August 12, 2003
JULIUS MASON: Sergio Garcia here at the 85th PGA Championship playing in his fifth PGA Championship.
Sergio, welcome to Rochester.
SERGIO GARCIA: Thank you.
JULIUS MASON: Some opening comments and we'll go to Q&A.
SERGIO GARCIA: The course is pretty wet. We know it's been raining for quite a while. The course is quite long and the rough is really thick. It's always, in a major, important to drive well.
Knowing these greens, I played here before in '98 at the U.S. Amateur and these greens can get pretty slinky. You've got to be careful with the slopes and things like that. I think it's going to be a good challenge and a tough tournament.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about the Amateur and your memories from that, and how different this course looks from when you played in '98?
SERGIO GARCIA: A lot of new tees. I remember even though with new equipment and stuff like that, the course is playing longer than what it was back there in '98.
You know, the looks of the course are the same, so that's a good thing. But it is playing quite long. I have good memories from that amateur and I'm looking forward to hopefully keeping that tournament in my mind throughout this week.
Q. Never mind the course, but how have you changed since '98?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I've changed, no doubt. I think I have improved as a player, so that's always a good thing. I think I've improved as a person, too.
You know, I've matured. You know, that's good. I'm becoming older. I know what I want. I know how to handle myself on the course. Those are things that you learn with experience.
Q. Maturity, that obviously comes with age, but do you feel more confident in yourself, just where has your game gone in the five years?
SERGIO GARCIA: I think it has definitely improved quite a bit. I've worked quite hard on it. You know, it became better and better as time went by. So, you know, I think there's a lot of things to improve still. I think that I can get quite a bit better than what I am at the moment. I think just with a bit of time and work, it will come around.
Q. Curious as to, if you had to vote right now on the Player of the Year, for the first time in a while we have a bunch of people in the mix what your thoughts are on that and how big winning a major plays in being named Player of the Year.
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I think it's not only about winning a major. I think it's got to be a consistent year, too.
You know, as you said, there's a lot of guys out there. I briefly saw it last week, I think it was probably five players. I think Mike has been having a great year; Mike Weir. Davis has been having a great year, and with all of the things he's been going through.
Kenny Perry, they are all good. Tiger. But, I don't know, if I could pick one, I'll probably -- I'll probably pick at the moment, I'll probably pick Davis. I think Davis's year has been very, very good, and, you know, he's gone through some hard moments, as we all know and that makes it tougher. To come over those moments and play the level of game that he's played, that's pretty impressive.
Q. The rough, can you compare it to anyplace where it has been as tall and thick as it's been this week?
SERGIO GARCIA: It feels pretty much like a U.S. Open kind of course. I think all of the rain has made this rough become thicker and you can get some really bad lies out there.
So, you know, it kind of feels like a U.S. Open kind of course. Unfortunately, it's not playing as fast as we would like it to play. But hopefully the weather looks like it's going to improve a little bit. We'll see what happens.
Q. Just as a follow-up, is it a hack-in-back-into-the-fairway type of rough, or can you still get it to the green?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, the thing is, when you get -- it's kind of like what happened at the U.S. Open this year. When the rough gets so thick, there's sometimes where the ball stays on top and you can still move it quite a good distance. So it's a bit of luck involved. If the ball stays on top of the grass as it does sometimes, you can probably hit 160, 170-yard shots pretty easily. But if it nestles down, you've pretty much got to knock it out to the fairway and get it to the top the hard way.
Q. Can you comment on the greens a little bit? Are they rolling a little bit bumpy or are they soft?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, they are soft, but I think that's normal after all of the rain they have had.
If the weather improves as they said -- hopefully it will do -- I think the greens are going to get better and better every day. It's just a matter of seeing the weather help us a little bit.
Q. I remember at the beginning of last year, you could not go anywhere without hearing "young guns, young guns, young guns," and it was you, Charles and Gossett were the guys that had won the previous year; yet this year, all of the old dudes are winning all of the awards, all of the tournaments. I wonder if you're disappointed that you guys have not continued the upward arc or is that just more credit to them?
SERGIO GARCIA: I think you have to give them a lot of credit. I think the guys like Jay Haas, Peter Jacobsen, Craig Stadler, those kind of guys, they have been playing some great golf, and Freddie Couples. So you've got to give them a lot of credit, no doubt about it.
I think that we are, as you said, still young, we are still maturing and we're getting better. So there's no doubt that we are trying as hard as we can to win, but it's not that easy to win on the PGA TOUR.
You know, that's what we all try to do.
JULIUS MASON: Thanks very much for coming down, Sergio.
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