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BRITISH OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

July 14, 2004

Sergio Garcia

ROYAL TROON, SCOTLAND

STEWART McDOUGALL: Ladies and gentlemen, we have Sergio Garcia. Sergio, you've had two wins so far this year on the PGA Tour, obviously you're in good form. Is that going to continue to week?

SERGIO GARCIA: I hope so. I did take three weeks off, and took some time off and started practicing, about a week, week and a half ago. But I feel like I still have to get a couple of things straight, and I feel like my rhythm is a bit out. But I'm feeling good, and I'm looking forward to it, so we'll give it my best shot.

Q. I just wondered if you're prepared to say what those couple of things are that you're not quite happy with that you might improve on. You said there were a couple of things that you wanted to --

SERGIO GARCIA: Just mainly rhythm, I think.

Q. Mainly rhythm?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah.

Q. Is that important in the windy conditions here?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, definitely. If I get some nice rhythm going and a bit of momentum on my side then we'll be okay. So I'm looking forward to it. And you never know, because you get to a tournament and you somehow get it done. But I'm looking forward to it and hopefully we'll stay dry and a bit of wind and we'll see how it goes.

Q. Three top-10 finishes in The Open the last three years. Do you feel you're getting closer each time, and do you take any consolation from Phil Mickelson who was in a similar position, and he kept putting himself in that position and his victory came?

SERGIO GARCIA: Definitely, I think that what Phil did earlier in the year was great, and also played good at the U.S. Open. I think it's a totally opposite position. I'm 24, he's, I don't know, 34 or something like that. So if you take into account -- if I play half decent for the next ten years, I should have 40 chances of winning a major. I just have to keep putting myself in that position. And I've always said it there's some guys that maybe get a bit of luck here and have one or two chances and they win it and there's some guys that it takes 15 or 20 chances. So it looks like I'm one of those 15 or 20-chances guys. But I'm looking forward to it and I've always looked forward to playing in The Open. So I've been doing pretty well lately at this championship and it would be nice to win one, too.

Q. How different was the course this morning after the rain?

SERGIO GARCIA: I haven't played. I'm going to go play nine now after I finish with you guys.

Q. Is it embarrassing for European golfers since it has been so long since they've been successful in a major?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't think so, I really don't. I think that we have been out there and we have given ourselves chances, there's no reason not to win a major championship. When you get to a major championship, it's probably the toughest tournament to win because of different things, mainly the field is just stronger. The courses are tougher. It tests you, not only in your game, but in your mind. I can't tell you why, but I think we've been up there. We've had chances and unfortunately it hasn't gone the way of the Europeans, but I don't think it's a major deal. I think it's fine. It's just a matter of time.

Q. Which is your favorite major, and why?

SERGIO GARCIA: I've always really enjoyed and really loved The Open and The Masters. They've always been my two favorites.

Q. Why?

SERGIO GARCIA: Why? Well, mainly I'll say The Open because of all the history. It's the one in Europe so I'm probably a bit closer to that and I was able to watch it a bit sooner than others around Spain. And The Masters also because you know about the place and all that goes around Augusta. It's something unbelievable. So probably this one and The Masters are definitely my favorites.

Q. What's the toughest thing for you personally on a course like this to get four good rounds together? Is it keeping your focus, is it picking the right shot, what's the special thing for you?

SERGIO GARCIA: I think more than anything, not only on this course but on a British Open, I think that the most important thing to do is commit to whatever shot you pick at the moment. It gets really tough with the wind and sometimes you really have to hit it against -- really against the wind and maybe you don't feel as comfortable and maybe on those left-to-right winds to try to hook it in there into the wind, but you really have to commit to the shot. And if you don't, if you have any doubts then you're going to struggle. And I think that's one of the most important things. So if you're nice and committed throughout the week then hopefully you can be out there on Sunday.

Q. If the wind is from the northwest into you on the homeward nine, do you think Mickelson, being a left-hander, will be more comfortable than the right-handers?

SERGIO GARCIA: It could be, mainly, because they will be pretty much cutting the ball into the wind, which I think it's a bit easier. But it's still going to be tough and your ball flight has to be controlled so well to be able to hit it around the greens and somewhere around the fairways. And it could definitely have a bit of an advantage there. But that would mean also that on the front nine they'll be playing most of the holes right-to-left, so for them it will be a back wind. The good thing is that downwind it's a bit easier. But, you know, I think that it's going to be tough for everybody if it blows, and more than anything I played on Monday and it blew quite a bit and that back nine was playing really long. It should be -- I think it should be a great test for everybody.

