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April 13, 2002

Sergio Garcia


P. DAN YATES: Good afternoon, everyone. We've got Sergio here with us who is in here today at 7-under par. What's y'all's pleasure?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, you know, I played quite solid, and a bogey-free round, it's always good here at the Masters. I feel a little disappointed because I really feel like I should have been at least -- at least two or three shots better than what I was.

But, you know, that's the way it goes. Sometimes, or some weeks, it doesn't matter how good a putt you hit; it doesn't seem to want to go in the hole. So, just going to keep trying, and that's what I'm going to do tomorrow.

P. DAN YATES: Well, we can't ask about birdies and bogeys because you didn't have any bogeys, but give us the highlights if you would, Sergio.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I'll give you the highlights. There's quite a lot of highlights (Laughter.)

I birdied 6. Hit a great 8-iron from 177, I think it was, to about nine feet and made that.

And then 15, I hit a good drive, and just missed the fairway on the right. Hit a pretty good 6-iron, just drew it too much and just over the green, rolled back just off the green. Quite a tricky chip. Hit a good chip, just a little too hard, about five, six feet and made it.

And that's it.

Q. How hard is it going to be to give Tiger four strokes going into tomorrow?

SERGIO GARCIA: You know, it's always harder when he's up there four strokes in front of you, there's no doubt. But it's not impossible. That's what I mean. If he was eight shots in front, then I'll say that it's tough.

But I don't think -- I think that the guys at 7-under, you know, the guys at 6 (under) if they can shoot maybe 64 or so, they still have a chance. So I'm going to go out there tomorrow and try to give it a run.

Q. Is it possible to shoot that kind of number?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah. For sure. I could have shot it today.

Q. Where do you feel you left your critical birdies out there? When you go to sleep tonight, what are you going to be kicking yourself about?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, of course, I missed a good -- a couple good chances on 2 and 3, about 12 feet, both of them. Maybe ten and 12 feet.

On 4, I hit a great shot, and maybe a foot longer it would have been good, just trickled down the hill, so made a good 3.

Then hit a great putt on 5 and just burned the edge.

Birdie on the next.

Then 7, another ten, 12-footer, missed.

On 8, I hit -- I played a perfect hole, and I don't know how I was about 11 feet from the hole for birdie. I hit a great drive, nice cut. I hit a wonderful 3-wood just short of the green on the right and I hit a great chip that as soon as I hit it, I thought it had a chance of going in, and I don't know how -- I don't know how I could be so good. I caught it on a pitch mark and got the worst bounce in the world. I looked at it and thought it was going to be probably a gift, you have an 11-footer and you miss it.

On 9, I had about an 8-footer and missed.

10, I had a long putt. I had probably about a 28-footer but hit a great putt, but just burned the edge again.

13, I hit a great drive. I hit a good 5-iron, hit it just a little thin, came out a little low, straight at it, bounced on the green, just trickled down, just trickled on the back of the green, hit the chip a little too soft and missed another 9-footer.

Then that was about it.

Q. Similar to the PLAYERS Championship for you, the same kind of feeling?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I still think that I played better at THE PLAYERS Championship, but it was a very similar feeling, yeah. Yes, as I was telling you, it was a similar feeling, but this time I'm making good putts. They are not going in, but they are good putts. The THE PLAYERS Championship, I was hitting horrible putts.

Q. Would it be better for your style of play to be hard and fast?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, that's the way I like it. I've always said, I don't like tournaments where you win with 14-under par or 13-under par or a score like that. I think the true tournament is the one when the course is playing nice and firm, it's tough to hold it on the fairways, it's tough to hold it on the greens, and you win with 8-under par, 4-under par, 6-under par, something like that. And I really think that that's the way it would have been this week, if the course -- if the weather would have behaved, but unfortunately, we can't control that.

Q. And do you feel you can use your skill more?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, for sure. You've got to think more. It's not so easy, if you can call it easy.

Q. Almost all of the leaderboard is international players. Do you have any -- what's your opinion of why this tournament is --

SERGIO GARCIA: Again, every day. I said it before. I think that's -- first of all, that's a great achievement by Augusta, and by the tournament. That shows you that they get the best international players that are in the world, to come to play for this tournament. And that shows you, too, that more and more often, international players are coming to play here in the States, and they are doing well because they are good players. It just shows the strength of the golf around the world.

Q. Is it discouraging at all that you have so many great players ahead of you rather than maybe one or two to catch, and they are the top six in the world?

SERGIO GARCIA: I actually only have three in front of me.

Q. Those three. (Laughter.)

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, you know, I've come from worse places than this, and in worse positions to win. But I just, you know, they are good players, but they are humans, too. If you put some pressure on them, they are going to have a hard time. So that's what I'm going to try to do.

And if not, if I play well and the guy who wins plays better than me, what can you say. Just, well done.

Q. There was a concern at one point, at a lot of points, that Tiger was going to run away, that he was going to run away with most tournaments. Do you feel like the gap is closing a little bit between him and the other players?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, no doubt about it. As you can see, he's only won once so far, and there's been some really good scoring from the other guys, you know, this leaderboard is right there, too. There's no doubt he's a great player and that's why he's won so many majors and so many tournaments in so little time.

But I strongly think that, yeah, the gap is closing, and we're trying to make it even closer.

Q. How much more difficult is 18 as a finishing hole now, especially tomorrow?

SERGIO GARCIA: A lot. I mean, you can probably -- you can probably answer the question yourself. I mean, what's the difference between hitting a wedge or a sand wedge to a 6-iron and a 5-iron? It's big.

P. DAN YATES: Well, thank you very much, Sergio.


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