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WGC AMERICAN EXPRESS CHAMPIONSHIP

October 2, 2003

Sergio Garcia

WOODSTOCK, GEORGIA

GORDON SIMPSON: Sergio, I remember you finished the American Express last year with a close record, 62, and you started off with the low round this week. Obviously a good championship for you.

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, it definitely has started well, so hopefully we'll keep it going, keep playing hopefully as well as I played today and we'll see what happens.

GORDON SIMPSON: You seem to thrive on difficult golf courses.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, I've always felt much better on difficult courses because I don't feel like it's so much of a putting competition, so I don't put as much pressure on my putting. I'm a bit more relaxed on the course. I know I don't have to go for every pin and only the ones I feel comfortable with.

Q. Is there anything in particular that you felt like has been a common theme in terms of getting over the hump and getting back to your form the last couple of years? I know you've had swing changes, but has there been one thing that's kind of slowed you from getting back in the game?

SERGIO GARCIA: My putting I've been struggling a bit, but I've been working very hard on it, on putting and swinging, also, and it's difficult. You've got to be patient. You've got to try as hard as you can definitely and just wait for it to change. As I said before, I'm not going to get ahead of myself and say that everything is sweet now and I'm ready to win every week, but I definitely played some really good golf out there, so that's always important.

Q. Do you feel you've made the changes now, Sergio?

SERGIO GARCIA: Not now. I feel like swing-wise, I've been playing -- I've been striking the ball quite well for the past couple of months already. You know, probably sometimes if you're not putting well, it puts too much pressure on your game and you try to get it closer and closer and you don't want to miss greens. It's hard to play with that kind of atmosphere.

I've worked on a couple things on my putting. It feels better. I feels like everything goes a bit more compact. I feel like I get the putts to stay on line a bit better. So I've just got to keep working and see what happens.

Q. You talk about enjoying the tougher courses and not being in a putting competition. What was that like last week looking up on the board and seeing some guy --

SERGIO GARCIA: That was exactly what it was. When I go to a course and I feel like I have to make every single putt to be leading or around the leaders, I don't know, I put so much pressure on my short game that I struggle a bit, but I guess that probably you learn with experience and playing around and not caring so much about it.

Q. Does this feel like a big week out there because the galleries aren't as large?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, American Express, it always -- it's always a big week. A lot of events after the majors, it's one of the ones you want to win. It's always fun to be around here playing these tournaments, so hopefully we'll see if we can keep it going.

Q. Does it seem a little peculiar, though, with so few people out there?

SERGIO GARCIA: I think it will probably get better as the week goes on. I'm sure most of the people are probably following Tiger. At the end I got some nice crowds, and that's the way it goes every week, so it's nothing different.

Q. What's your schedule from now on?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I'm still up in the air, so it depends how I do these next couple weeks.

Q. Obviously you're not in the Tour Championship and the Hope. Would you play Seve Trophy?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know.

Q. How about the Florida events down there with the house and all? Maybe?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. I wish I could tell you, but I don't know.

Q. Vegas and Greensboro?

SERGIO GARCIA: I am playing Vegas, and we'll see about Greensboro.

Q. You talked about not wanting to get into places where you have to be going low all the time. Vegas would seem like a perfect place where you really do have to shoot --

SERGIO GARCIA: I did not say want to get into places. I said it's a bit tougher for me. There's a lot of good tournaments out there that I won with a good amount of under par, so you can't just go and play seven tournaments or eight tournaments a year.

Q. You're not playing the World Cup, are you, Sergio?

SERGIO GARCIA: No.

Q. What do you think they should do or can do to the World Cup to make it such that every player from different countries -- make it have the prestige to it, anything?

SERGIO GARCIA: What they're doing next year is definitely going to help me, being played in Spain, so that makes it a little easier. I don't know. To tell you the truth, it's just a time of the year where pretty much the big players are resting and they're pretty much finished with their season. We start the season quite early, so we usually like to -- myself, I usually like to get December off, and as soon as tournaments start getting on those kind of dates, it makes it a little tougher for myself to go to those.

Q. Does the swing feel comfortable yet?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, definitely. It feels a lot -- I don't have to think about it so much, so that's a good thing. I feel like I just swing it and the club is getting to where I want to. My dad is telling me that it's looking good, so that definitely helps a lot. I still need to get a bit more consistency on it. I play some really good rounds and then I play some scrappy ones, so it still needs to get a little better.

Q. How did you find these greens to putt on?

SERGIO GARCIA: A little slow (laughter). No, they're great.

Q. What's the toughest -- they roll true I take it?

SERGIO GARCIA: They roll as true as they can roll. They're just absolutely perfect. They're firm, they're really fast, and they're tough because as fast as they are, a little slow, it becomes a big break. It is definitely difficult, but if you're over the ball knowing that if you hit a good putt and that you've got the right line, it's going to go in, that makes it a lot easier.

Q. Did you have any putts, birdie putts, where you wound up having more than you wanted for par?

SERGIO GARCIA: Sorry?

