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June 10, 2003

Sergio Garcia


RAND JERRIS: It's our pleasure now to be joined in the interview area by Sergio Garcia. Sergio is playing in his 4th U.S. Open this year.

Sergio, nice 4th place finish at Bethpage last year. What lessons did you learn at Bethpage last year? What do you bring with you this year when you come to Olympia Fields?

SERGIO GARCIA: I think any U.S. Open you play, you've got to be very patient. I think at Bethpage even more, because of the toughness of the course. But this course is looking great. It's in very good shape. The rough, it's quite thick, it's not too high at the moment, but it will get higher. And the greens can get tough with a bit of speed, and if they firm a little bit, it's going to be a good challenge.

RAND JERRIS: You were the only player last year to finish in the top 10 in each of the four majors. To what did you attribute your success in major championships?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. I think major championships you always try a little harder, and probably that patience that I've been working on is paying off and I'm getting a bit more used to it. I think just a bit of that and a bit of work makes it a little better.

Q. Sergio, we've seen the video a thousand times of your one-fingered salute to the jerk in the crowd last year at Bethpage. How has the Chicago crowd been, the representation been?

SERGIO GARCIA: It's actually great. And I think that's something that has passed; it's already been a year ago. It wasn't a one finger salute, as you said, so you have to take a look at the tape. And Chicago crowds are great. Unfortunately I've only played here once, at Medinah in '99, and they were unbelievable. So hopefully I'm expecting a good game on my side, expect the same kind of crowds.

Q. I know it's difficult to concentrate in a major, but how much more difficult is it when you have outside influences like a heckler or some kind of adversity?


Q. In a major, and the concentration level is so high, how much more difficult is it to concentrate when you have somebody like a heckler or some outside influence on your game?

SERGIO GARCIA: Like a what?

Q. When the fan last year at Bethpage -- is it more difficult to focus because of that?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, I don't think so. I think that once you're on the course, you concentrate on playing. And if you concentrate you can't hear anything. So it's probably a bit of a challenge to see how well you can concentrate on the course, but other than that it's fine.

Q. There are ways to work on your swing, which you're doing, but how do you practice patience? How do you improve that?

SERGIO GARCIA: I think you just learn, by playing and by gaining experience, and you just mature a little bit more and you realize things that you didn't know before. So you just learn like that.

Q. We talked to you at the Masters about the overhaul of the swing. Now two months have passed. Where are you at in the process? How is it evolving?

SERGIO GARCIA: I think it's getting better. I'm not hitting as many of those loose shots as I was before, more than anything because I don't have to think about it so much. It's getting there. But as I said before, you've got to be patient and just wait until the right time.

Q. Rand talked about how you finished in the top-10 in all four majors, and yet you decided to do a major swing change. What was behind the thinking of doing the swing change?

SERGIO GARCIA: It's not a huge change, anyway, but mainly I've been more consistent. Down the stretch when the pressure is on, I've always had to try to hook the ball too much because of the way my swing was. So I'm just trying to get a bit more consistent at that. And I think what we're doing with the swing now is going to help me down the road to be a bit more comfortable with myself when the heat is on.

Q. Was there any one tournament or any one set of circumstances which made you think I really have to change my swing and I have to to do some things differently or was this just an evolution time?

SERGIO GARCIA: I think it's just an evolution time. It just had to be done. I'm getting stronger and older and I don't need as much latitude to hit the ball so far. So when you hear the players, when you hear us talk, we're always trying to find consistency, and that's what we are searching for.

Q. For the future, does the PGA TOUR need a personality, a rival to stand up and be competitive with Tiger whenever he's playing, and are you that person?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I don't know -- I really couldn't tell you. I think there's a lot of guys out there that can really play. Tiger is not winning every week, as you can see. But I've said it before, that's why I'm going through all these little changes, to try to become better and be more consistent, week in, week out. Hopefully, I don't know what's going to happen, but I'm confident about it and we'll see.

Q. That week in Medinah, where does it rank among your career highs? And are you surprised that perhaps you're still waiting for your first major after playing so well that week?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I'll say I'm a little surprised, not only because of that week but because of a lot of major weeks that I played I've contended. And I've had chances. But some guys who get a little luckier and they don't need as many, and whenever they hit it they have a chance, everything goes their way and they win. And there's other guys that need to learn a bit more. And probably I'm just one of those guys that needs to learn a bit more. But I think I'll probably put that week definitely in my top three. It was a special week.

Q. The other two?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, definitely Ryder Cup and probably first victory.

Q. Just to follow up on that Medinah question. What kind of memories do you have -- when you think back on that tournament, what do you think of, what goes -- what kind of memories do you have?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, all the things come to mind, playing with Hale, the first rounds were great. We had a lot of fun, me being the youngest or he being the oldest and we were both doing well. So that comes into mind. Of course the shot on 16 and contending and putting pressure on Tiger to try to win the tournament. And unfortunately I came up a bit short. But there's a lot of good memories, and of course the crowds, how well they treated me.

Q. How well, given that environment in Medinah, does that parlay into any enthusiasm or confidence-building for this week?

SERGIO GARCIA: It's definitely -- it definitely brings good memories and confidence in yourself. But it's a different week. It's a different course, although it looks a bit like it. The rough is tougher. It's a U.S. Open. So you've got to be down to earth, just try as hard as you can and hopefully not make many bogeys.

Q. How many times have you seen that shot from behind the tree since then, and do you ever get tired of seeing it?

SERGIO GARCIA: I actually haven't seen it many times, probably two or three times, at the most.

Q. Where would that rank among your favorite shots?

SERGIO GARCIA: I'll probably put it as No. 1, mainly because, of course difficulty and the moment. I think it probably ranks as No. 1 for me, because of that mixture of things.

RAND JERRIS: Thanks very much for your time. I wish you a lot of luck this week.

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