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June 15, 2002

Sergio Garcia


RAND JERRIS: Sergio, maybe you could just start us off by walking through the birdies and bogeys on your card.

SERGIO GARCIA: Okay. On the first, good drive, middle of the fairway, 152 to the hole, very good 9-iron to about 6 feet, five feet, made 2:

On 3, hit a 5-iron in left rough. I hit a good bunker shot that I thought was going to be pretty much a jimmy, but it released a little too much and went to about ten feet and hit a bad putt. Then on 4, I hit a good drive, a very good 3-iron, was able to keep it on the green about 40 feet past the pin, and hit a good putt that almost went in, tapped it in.

And then after that on 8 I hit a great cut 6-iron, soft cut 6-iron, probably to about 14 feet, made a nice putt there. Then on 10 I drew it a little bit with the driver and went just in the rough. Had to chip out, hit a pretty good punch wedge from 118 yards to about 11 feet and missed that putt.

Then after that I hit a great shot on 14. I almost thought that it was going to go in the hole with a 9-iron to about five inches.

Then on 16 I hit another good drive. I hit a pretty good 8-iron for 176 to about 20 feet, 18, 20 feet and made a great putt.

Q. Anytime you play with Tiger in the final round it's always going to be a circus. And you've already had a pretty eventful relationship with the fans this week. Can you look ahead to tomorrow?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, well, I don't think I've been bad to the crowd. But, you know, you guys could see it was rough out there. But I said it before when they were interviewing me, I'm actually glad it happened. It made me mature a lot and it was good. I mean it was good to be in a major, contending in a major on the third round when you need -- when you know you need a good round to have a chance tomorrow, contending with the crowd and everything. And to be able to put everything on the side and concentrate on just playing golf, that's what I like to do. It was quite an experience.

Q. Sergio, you said some things yesterday concerning the stoppage of play involving Tiger, they would have stopped it if Tiger was playing. You intimated that you thought he had the better draw, whether by luck or whatever. Do you think it's going to be contentious between you tomorrow? Will you and he speak very much?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know, it all depends on him. I hope so. I left a note this morning in his locker, just telling him that I didn't mean anything bad about him, but we'll see. I don't think he's a guy that likes to talk too much on a Sunday playing for a major, anyways. That's why we have a caddy, so we can talk to him (laughter.)

Q. This must be a first for you, I mean you've become the bad guy in all of this somehow, when those of us who know you know that's not really the way you are. But that's sort of the situation you're in playing tomorrow?

SERGIO GARCIA: What can I say?

Q. Did the boorishness of the fans cost you any strokes today? Do you think you're in the same pickle that Monty has been in for so many years and may not go away?

SERGIO GARCIA: It all depends on you guys. If you want -- if you guys don't like me and you want it to stay there, I'm sure you'll be able to keep it there, but I hope it's just a one-week thing, one-week deal. But we'll see. We'll see what happens. And I'm trying my best and I really don't think that I'm the way that people are saying I am. But we'll see what happens.

Q. You talked about maturing and handling the distractions on the course. Did you talk to anybody overnight who talked to you about that and also do you kind of wish you hadn't said the things yesterday because of the reaction you got?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I probably would have, but sometimes it's hard because you're trying hard in a major and you're trying to win it and you don't have a good round and you're a little hot. That's why I'm 22, because sometimes you know that heat may be my worst opponent. But today I was pretty calm out there and I was trying to handle it the best I could and I actually think that -- I don't know what you guys think, but I actually think that I didn't do too bad. I'll just go out there tomorrow and if it's better, great; if not, I'll keep trying my best.

Q. When you finished your round, you were two shots back. You're four shots back now. What do you think your chances are four shots back against the world's No. 1 player?

SERGIO GARCIA: I actually wasn't, I was actually three shots back when I finished 18, Tiger already made birdie on 15. So four shots, still a lot of holes to go, a lot of shots to hit. So it's not going to be easy, but it's not over yet.

Q. Other than the Country Club and the Ryder Cup, have you before this week ever had a serious run-in with galleries in this country, and do you have any idea why or when it started this week?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, not at all. I've always said that I'm very thankful for the U.S. people. They've always been great to me. But it probably started yesterday. I know I did it myself, so I'm not going to say no, but sometimes we say things that maybe we shouldn't, but it's hard to say the right things over and over. I'm trying.

Q. Did people yell specific things at you or did they just make noise? Were they just harassing you or could you hear names or things like that?

SERGIO GARCIA: There was a little bit of everything out there. There was some names that I would like them not to be, because I don't think they have to do anything with what is going on. But more than anything I didn't mind people saying things, I just don't want people to say things when I'm over the ball. I'm concentrating at that time, so if you start yelling right there, then it's hard to try to hit a good shot. But --.

Q. Did you have to back off --?

SERGIO GARCIA: A couple of times, yeah. But I don't mind it. It's okay.

Q. Can you just talk about, aside from everything else, whatever the fans and whatever, just the fact that tomorrow you're in the final group with the No. 1 player in the world to win the U.S. Open title?

SERGIO GARCIA: It's certainly what I've been driving to prove to myself for a while. Unfortunately it always seemed like I will miss the last putt or finish with a bogey and I will be just short of doing that almost every time. But today fortunately I made that putt on the last and I'm really looking forward to it, whatever happens. If I shoot a good number and I win, great. If he plays well and wins, great. If I shoot 150, I'm not going to care. I'm just going to enjoy the moment. I'm going to have as much fun as I can have and we'll see.

Q. Playing in the last group with Tiger, there's always a lot of conversation about intimidation being a factor. Can you see yourself getting intimidated by Tiger and falling apart?

SERGIO GARCIA: I get more intimidated by the four shots than for Tiger. I think that four shots, the way he's playing is going to be difficult, but if I'm able to start well and put some pressure on him, you never know what's going to happen. But not at all, I don't think I'm at all intimidated by him. I'm respectful of his game and his persona, but other than that, you know, we're two human beings trying to put a little ball in the hole.

Q. After you birdied 16 you turned around and kind of saluted. Was that to ?


Q. And also what was it like out there when everybody -- when things just started to go crazy, and putts started rolling in, can you describe that feeling?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, actually it was to Phil, because he made the putt right before I did, and I don't think he saw me, but I'm going, come on, let's keep it going. What was the other question?

Q. Was it exciting when all the putts started rolling in and people started moving closer?

SERGIO GARCIA: For sure it was. I was trying, myself, to put myself in that position and it was nice to see Phil doing it in front and knowing that it could be done. And it was quite a thrill to get back in the tournament. And for a moment it looked like it was going to be quite close, but then Tiger made two great birdies coming in and got a couple -- got a little cushion there. But we'll see if we can give him another nice run tomorrow and make it exciting.

Q. With the crowd filling in to the last four holes by the nature of just keep piling up, does the noise get greater there? And also the pressure of those holes being so difficult?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, well, for sure, you know, there will be a lot of movement of the crowd. But I've played with Tiger before with a lot of crowd and a lot of movement of the crowd at the battle of big honor, and I know what it's like. So we'll see how it goes tomorrow. But hopefully it will be good.

End of FastScripts....

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