of golf after what happened at the PGA in '99, and since then, it's been great.

I've always enjoyed playing in this country. I think that I can never give back as this country has given me, and I'm trying my best, by playing good golf and trying to make people happy.

Q. On No. 8, you had an eagle putt and you didn't look very happy with yourself for that putt. Were you getting a little greedy down the stretch?

SERGIO GARCIA: Actually, I left it short, so I don't think so. (Laughs).

No, I hit a great drive, and I was there with a 4-iron, I was trying to hit a high, cut 4-iron. Yesterday I hit a great drive again and hit a 7-iron, just a hair heavy and I clipped just the top of the tree on the right and it went backwards and ended up making 6.

So in the back of my mind, I was thinking: Don't overcut it. I didn't want to mess around with that tree and I pulled it a little bit. I left myself a tough putt. I thought it was a lot more than what it was. I actually liked the line it had, but it was downhill, right-to-left and then up the hill, and unfortunately, it just wasn't as fast as I thought. I was able to make the birdie putt, and that's always good to do. When you get a round going like I did, you don't want to 3-putt a par 5 for par. It really kind of is like putting on the hand brake. It was nice to make that putt.

Q. What is it about your way of play that works well in the scoring format here?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I think that I'm a pretty aggressive player, as you all know, and when I can get it going with the putter, I can make a whole bunch of birdies. You know, that's what you want to do here. If you're able to go out there, make one or two eagles, three or four birdies, you're making a whole lot of points. You know, that's the way -- I think that's the way I'm able to play and that's the way I was able to play today.

Q. When is of the last time you shot 64, which was your score today? And two, what was your mindset after two days of wind blowing out here? You come out to the golf course and it's calm, did that help your mind frame coming into today?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, it did. It did a little bit because yesterday it was a hard day for me. I actually didn't feel like I hit the ball that badly, but I just could not get one right club. I was just over the flag, straight over the flag, 15 yards short. You know, when it's so windy, it's tough to manage a good run that way. Today, for sure, it felt like I was able to attack a little easier. I was more confident of what clubs I wanted to hit on some shots, and I think the last time I shot 64 was probably Mercedes.

It's ironic because I really feel like I've played well enough to shoot those kind of rounds, and unfortunately, if you look at my putting stats, they have been kind of not too good. But I made a little up today.

Q. Teeing off today, did you realistically think you had a chance to win or were you just trying to get to a certain number?

SERGIO GARCIA: I just wanted to go out there and play as good as I could. I knew that I was playing well. Yesterday, you know, it was just one of those days that happens. I just felt like I could go out there, shoot a good round, and put myself -- I thought, let's see if I'm able to get myself around 15 points or something, it's a pretty good round, 13 points is always good. And I said, well, let's see if I'm able to get myself there and just shoot a really good round on Sunday and see what happens.

You know, I got everything going and I just gained so much momentum. After 17, actually after I hit my tee shot on 7, I thought, okay, let's make this putt and let's see if we can finish 19 points, is pretty good, and I was actually able to finish 21.

Q. Did you learn anything playing with Trevino Monday night and if you did, could you pass something onto us?

SERGIO GARCIA: I learned to talk less on the golf course. (Laughter.)

It was great. It was the most fun I'd had for a long time. To have the chance of playing with three of the best players ever, it's not something that a lot of people have the chance of doing.

I just tried to enjoy it as much as I could, and walking along with Jack, it was great, talking to him. I think that I really enjoyed Jack. I think he's a great person and I think he's pretty happy with me, too. So it was a really nice experience.

Lee is just Lee. There's no words that can describe it. (Laughs). No, he's just a great guy, very easy-going. He actually looked to me on Monday that sometimes he didn't care about the game. I was like: "Come on Lee, just try a little harder." (Laughter.)

But he actually does. It's just the way he plays. You know, I'm a little that way, not as much, but I'm a little bit that way, and it was an unbelievable experience.

Q. Jack can be pretty serious at times, but when he put his arm around you, that seemed like a very genuine moment. What were you thinking when he did that?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I was thinking how fortunate can I be? I mean, to be able to play with Jack and Tiger and Lee, and have the chance of talking what I like doing the best with the best players ever in the history of golf, just enjoy it as much as you can, because unfortunately you're not going to have many chances.

I just have a great relationship with Jack, and it really feels like -- kind of like a second dad to me. I can talk golf things to him with no problem and I know he's going to be very, very helpful and I'm very pleased of him trying to help me. That's a great feeling.

Q. Wasn't it funny that he talked about such a sensitive subject, maybe sensitive, the waggles on national TV when he had his arm around you?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, the thing is, what you guys don't know is we've talked about that before. I talked to him when I played Gary Player's international tournament down in Florida, and I sat down with him and we talked a little bit about it. He said, "So, what's happening? What is the problem with you?"

