July 16, 2003
STEWART McDOUGALL: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Sergio Garcia. Sergio, you played most of your golf in America this year and only played briefly on the European Tour, is that good preparation for Sandwich.
SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, I think so. We had three nice days of practice. The weather has been great. So I'm looking forward to it, can't wait to get started and see how the Open goes. This is the tournament you're always looking forward to play and hopefully to win. So it should be fun.
Q. On a course like this and a tournament like this and in conditions like these, how much thought do you give to the wind before you actually go out and play? How much calculation goes into thinking about where the wind might be tomorrow?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, there hasn't been much wind so far these last couple of days, so we've been -- I'll say we've been unlucky, because when you get to this course, and you know how to play without wind. But it's nice to practice with a bit of wind so you know what's going on. It's been quite calm. If the wind starts blowing, we might struggle a bit, like we did last year at Muirfield on Saturday. But I've always enjoyed playing with the wind, more than playing with the rain. So if it blows, I don't mind, you have to strike the ball nicely and you have to move it around both ways. That's the thing I enjoy doing.
Q. Would you rather play a round of links golf with the wind than without it?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, definitely, I think that's the true links golf, and that's what we wish for. When we come here to play the Open, that's the way it's supposed to play.
Q. Do you think you're better at links golf than most people coming over from America?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I think I can handle myself a little better. I'm not going to say that I can score better every time. Of course that depends on how you're playing. But I've played a lot of links courses, a lot of links golf so I know -- I can picture some shots that maybe some of the guys can't in America. I think if you see most of the European guys, they know how to handle some of these conditions a little better than some of the American guys, I'd say.
Q. Following on from that, Sergio, would you be unsurprised by a European victory this year?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, that would be great, hopefully Spanish (laughter.) No, that would be nice. I think that there's some guys out there, European guys that can really play and know how to manage links courses. Of course you can't take out guys like Ernie and Vijay, really good ball strikers. But it will be interesting to see a European win.
Q. When you read the draw and you're with Tiger, do you think, great, let me at him, or do you think, oh, I could do without that? Do you really relish the prospect?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, I've always said I like to play with the best. I like to play with good players. I played with Ernie this year at the Masters, and I really enjoyed it. I've always enjoyed playing with great players. That's something that I have worked my whole life to put myself in a position to play with them. And I think it's going to be great. I'm going to enjoy it and we'll see what happens.
Q. With your own game, the fourth place at the Buick Classic, did something click that week or was it just that part of a gradual progression?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, I think it was just a gradual progression. It's getting better. But it's getting better. I think my putting has improved quite a bit the last month. I feel more comfortable with it. And of course the swing is coming along. So I think it gets better as the time goes by.
Q. In the weeks since, is there anything specific you've been working on coming to a links course from America?
SERGIO GARCIA: No.
Q. Does this take you back to when you started playing in Spain, where you had to imagine shots, you had to -- it wasn't just drive, wedge, it was every club in the bag and being able to shape shots different ways, and use the contours?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, in Spain, around where I play, it's sort of a links course, the wind blows quite a bit. So I practiced throughout my life, I played some rounds there and you get used to that wind. Unfortunately we don't get as many links courses as we wish because probably the contours, they're not as good as they are here to have those kind of courses. When you're young you try to play those little shots and imagine what it will be when you're at the Open or Masters or U.S. Open or PGA, things like that. But you start hitting those low shots, thinking this is going to be the 18th hole at the Open, with the wind there, and with a nice 6-iron or something like that. You get some idea of what you can do. And as time goes by you start practicing in these kind of courses and you get used to them.
Q. Do you sort of go back to those thoughts that you had then?
SERGIO GARCIA: Oh, definitely, yeah.
Q. It's four years since you had a bad experience at Carnoustie. How much do you think you've improved as a player since then?
SERGIO GARCIA: A lot, not only gamewise. I've matured. I've gotten bigger. I know how to handle myself better now. I'm more patient. Those are things that really help when you're out on the golf course. And it's not easy, but you have to realize that it's just a game and you just give your best. That's all I can do.
Q. Do you have a reaction to David Beckham?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, I think it's great. Things are going good for him. He's a good footballer, a lot of exposure around the world, that's good for the team and -- but more than anything, as the president said, I think he's a great footballer, and that's why they signed him. That's the main reason.
Q. I know you played golf with some of the players. Are you planning on taking him out?
SERGIO GARCIA: Actually, I don't know if he plays or not. I'll find out soon.
Q. Can you name a few of the other players who see shots as you see them? Who can you talk about this to?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I'd probably say Seve, Olazabal, two that come to mind, probably guys like Monty, guys who have played quite a lot of -- probably Justin Rose, guys who are used to playing in these kind of conditions. Those are ones that come to mind. Probably Ernie is a good example, too.
Q. And Tiger, obviously?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, yeah definitely. I wouldn't rate him as the top one on my list on these kind of courses, but he can definitely play, there's no doubt about that.
Q. Have you played any more with Ronaldo, and how is his game coming along?
SERGIO GARCIA: I probably haven't played for probably three or four months now. But you're talking soccer or --
SERGIO GARCIA: It's not too bad, probably about -- he says 18, I'd say he's probably about 14. He enjoys it. He can't hit the woods.
Q. Do you coach him at all when you go around? Do you help him out?
SERGIO GARCIA: You give him little tips and stuff like that, as you always do.
Q. You've lived with other people's expectations all your career, what are your own expectations for majors and do you feel that you should be winning an Open Championship by now?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, that's -- yeah, that's one of the goals, no doubt. That's what I practice for, to win majors. I'm confident that if I keep moving on this path I'll win one, definitely, and I'm working hard at it, so I just have to be patient and wait for the time. As soon as you win one, then the next seems a little easier.
Q. Do you believe in your own mind that you should win a major by a certain age?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, I don't do those things. I try to win a major every time I tee off in a major, and that's it. It doesn't matter if I'm 15 or 65. Every time you tee off you try to win, and you leave your heart out there to win, and it doesn't matter what age your.
Q. Does it frustrate you when people talk about Woods and Els, and perhaps including you in that at the moment?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, not at all. I know what I'm capable of, and that's the important thing for me.
Q. You've played St. George's before, has it changed for the better now, for the Open?
SERGIO GARCIA: I'd say so, yes. I think some new tees, some new bunkers. I remember -- I played in '97 (Amateur Championship), so it's been quite long ago, but one of the things that sticks out in my mind was 10. I remember it was a straight hole and now we're playing sort of a big dog leg. So I think that's probably one of the biggest changes on the course. But I think it's improved. It's looking really nice and is in good shape and it's playing the way it should be, nice and fast.
Q. How is the swing change coming along? Is that still a work-in-progress?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, definitely. I don't think so much about it anymore, but I still have to improve a little more and it's coming along. It's feeling more and more comfortable, so that's why results are starting to come slowly. It's pretty good.
Q. How frustrating was it, particularly early in the year, when you weren't getting the results and missing the cut a lot, was it tough to go through that?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, not really. I knew what I was doing and I just thought just take it slow, because it might take some time. But you've got to realize those things, and just wait, and that's what I did.
Q. Do you take heart also, too, from Tiger? He sort of redid his swing after winning in '97 and it took a while, obviously, to get back. Do you take heart from the success he's had since he's kind of got comfortable with his swing?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, I don't know. I don't know if the changes in my swing are going to make me as good as him or better or worse or whatever. I'm focusing on myself. I did those changes because I felt like I had to, not because of anybody else did something and it turned out well. So that's pretty much my deal.
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