Q. Did you have any putts for birdie that if you missed you wound up having more distance than you wanted for par, four, five and six feet?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, not today. I left myself in good positions to be able to attack my putts. Probably the only really tough putt I had for birdie was on 15, the par 3, but it's a pin that you can't attack with a 3-iron. I hit a perfect shot probably 20, 22 feet left of the hole, 25 feet left of the hole, big breaker, and left myself a two-and-a- half or three-footer down the hill. Those putts, if you strike it half decent, they're going to go in.

Q. Going through the changes you've gone through, you've become less results conscious as a result of that. In other words, finishes don't matter as much as what you're seeing other than the progress in your swing?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, definitely not. I'm trying to finish this as good as I can. It's definitely a little tougher. I go a bit of both. I go with feeling a bit more comfortable on the golf course, feeling like I can do whatever I want, and also scoring nicely. You know, it's getting there.

Q. Based on that, how would you assess the year then? I know you have tournaments left to go, but at this point are you happy with where you are with these changes?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, definitely. I am very happy the way that the swing feels. You know, as I said before, I don't feel -- I don't know if you guys notice, but I hit very few shots left now, whereas before if I was a bit off, my big problem was hitting it left. When I'm swinging well, that gives me a lot of comfort. The other problem is when I'm a bit off now, usually my ball drifts a little right and I'm not too happy about that. But I'm working on it, so it feels pretty nice. The good thing is I'm controlling my fades pretty nicely.

Q. What was the best shot you hit today?

SERGIO GARCIA: Today? I don't know, I hit a lot of good ones. I didn't hit anything stiff, but I was around the 15, 20 feet range, 12 feet, so I was giving myself good opportunities. I'll say probably the 3-iron I hit on 15 was spot on. I hit it exactly where I wanted, and it was just a nice high fade. I don't know, I hit a lot of good ones. I hit a great 9-iron on that other par 3, 13. Unfortunately it came up a bit short, but I hit a lot of quality shots, so that's good.

Q. Sounds like you're almost at a point now where you're not thinking about mechanics, you're out there playing golf.

SERGIO GARCIA: Definitely, yes. You know, I'm trying. Probably I think more thoughts are going through my head putting-wise than when I'm over the ball. But it'll get better eventually.

Q. You must have been about No. 5 in the world rankings when you and your dad decided to do this swing change. Did you have to talk about it for a long time to consider that? Obviously it was made for the long haul, to get better over the long haul, but 5 in the world is pretty good, and mostly what you were doing before was working. It's a significant sacrifice is the point I'm making.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I guess it all depends on your mentality. I guess if you want to be the best writer in the world and you're No. 5, you're like, well, that's pretty good, but I want to be No. 1, what do I have to do to get to that. You know, I was happy with it, but I felt like I could do better. That's why I'm going through these things.

I really feel like when I'm on, I don't think there's many guys out there that can hit it better than me. I'm a good driver of the ball, I hit it far, I hit my irons pretty well, pretty much the way I want to. I can work the ball both ways -- well, four ways, draw, fade, high, low, so I feel like I could be better than that. I knew it was going to take some time and it was going to be hard, but I think in the long run it's going to be good hopefully.

GORDON SIMPSON: Sergio, thank you, great round. We'll run through your birdies.

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, on 2 I hit a great drive to the middle of the fairway, hit a pretty good lob wedge from 94 yards, just a bit short, probably about 16, 17-footer, made that, little right-to-lefter.

Then on 7 I think it is, 6, par 3, I hit a really good drawing 6-iron from 197, hit it to about ten feet just left of the hole, hit a great putt straight in the middle.

Then on 9, I hit a great drive, nice little cut there in the middle of the fairway, hit a very good 8-iron from 169 to about eight, nine feet past the hole straight up the hill, good putt again.

Then on 12, I missed it just a little right with a driver, just in the rough, hit it out of that with a sand wedge trying to leave myself a lob wedge, 115 yards, hit a good full lob wedge downwind, hit a good shot eight, nine feet, made it.

Then on 17, I hit a good cut drive to the right side of the fairway and hit a good sand wedge downwind from 140 and probably hit it about 10, 11 feet short of the pin, 12 feet, made it.

Q. Any saves?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, one good one on 14. I mean, I missed three greens, two of them by five inches, so I was putting from those, and the only one I really missed was 14, and I drove it just a little in the left rough and caught a big flyer, hit it just right of the green, a little past and hit a very good chip, quite a tough chip, probably to about three and a half feet, and made that. That was good.

Q. What did you do on No. 5, the short par 4?

SERGIO GARCIA: I hit Rescue, my 3-wood, and I hit it just left of the left bunker and had a tough chip. I hit a pretty good shot to about 12 feet and didn't make it.

Q. Your Rescue would have gotten you to the green had you hit it perfectly?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I think so, probably if I would have caught a good 2-iron downwind the way the course was playing, it probably could have gotten to the front. The rescue was definitely going to get there, no problem.

Q. Do you like holes like that?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes.

Q. Do you have half a mind to hit 5-iron into the fairway?

SERGIO GARCIA: It makes you think a little bit and it gives you different options, so that's always good. You don't want to have every par 4 like that, but it's good to have one. It's a hole where if you hit a good shot you might make 2, and if you hit a bad one you can get out of there with a 5, so it's a good combo.

GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you very much, Sergio.

End of FastScripts.

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