I said, "Well, you know, it's one of those things."

He told me, "You know, I had that problem, too, when I was young. You know when you get in contention, it gets longer and longer." It happened to him with his putter and eventually you have to correct it.

So I've been trying hard. And it was nice to see him, you know, come to me and say -- to be able to do that, when he said only the good players can achieve those things, to be able to change it in a way that it still does good, you can still play well. It was, for sure, it was one of the best experiences I've had.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Can we go through your birdies and bogeys. You started on 10.

SERGIO GARCIA: 10, I hit a great dive to start with. Nice little cut with a driver, 178 yards. Hit a great 9-iron to about a foot.

I bogeyed 12 for the third time in a row, for the third day in a row. I hit a bad tee shot with a 3-wood. Hit it right, horrible lie in the rough. I thought it was going to come a little left and it actually came out straight. Hit it just on top of the hill and right of the green, tough chip. I actually almost hit it really good, but it just hung on the edge of the green. I hit a great chip and just missed.

Then on 17, I hit a great 3-wood to the middle of the fairway. I hit a very, very nice hard, drawn 6-iron to about 12 feet, 14 feet and nice left-to-right, straight in the middle.

Then on 1, I hit another good drive. I hit a pretty good 3-iron, I just wanted to cut it a little bit and just hit it too straight and it went in the bunker. Great bunker shot to about a foot and a half.

Then on 2, I hit a very good 3-iron off the tee, middle of the fairway. I actually hit a great shot, what I thought was going to be stiff, and the wind just changed on me and we were playing down on the right. It started coming in toward the right and hit just short of the knob and spun back, I don't know, 50 feet. It was an uphill putt, right-to-left and I thought it was going to be slower than that, and I hit it and just killed it. I just hit it in the middle of the hole and it went in, I don't know how, but it went in. So it was nice to be able to have that little break that there.

Then on 3, I hit another great drive. I hit actually a really good little sand wedge from 128 yards and unfortunately I hit it just a little too soft, just short of the green and spun back. Hit a poor chip. Hit a poor chip to about six feet and missed it.

Then on 4, I got it going again. I hit a great 9-iron to about two feet. Made that.

5, I had a great chance from about 12, 13 feet and just stayed on the lip.

On 6, I hit a good 3-wood off the tee, good soft sand wedge to about 15 feet left-to-right, great putt.

Then on the next, I hit a great 9-iron, but it rolled back a little too much to about seven feet and made that.

8, hit another great drive, pulled it a little bit with a 4-iron. Hit actually a great shot for Thursday, on the top left shelf. I hit what I thought was a good putt and it was a little slower than what I thought, from about 5 1/2 feet and made that.

Then on 9, I hit a good 2-iron off the tee. Pretty good 9-iron, a little safe, a little right of the pin, left myself a tricky putt from about 16, 17 feet. It did break right-to-left probably about six, seven feet of break -- straight in the middle. (Laughter.)

Q. On that putt, what were you trying to do with that putt on 9?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, as I said before, I thought 19 points, you make this putt, it's great, but what I wanted to do more than anything is just hit it in there so I won't have to struggle to make par. Because I knew that if I under-read that putt, I could probably hit it easily seven or eight feet by. And then you don't want to miss -- you don't want to finish with a bogey, after having a round like this.

So I said: Even if you hit it just a little too far right, just try to hit it there. If you hit it too a foot or so, just stuff it in and let's go home.

I just hit a great putt; about three feet short of the hole, I saw that it was just going to miss.

Q. Last two majors, it looked like you played well enough to win both of them, but maybe putting is the only thing that separates you from winning. Was that your take-away from Bethpage and your feeling?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, there's no doubt about it.

Q. What about going into Hazeltine?

SERGIO GARCIA: I think so. I think that the way I'm striking the ball and everything, if I'm able to putt a little bit like I did today, there's going to be some good rounds coming.

The problem is, you know, when you're playing for a major championship and you're out there on the final round and you're not making putts, it affects your game because you try harder and harder and harder to hit it closer to the pin because you're thinking, if I don't hit it to give, I can't make many birdies. So that's not the way to go in a major. It's hard enough the way the course is hard and everything, to even try even harder when you're out there.

Unfortunately, that's the way it goes. You're willing to try to win the major and you're not able to get the ball in the hole. That's the beauty of those kind of tournaments.

Hopefully, I'll be able to this week, with the way I putted today, give me a little bit of confidence and hopefully I'll be able to go out to Hazeltine. If I can just roll the ball nicely, make a couple of putts here and there and feeling relaxed going into the tournament. So I'm looking forward to that.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, Sergio, for joining us.

End of FastScripts....

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