Q. If a left-hander is controlling the ball well then you'll concede he has an edge over the back nine?

SERGIO GARCIA: With that kind of wind it probably does a little bit, yeah.

Q. Is my memory serving me right in '96 when you played at Lytham you became familiar with Lehman and you got to hold the trophy? Remind us of how that happened.

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I played at Lytham and I remember that I ended up missing the cut. And I think it was, I want to say, Friday night and we went to have dinner at an Italian restaurant, and Tom was having dinner right next to us and I just -- I walked to his table and I said to him, you know, I think you deserve to win, it's time for you to win a major. And it looks like he really liked that. And I followed him on Saturday and Sunday when I decided to stay and watch a bit of golf. And I got a chance of walking inside the ropes and it was a bit easier. So I watched a little bit. And at the end when he won he -- we were talking and I was congratulating him and stuff, and he said, "You know what, you better hold on to the cup because I think you better get used to it because you're going to do it. So you better start practicing." So that was nice. And it made me think hopefully I can win this more than once. So it was really a great experience for me being only 16 and playing my first major. It was something that I'll never forget.

Q. Can you remember the first game you ever watched? And tell us about your memories. And how much live TV coverage is there of The Open in Spain?

SERGIO GARCIA: Nowadays, thank God, we have got a lot, not only of majors, but of pretty much both Tours. I think golf has been getting bigger and bigger, not only in Spain but in the whole world. But I probably remember -- I'm sure I probably watched something earlier than that, but when you're 10 or 12 you really don't pay much attention. But probably '95, when John won, and after Costantino Rocca making that putt on 18 from the belly. And so that's probably one of the first memories that come to mind.

And thankfully after that, golf started to get bigger and bigger in Spain so we started getting more coverage, not only about Europe but also about the U.S. and I started watching a bit more.

Q. Do you think some Friday evening you go out to dinner and you bump into Tom Lehman and he said it's time you won The Open, do you think he would be right?

SERGIO GARCIA: I hope so. I don't know. I'm going to try. It would be nice, yeah, if it gets to that point and he says it to me and I end up winning, it would be definitely -- it would definitely be a great experience. But I think I've got to go one step at a time, and I've got to make sure of doing the right things out there and give myself a chance. That's the only thing I can ask for. After that, if I manage to win, it would be great. But at least give myself a chance like I did on the first two.

Q. Do you sometimes think that you pay a little price for being so good so young and so spectacularly good, and it might be easier for you at this point in your career if you had come along more gradually, and the fact that you're playing so well at such a young age that people assume automatically that you will be winning majors? If you had your way again, would you rearrange it?

SERGIO GARCIA: I think that everything happens for a reason, and I'm glad that things have -- the way things have been going for me. I would love to win a major probably as early as '99 when I had my chance at PGA. But I think that there's something positive out of every experience. As I said before, there is -- I think there's guys that maybe get a bit luckier when they have their chance and they come through and win, and there's some other guys that it has taken them a bit longer and a bit more learning experience and getting used to being in that position on majors. And the only thing I can do is keep working hard and keep giving myself chances. That's the only thing I can ask for. I think if I do that I'll definitely come through. I'm positive about that. I feel like I'm good enough to do it. I've just got to keep being aggressive and being positive about it. I think if I do that I'll be fine.

Q. I know that you follow tennis quite closely and go to quite a bit of tournaments with the Spanish guys. Do they speak to you during times like this and give you messages of support?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, sometimes they do. I have two different phone numbers, but they do, and after winning and things like that we call each other and congratulate each other. But normally the tennis players, a lot of the soccer players do send me messages or leave me messages telling me "well done" or "hope you do well this week" and things like that. So I think the support is there. And it's been fun.

Q. Which soccer players in particular?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, pretty much Ronaldo and Miguel Salgado, and those guys sometimes give me a call and ask me how things are going.

Q. Do you know Beckham?

SERGIO GARCIA: I do, yeah.

Q. Do you want him to stay next season?

SERGIO GARCIA: I want him to stay as many seasons as he wants to. I think he's a wonderful player and he's good for Madrid, but I don't know. I think you've also got to be happy, and if something is bothering him or his family I think he should take care of it.

STEWART McDOUGALL: Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts.

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