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October 28, 2004

Sergio Garcia


SERGIO GARCIA: I think that it was a really nice round. It was a tough day, although, you know, it rained quite a bit yesterday and last night; that made the greens play a bit softer. But with the wind and the fairways still being fairly firm, you know, it wasn't easy to play out there.

But, you know, I managed to play pretty decently. I gave myself a lot of chances and hit some pretty good shots. Probably just a shame I didn't manage to make one of those last two putts. But other than that, I made some nice ones throughout the round. So I'm happy with it.

Q. What were the last two putts you didn't make?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, 17, I had probably about a 9-footer. And 18, I probably had about a seven-footer for birdie.

Q. You've flown the flag for the Ryder Cup Team today, rather than being blown all over the place, stood up for it.

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I wasn't really thinking about that. I was just trying to make sure to play consistently, not take many chances, just to attack the right holes. You know, just give yourself chances for birdies. I managed to make a couple, a really nice putt on 15 and 16, and that was pretty much it.

Q. What were the distances there?

SERGIO GARCIA: 15, I made about a 10-footer. Yeah, about a 10-, 12-footer for par.

16, I made a nice birdie there from about -- probably from about 25 feet after hitting a 4-iron from 157 yards, slice 4-iron.

Q. Because of how demanding the course is, are you apprehensive on the first tee or very confident at being able to handle it?

SERGIO GARCIA: I've always enjoyed -- I've always told you guys that I really enjoy when a course is tough. Because I feel like you can get away with your ball-striking and you don't have to be thinking that you have to make every single putt to be up there. You know, there are some courses where if you don't pretty much make every putt, you don't have a chance of winning.

Here, you can go through a round where you really don't make that many putts, but if your ball-striking is good, you know, you shoot an even round, an even-par round or 1-under, something like that, you're still in the tournament.

So, you know, I've always enjoyed that kind of play. That's why I've always enjoyed the majors when they are playing tough.

Q. So when you compete in Spain, do you feel a little bit more relaxed or do you feel as though there's more expectation on you to perform well?

SERGIO GARCIA: Pretty much the same. I probably want it a bit harder than some other places. But it's still the same, still the same feeling. Still the trying of winning and putting yourself in contention.

You know, when you're out there, I really can't -- I really can't think if I'm in Spain or England or U.S. or whatever; I'm just trying to get the job done.

Q. Did you hit any poor shots today, anything that you would consider a bad shot?

SERGIO GARCIA: To tell you the truth, just misjudged the chip. That's all I can think of. The bogey I made on 3, I hit a great low drawing 6-iron straight off the flag and unfortunately I misjudged the wind a little bit and I didn't get up-and-down. I had a tough chip.

Then I had a flyer on 5, but I hit it, it was a good swing. It was just straight over the pin, just a flyer and went into the back bunker.

Other than that, every shot I pretty much hit the way I wanted. I can't really think of any really bad shots that I hit out there today.

Q. What would you say par was out there today when the wind got up?

SERGIO GARCIA: On a par 4, 4; and on a par 5, 5.

Q. If you're 4-under against Valderrama, but the par score for the day?

SERGIO GARCIA: Today with the wind and everything, as I said before, the greens because of the rain were a bit softer, so that was the only good thing about it. But I would probably say that par was probably about somewhere around 73.

Q. Have you ever had nightmares around here, have you ever had really, really bad holes you've played on this course?


Q. 17?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, 17 I've always done well. I'm lucky on that one, probably because I like it. So I'm looking forward to playing that hole when most of the people are not.

I remember two years ago, I made 9 on the fourth hole. I remember I hit it in the left bunker, and the tee, it was howling, there was a lot of wind and into on the right. I hit in the left bunker and right up against the lip, I hit a 7-iron and it hit a bit heavy and the wind took it. Hit it just left of the fairway and the ball was lying really well. It was lying really high. Took a couple of acorns about a foot away from the ball and all of a sudden a gust of wind came and the ball moved. So I had to call myself a penalty shot and then chipped it out and hit my third, bounced it on top and spun it into the water and dropped and hit down again on the green and 2-putted for a nice, one-digit nine. At least I kept it out of the double-digits.

