February 27, 2002
JOAN V.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Sergio, for spending a few minutes with us. First time here at the GENUITY CHAMPIONSHIP. Make a couple of comments on the course today. It was a little windy out there.
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, it was. It was getting windier and windier, hopefully it won't rain. Looks like it is getting cloudy. But the course is pretty nice, because of the huge amount of rain that they had the last three days -- I think three days ago or something like that. The course is still a little soft, but it was getting little firmer, but looks like it is going to come down again. I don't know, I think if the wind blows like it is blowing now, it is going to be tough. The way this course is supposed to play and it makes the fairways narrower and of course, more difficult to hit the greens, but we'll see what happens tomorrow. But I think the course is in very -- the greens are in very good shape. If the weather is good you can still shoot some good scores.
JOAN V.T. ALEXANDER: Questions?
Q. What is it like to see your ball roll on the greens instead of bump?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, it's okay. The greens, they weren't that great last week and this week they are good and I just got to realize that and when the greens aren't that great, they aren't great for anybody, so...
Q. True, but can your confidence waiver a little bit if you stand over a 6-foot putt and you don't know where it is going?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, your confidence can change a little, yeah. It can be -- it can be a little lower than where it usually is. No doubt about that. But you can still hit a good putt and make it, so the greens weren't great, weren't as they usually are on the Tour, but it wasn't a big deal anyways.
Q. Do photographers follow you around when you're at home? I keep reading about some picture that was taken of you like in a blue sports car with one of your girlfriends, do they talk to you over there or pretty much leave you alone? Is that a rare thing?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, I don't know. It's been first time for me, so it's brand new.
Q. First time in a car or first time getting your picture taken?
SERGIO GARCIA: (Laughs). All of them.
Q. Sergio, have you been happy with the way you have been playing since the Mercedes?
SERGIO GARCIA: Actually, I have said it before in the last couple of weeks, I didn't hit the ball as great as I was hitting the ball, but before that, I was hitting ball really well. I just wasn't quite putting well. I hit the ball pretty well in the second week in Honolulu, putted really bad, and in Australia I went down there and hit some really, really good shots but wasn't able to get the ball in the hole either. Last couple of weeks it has been, you know, not as good as it was, but it is getting there and I am working on it and working pretty hard on it. I am starting to get my feel back, so it is good.
Q. How much are you thinking of The Masters now?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, this week I am thinking about the GENUITY Championship first of all, and when The Masters come, probably after the TPC when I have a couple of weeks off, then I will start thinking about the Masters, but I don't want to think about it before the tournament or before -- before I finish these three tournaments that I have left before the tournament. I want to make sure to concentrate as much as I can on where I am playing and on those two weeks off then I will have plenty of time to think about it.
Q. First type of clubs you used, I am curious as to what brand they were when you were three or however old?
SERGIO GARCIA: I don't even know. I don't think they even had a name. (Laughs).
Q. How many different kinds have you played with, quite a bit or --
SERGIO GARCIA: Not really. I have played Cobra most of my amateur career. Then last couple of years of my amateur career I played Mizuno, then I went to Titleist.
Q. Have you ever played with a wooden driver?
SERGIO GARCIA: I have, yeah.
Q. How old?
SERGIO GARCIA: When I was about eight years old -- I remember I was seven or eight, I remember I had this wooden driver that was like yellow. It was like wood color, but the kind of yellow color, not the brown one. I remember that.
Q. How did you hit it?
SERGIO GARCIA: For that age, good. (Laughs), I guess, I don't know. Not as far as now, that's for sure.
Q. Have you been up to Augusta since it reopened?
SERGIO GARCIA: No. I heard about it, but I haven't.
Q. Any plans to go before the tournament?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, I don't think I am going to be able to, unfortunately. But the course it's longer but it is still the same course. The greens are the same and it is just a little longer. So you know what you have to do. I think with two or three practice rounds it is more than enough.
Q. Where are you playing heading into Augusta?
SERGIO GARCIA: Bay Hill and TPC.
Q. What are you going to do the week off? Stay here, I guess, next week?
SERGIO GARCIA: I got to play the tournament that Gary Player is doing on Tuesday, so I will play that then I will take some time off.
Q. Stay here?
SERGIO GARCIA: I probably will, yeah.
Q. Give any thought to Dubai?
SERGIO GARCIA: No.
Q. European Tour over there?
SERGIO GARCIA: What? To go to Dubai?
SERGIO GARCIA: You crazy or what?
