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U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

June 16, 2002

Sergio Garcia

FARMINGDALE, NEW YORK

Q. The crowds treated you nicer today, did you notice that?

SERGIO GARCIA: For sure. It was a lot better. It was difficult today, though. Yeah, they were pretty good today, and I'm glad about it. But unfortunately I had the chance -- unfortunately I didn't get it going at the beginning. And, you know, it's one of those things. You miss a couple of putts at the beginning, and you miss a couple of good opportunities for birdie and everything seems to be tougher. And the hole seems to get to be a little, small area. But I tried and I gave it my best shot. I hung in there and I tried as hard as I could, until the last hole. And you've just got to learn from these things, and just put myself back in it, and hopefully next time I'll do better.

Q. How frustrating is it that you were with the leader, watching him have trouble and knowing that you just couldn't get it going to make up that ground that he was providing?

SERGIO GARCIA: It was a little frustrating, because after him 3-putting 1 and 2, and I actually thought I hit a great shot on 1, and it spun a little too much, and wasn't able to make birdie. But then 3-putted 3, and hit a great shot on 4, and hit it just over the green and didn't get it up-and-down. And those are the things that can give you -- make you win or lose a tournament. But you can't play with ifs. And I did it, and I've just got to keep looking forward, and there's still a lot more majors to come. I know I'm going to be up there, I feel confident enough it's just a matter of time.

Q. What was going through your mind when Tiger 3-putted the first two holes?

SERGIO GARCIA: I thought he's a little nervous. He felt the pressure, too. I think it was important for me to hit good shots, solid shots on the first couple of holes to show him that I wasn't going to back up and -- but unfortunately I didn't get the ball in the hole. And, you know, this kind of tournament and this game is all about momentum. If you make a putt here and there and you get some momentum going, everything seems to be easier. And we all know that this is not a course where you want to try to make a lot of ground on the back 9, because it's difficult, unless the leader plays really bad, it's tough to get it back. But he deserves it. He's the best. He played well enough to win, and I'm happy for him.

Q. Can you reflect on some of the things that you might have learned?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, it was -- it was a very positive week, I think. I found my game. I played pretty well. I hung in there. It wasn't an easy week for me. It was pretty rough. But it made me mature. I think it made me stronger mentally and, you know, it's just the way it goes sometimes unfortunately. And I've just got to keep hanging in there and give myself as many opportunities as I can. And if I do that eventually one is going to come, and as soon as the first one comes, then everything seems a little easier.

Q. What did you think of playing here on a public course in New York?

SERGIO GARCIA: It was great. The golf course was unbelievable. If not the best, it was one of the best golf courses I've ever seen, and I've ever played at. I'm really thankful for having the chance of playing in such a great golf course, in such a great event. I'm looking forward to coming back next year. I'm really starting to like this championship. I think it fits my way of play and hopefully one day I'll be able to say that I was a U.S. -- the U.S. Open champion.

Q. (Inaudible.)

SERGIO GARCIA: They were okay. They were fine. There were a lot of guys out there pulling for me. And of course there were some guys that said some things, but it was just a minority. I know that most of the people was rooting for me. And it's good to see. It's nice to know. I love this country. This country has gave me much more than I can ever give back to it. And I'm just looking forward to playing here and hopefully keep doing well.

Q. You said you always wanted to play in the final round in the final pair with Tiger, what was it like?

SERGIO GARCIA: It was unbelievable. We had some fun out there, we chatted for a while. We concentrated as hard as we could. And we tried as hard as we could. And I'm looking forward to doing this again. I hope this is the first of many and I can't wait to be out there again and give him a better round.

Q. Did you learn anything about him as a competitor today that you didn't not know before?

SERGIO GARCIA: More or less we know everything about him, his composure and his way of hanging in there and just being able to recover when he needs to, it was pretty good. But I don't know, I really felt like if I would have start just a little better, I had a chance of doing it, this could have been a great, great tournament. But, you know --.

Q. You saw obviously firsthand today, when did you first have the conversation of him being the greatest player ever, is it premature now or is this something you can start talking about?

SERGIO GARCIA: Unfortunately I didn't have a chance of seeing -- watching Jack Nicklaus play in his prime, but I tell you one thing, it doesn't get much better than this. He's unbelievable, and he's just -- he's able to do whatever it takes. If he's leading by four or five, he doesn't need to pull too hard he doesn't. If he needs to play a little harder, he does. But it's good. But I'm just looking forward to getting better, and there's still some majors for him. I know he's going to win a lot more, but hopefully I'll be able to take something out of his reach.

Q. Is it any easier because of what you just said, because of the fact that he is so talented?

SERGIO GARCIA: There's no doubt about it. But he's still human. And he showed it. He showed it today and I had my chance, and I didn't take it. And as I said before, if you don't take your chances on a Sunday at a U.S. Open, being four shots behind, you usually don't win against a guy like him. But I'm proud of myself. I think I did well. I couldn't try any harder. And maybe I tried too hard.

Q. Did you win a bet from Padraig Harrington today?

SERGIO GARCIA: No.

End of FastScripts....

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