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U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

June 14, 2002

Sergio Garcia

FARMINGDALE, NEW YORK

RAND JERRIS: Sergio, thank you for coming by to spend a few moments with us.

Clearly, the weather conditions out there were difficult today. When you stepped up to the first tee, what were your expectations for yourself today and did you meet them?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I was hoping for the weather to hold on a little bit, and for sure it didn't. And then it started blowing. And you miss everything, and you start hitting, 3 -, 4 -, 2-irons into these greens, I tell you what, it's tough.

I would like to have played a little better, but under the conditions, it wasn't easy. I held on as hard as I could. I could say I'm not disappointed with the result, but I really felt like I could have shot a couple less, and it can make a big difference. But that's the way this tournament is, and unfortunately I couldn't.

RAND JERRIS: Take a moment and run through the birdies and bogeys on your card with us.

SERGIO GARCIA: On 11, I hit a bad drive to the right and I was just on the really thick rough. I tried to hit a sand wedge out to the fairway and the rough caught the shaft and went left and had another tricky lie. And the same way with the lob wedge, caught the shaft and went over the green, chipped it to about 9 feet and missed it; so made double there.

On 13, I played a pretty good hole. I hit a great drive and a good cut 3-wood to about 35 feet and hit a great putt that I thought was going to go in and lipped out.

On 15, I drove it left. Caught a horrible lie. Hit the sand wedge as hard as I could from there back to the fairway. Hit a good shot with the wedge, just a little short, and trickled down the slope of the green and made two good putts from there.

On 17, I hit a good 4-iron in the middle of the green. Hit a pretty good first putt, just a little too hard, about 3 1/2, 4 feet by and missed it.

On 2, I hit a good drive off the tee and a good soft 9-iron to about 15 feet and made that.

On 5, I hit a bad drive to the right. Had a pretty good 2-iron from there, caught a pretty good lie, a little wet, and hit a bad bunker shot and a bad putt; so that was another bogey there.

On 8, I actually hit a pretty good shot with a 2-iron. Tried to cut it in there and the wind switched on me. I hit it just over the green a little left, a little tricky lie, and then chipped it to about five and a half, six feet and missed it.

Q. Did you feel at any time that maybe the round should have been delayed or postponed because of weather?

SERGIO GARCIA: I certainly did. And I don't know if Tiger Woods had been out there, I think it would have been called. But there was a moment when not even the squeegees or whatever you wanted to put out there was going to help. And I really felt like it probably should have taken 40- or 45-minute break, but, you know, I hung in there and they got the round going.

Q. You looked very frustrated out there at times. It also looked as though you were -- were you heckled at all, there was a gesture, I don't know if there was a finger involved or not, but looked like a fist. Did you get angry at a few people?

SERGIO GARCIA: The people have to realize that we're trying as hard as we can out there, and sometimes they make some stupid comments. I don't know, I would like to see some of those comments made to some of the players, too. It feels like they don't make those comments to the bigger guys, and maybe they're afraid of them or something.

But, you can't control them, unfortunately, and there's going to be people like that everywhere in the whole world; if not, the world would be too perfect.

Q. What kind of comments?

SERGIO GARCIA: It was just stupid things. I don't even want to tell -- I don't even want to say. But it looks like out there sometimes you get people that are too smart.

Q. You said that you thought it should have been suspended or postponed for a little while. How many shots difference was it, do you think, if you would have teed off at 8:30 compared to 1:30?

SERGIO GARCIA: Don't get me wrong, it wasn't easy this morning, but it was almost impossible this afternoon. So I'll say probably three or four shots easier, no doubt about it.

If you get the luck of getting the good side of the draw, like somebody seems to do in these kind of tournaments, and you're the best player in the world and you make a lot of putts, everything works. It's tough to beat a guy when things are going. When he's out there and he's getting good breaks when he needs them and making good putts when he needs them, it's even harder.

There's still two days to go, so we'll see what we can do. And we'll see what happens.

Q. The gesture on 16, how would you describe that?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know, it was like a "shut up, I'm trying to get something going here."