Q. How did you react?

SERGIO GARCIA: How did I react? I pretty much just went to the next tee and just got on with it. I thought, you know, what can you do? It's one of those things that happens and just I actually reacted pretty nicely because I think I was -- I think I was -- I think started well. I think I was like 1-under and made that, or even par. So I was like four or 5-over through four and I ended up with a lot of windy think I ended up shooting 1- or 2-over, so it was a pretty good solid round. I think I was 5-over after four, yeah.

Q. Are you playing in the TOUR Championship?


Q. How are you -- what are your travel arrangements?

SERGIO GARCIA: My traveling plan?

Q. From here to there?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I'll go to Madrid on Sunday night, spend the night there, and then we'll fly on Monday morning straight to Atlanta.

Q. Private planes?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, not across the Atlantic, no. Not yet. I'm not big-time yet. (Laughter.) I'm working on it though.

Q. Is that something that you would consider, though, in the future?

SERGIO GARCIA: You know, if you can get a nice deal, it's definitely nice to have something like Ernie, you know, he has a nice plane and gets a really good deal there. It makes it just easier. I mean, I usually fly private around the U.S. and pretty much around Europe. But overseas, it's just, I don't think it's worth it at the moment for me.

Q. Will you please rate your golf at the end of last year on a scale of one to ten and will you please rate it on a scale of one to ten now.

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I think that at the end of last year, my game was -- I was actually quite happy with it, as I told you, from the American Express on, I felt like I played very nicely. So I would probably say game was -- the long game was probably about an eight, my short game was probably about a two out of ten.

So this year, my long game is probably about a nine, nine and a half. I feel like I have a bit more control over the ball than I did at the end of last year; it was a different situation though. My short game, well, my short game to me, it's the best it's ever been, but I would probably say I'm about a seven out of ten.

Q. So from that, we assume that the biggest improvement throughout the year has been in the short game.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, definitely.

Q. That's why you have played better and more consistently?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, the results have been better. The game has been -- has been very nice all year long. Unfortunately, you know, if you look at my putting stats the first six, seven months of the year and you look at my putting stats the last three, you can see a huge difference. The game is pretty much still the same. I'm hitting a lot of greens, hitting quite a lot of fairways and giving myself quite a lot of birdie opportunities. I'm just making more than I used to.

Q. Do you look at the World Rankings and think it's a fair reflection of where you are at the moment?

SERGIO GARCIA: I think so, yeah. Mainly because, you know, I struggled throughout the beginning of last year and the end of -- yeah, probably about the beginning of last year. So I just had to get back to it.

I think, yeah, it's fair. You are what you deserve.

Q. Could we go through the birdies on the front nine?

SERGIO GARCIA: 3, I've already told you, 6-iron straight over the pin, just over the green. Not an easy chip. Hit it a bit too hard, about 12, 15 feet, missed it.

Next hole, pulled it just a little bit with a drive. Just off the fairway. Hit a good 5-iron from there to lay up to, I want to say 88 yards -- 94 yards. No, 86 yards. Sorry. Hit a little sand wedge, pretty good shot, just over the pin, probably about a 12-footer.

6, I hit a nice shot with the 8-iron from 171 to about 14 feet. Made that.

8, I hit a nice 2-iron off the tee, a nice low draw a little punch, pitching wedge from about 117 yards, almost holed it to about two feet.

11, I hit another good drive down the middle, hit a 4-iron from there from 231 downwind. Hit it just in the left bunker, pretty good bunker shot to about six feet and made it.

On 16, I hit a good drive just on the right-hand side of the fairway. Had to hit a really small slice 4-iron from 157. Hit it to about 25 feet and made it. And that was it.

Q. Would that 4-iron be as good a shot as any in the round; into the wind, obviously?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, into the wind. I don't know. It was definitely a good shot. I felt comfortable with it. I had a similar shot last year. I hit a 5-iron and I remember I hit it stiff. So the vibrations were good. I was comfortable with it. But the shot on 8 was really good. I don't know, there were a lot of good shots out there.

Q. Is it a driver from the tee?


End of FastScripts.

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