Q. I am just asking if you thought about it.
SERGIO GARCIA: For my sky miles it will be good, but -- (laughs) no. No.
Q. When you are an extended stay over here in America do you just live out of a suitcase the whole time?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah.
Q. Have you given any thought to getting some sort of a base on this side of the Atlantic and where would it be?
SERGIO GARCIA: Not yet. It will be here in Florida no doubt about that, but not yet, though.
Q. Why don't you buy one in Dubai?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well ---
Q. Land is cheap.
SERGIO GARCIA: Weather is good.
SERGIO GARCIA: Taxes are good? I don't know. I have been once.
Q. What would you do for the two weeks between?
SERGIO GARCIA: I go back home and get ready for the Masters, practice a little around Spain and just try to get ready.
Q. How much difference is there coming from the West Coast to over here? Is it mostly the greens that make the big difference or is there that much difference? Conditions, water?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I will say the greens are usually more consistent here on the east coast. I won't say they are better or worse because there are some that are better and some that are worse, but we also have -- Hawaii we have Bermuda grass, like this week, or next couple of weeks, so I will say probably that's the biggest difference, but it's not really is that big of a difference anyways.
Q. Have you ever messed around with the claw grip?
SERGIO GARCIA: Of course I have. I hit some putts, I mean once in a while, but not really thinking about it though.
Q. A lot of guys switching to that.
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, well, it's not the real one, though, it's the one that Calcavecchia is playing with, not the one like this, like Chris does, the real one. But yeah, my dad is putting like that.
Q. Do you make fun of him?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, I actually told him to try. I told him to try because his putting so bad. Couldn't get any worse, so I told him to give it a try. He's not making -- he needs to keep improving, but at least he's hitting good putts now, so at least he feels like he can make some.
Q. Didn't he just play in an event overseas somewhere?
SERGIO GARCIA: Mexico.
Q. How did he do?
SERGIO GARCIA: He told me he hit the ball quite well, but from 100 yards in, he was useless.
Q. There has been a lot of talk about all the young players on the Tour. Do you still consider yourself one of the young guys even though you have been around few years or are you now a veteran?
SERGIO GARCIA: I just left my cane out there. (Laughs).
No, of course I know I am young-- I am a young player but I don't really consider myself as a young -- as one of the young guys on Tour, more than anything because I have been playing for -- this is my fourth year, so I have been around for a while. But yeah, of course I am young. I know that, but mentally I don't feel like I am as young as some other guys.
Q. Do a lot of guys even younger than you come to you for your advice and talk to you about what it is like?
SERGIO GARCIA: Sure, some of them. Talked a lot more than anything with Trevor (I.) He's asked me a lot of questions. It actually feels nice to see a young guy coming out and trying to do well to come and ask you for your advice some of those things. It makes you feel really nice.
Q. Who do you go to -- is there someone you go to on a regular basis that's older than you?
SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know.
Q. That maybe you used to go to when you were really young?
SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. I mean, when I was younger I used to go of course, to Seve and well my dad has always been there, Olazabal, some of the Spanish guys, the guys that I have more contact with.
Q. The fans were out here at 6 o'clock in the morning to follow Tiger Woods. It has been four years since he has been here. What do you notice as far as the attention he's getting? Has it died down at all since when you started maybe three four years ago?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, I wouldn't say it died down. I would say it's, how you say, spread out a little. Yeah, because there's more guys to watch now. There's more guys that are exciting and they are young and they are good players to go out and watch. He still gets the biggest crowds, you can always see that. But you see more people around golf course now than before.
Q. How much were you paying attention to how your sister is doing?
SERGIO GARCIA: I talked to her yesterday and before yesterday she told me she played very well. She didn't putt it that great the first day but shot a couple of under yesterday and I think finished 13th on the singles and team finished second. So she was quite happy with that. A little disappointed because she didn't win but she actually was quite happy and the coach was happy with her too, so it is good stuff.
Q. What kind of advice do you give her as far as dealing with 22-year-old college boys?
SERGIO GARCIA: That's her life. She knows what she has to do.
Q. Are you enjoying being in a Spanish speaking part of the country?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, it's great to see when you are playing on a golf course to see people rooting for you and to actually hear that they are talking Spanish, it is great. It makes a little difference and sometimes it makes you feel like you are not in the States anymore. It is kind of weird, but it is nice.
Q. Do you feel like people are rooting for you even though they are not from Spain just because they speak the same language?
SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. You should ask them. But maybe, well because I am a Latin guy too and you know, they like those kind of things, so, could be.
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