Q. A fist?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, sort of. (Laughter.)

Q. I'll go with that, if you will. Second part is just a very simple: With the way Tiger is playing right now, can you or anyone else in the field catch him?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I said it before: If you're the best player in the world; you're playing well; you're making putts; when you hit it in the rough, you always seem to get a lie to be able to hit it into the green; and you get the good side of the draw, that's tough. That's tough to beat.

So the good thing about it is I'm going to be close to his tee time tomorrow, so hopefully I'll get good weather. So I'll go out there and try to play well, try to make putts, try to get something going. The course is still playing tough. The good thing about it for him now is that it's playing soft, so it's easier.

If he doesn't win this week, I don't know what else can happen to him, because the course is in perfect shape for him to win right now. He's just got to bang it out there, plug it in the fairway, hit it on the green, and you're going to have some birdie chances if the weather is half-decent tomorrow.

But, you know, we're still going to give it our best chance, and hopefully we can get something going and put a good couple of rounds in. You never know what's going to happen.

Q. Today was your day for that scenic shuttle trip out to 10 on the tee -- you saw we had the cameras out there with you. Can you describe the trip out to 10 and the shuttle, and how that might affect you on the tee with that first shot, which is awfully daunting on that hole?

SERGIO GARCIA: Actually, I don't think it affects, but I'm glad we only have to do it once, let's put it that way. It's not an easy thing to do because, you know, you're trying to get to the tee for your tee time and there's people walking around the street and you can't go. It can get your nerves going a little bit. But fortunately, we only have to do it once. We're done with it. And now everybody is going to start on the 1st and it's a little easier.

Q. On 17 and 18, it looked like you kind of tried to direct the squeegee guys to sort of brush the water in the way that the grain was going. I was wondering, how did all that water affect the putting?

SERGIO GARCIA: What was that? I didn't think about that. I don't think there's any grain on these greens, anyway, to start with.

More than anything, on 17 what I was trying to tell the guys that were squeegeeing, is try to do it in a way that he wouldn't step on my through line. Because the way he was doing it, it was going to be stepping two feet from the hole. So I tried to tell him just go a little farther left and go a little more towards -- a little more up. So if I run it by, I'm not going to see two big footprints in my line.

Q. How much did the water affect the putting?

SERGIO GARCIA: It did at times. There were times where -- they tried hard and did a good job, but there was still a lot of water on those greens. But I have to say that even with as much water as these greens got, they were rolling extremely good. I mean, these greens are unbelievable. But it was a little too much water out there.

Q. You seemed animated out there today. Could you put it in some kind of perspective as to how tough it was playing out there; in other words, the worst conditions you've played on or unplayable conditions?

SERGIO GARCIA: It was really tough. If you get to 10, don't hit a great drive, 2-iron into the green. You hit a good drive on 12, you hit a 4-iron into the green. If I would have hit a good drive on 15, probably would have hit about a 5-iron into the green or something like that. Hit a 5-iron into 16. 4-iron into 17. What else -- I hit a bad drive on 5. Still probably with a good drive I would have hit a 5-iron into the green. 2-iron into 7. 2-iron into 8. With bad weather on a hard course, it's not what I would recommend to anybody, let's put it that way.

Q. How angry were you about play going on when you thought it shouldn't have been, and were there any officials around for you to speak to?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, yeah, I talked to the official that walked with us. And I asked, I said -- on 16, the bunker was under water where I hit it and I said -- I asked him, "So, does the bunker have to be bad to stop play or do the greens have to be bad to stop play?"

And he said, "No, it has to be the greens."

And then when the greens were bad, I thought to myself, "What else has to be bad?"

So we get to the third tee, and on the tee, it's under water. So I'm thinking, I don't know, "Do we have to be swimming here to stop play or something?" It got to a point where it was a little too extreme.

But you've just got to keep going. You ask, and if they say you've got to keep going, what can you do? You've just got to keep going, try your best. And I actually had a couple of good chances. Unfortunately, I didn't make them, but it was a little rough.

End of FastScripts....

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