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June 13, 2004

Sergio Garcia

HARRISON, NEW YORK

CHRIS REIMER: Sergio, congratulations, fifth Tour victory puts you over the $2 million mark, 5th on the Money List now.

SERGIO GARCIA: Thanks.

CHRIS REIMER: Start off -- it seems like yesterday and today, both rounds you started off a little slow and then on the back nine you did exactly what you needed to do to be sitting in the chair now. Talk about the difference early in your rounds and then later in your rounds.

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I did start a bit slow both days, although I felt like I was hitting good shots. You know, I made a couple three-putts yesterday on 4 and 8, I think it was, and today I three-putted 3. I made a bad drive on 2.

But I felt like the game was there. I felt like if I was patient and I just kept playing my game, I felt like I could make some birdies because I've done well on this course and I feel comfortable on it.

I was lucky enough to get on a run there, birdieing 7, 8, 9 and 10, and then unfortunately I three-putted 12, but some of those holes were playing quite tough.

I was expecting to make a couple bogeys here and there, but I knew that I could give myself some good chances at birdies.

Q. 19 straight rounds of par or better on this course. What is it about this course that you like?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know, it's funny, but I've always felt -- since the first time, since the first year I played here, I've always felt comfortable on it.

I felt like it's a course that I can see what I want to do off the tee on pretty much every hole. I like the shots to the green, and it always plays tough, and I've always enjoyed those tournaments where you don't feel like you're going to birdie every hole.

So I think that's probably one of the reasons why I've been fortunate enough to do well here.

Q. The broadcast in the media center went out for the playoff holes so if you could quickly just take us through the three playoff holes, distances and club selections.

SERGIO GARCIA: All right. All three players?

Q. No, just you.

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, on the first playoff hole I blocked it a little bit with the driver and hit it just in the rough, hit it out of there with a sand iron down to the fairway, then had 104 yards to the hole into the wind. I tried to skip it out there with a sand wedge and pulled it a little bit, probably about 16 feet, 17 feet, and I was a bit too careful with my first putt, hit it about two and a half feet short, made that.

Then of course as you guys know, Harrington misses his opportunity to win there from about eight feet or so.

Then on 17 I hit a good 2-iron down the middle, hit a very nice pitching wedge from 136, wind just a bit down on the right. I gave myself a good birdie opportunity there probably from about 12 feet down the hill. I hit a good putt, unfortunately I misread that putt and it broke a bit more than what we thought.

Then I made about a three and a half, four-footer coming back to stay in it.

Then on 18 with Rory, I blocked it again with my driver, hit it in the right bunker, hit a good 5-iron from there, hit it to 94 yards to the pin, and I hit the same shot I hit earlier with a sand wedge, but this time I hit it a little better, probably hit it about seven feet, just left the pin a little downhill right to left turn just on the right edge and made it pretty much in the middle.

Q. What does this do for your confidence heading into the Open coming off a victory?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, it's great, but as I was saying before when they were asking me on TV, even if I would have not won here, I'd still be confident because I've been playing well. But it definitely helps. Every time you get a win, it's that much sweeter. But I'm really looking forward to next week. I feel like I know what I want to do on the course, I feel like my game is responding quite well, and thanks to a couple tips that Brad Faxon gave me earlier in the week, my putting has been coming along nicely this week.

I just hope to keep that momentum, ride that momentum to next week, and hopefully get it going there and give myself at least -- if I can, give myself a chance on the back nine on Sunday. That's all you can ask for and then see what happens.

Q. Can you just compare this win today as compared to three years ago when you won here? How much more of a complete player are you? In a way, even though it was a playoff in three holes, was it easier because you had much more confidence in yourself?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I was definitely a lot calmer on the course. I felt like I was a lot more in control. So that definitely helped. But they're both great wins. I couldn't say this one was better. But I probably -- I played really one in 2001, too. I felt like everything was really going my way. I felt like I was hitting the ball nicely, and every time that Scott Hoch did something, I made it on top of him. So it was a good way to stop him.

But they were both great. This course has just been really good to me. I'm very pleased and very thankful about that.

Q. What did Fax tell you, anything you want to share?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, pretty much, as you guys know, I've been working quite hard on my putting, but pretty much it's been just the stroke. It felt like the last month and a half or so like the stroke was feeling good, but maybe the way of approaching the putter or something around it was a bit off.

So I know he's a great guy, he's a good friend of mine, and what better person to ask than probably the best putter in the world. So I just asked him a bit what does he think when he's going to hit a putt or what does he go through and stuff like that.

You know, he helped me a bit with the routine, making it a bit quicker so you don't give yourself a chance of thinking too much, and also just to not worry about the result, just make sure that you putt the best stroke you can putt and hit it where you think is the right place to hit it. You know, if it goes in, perfect, but if not, still leave the green thinking, you know, I hit the putt exactly where I wanted. I didn't make it but I did what I wanted to do, so keep that positive thinking throughout your putting.

You know, it definitely really helped. I felt really comfortable. I felt as calm as I've ever been with my putt throughout the whole week. I felt like I was in control. I knew what I wanted to do. That's really good.

Q. When did you get this little lesson?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I talked to him on Thursday afternoon after the round.

Q. After the first round?

SERGIO GARCIA: After the first round, yes.

Q. Do you feel now with these last couple of wins and the results now coming that the fruits of your labor with the swing changes is really now starting to hone in?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, definitely, but we go back to the result thing, you know, as we were talking about with the putting. I felt even earlier in the year, I felt like the game was there. I felt like I was doing what I wanted to do on the course, and it was just a matter of waiting for it, letting it happen.

Sometimes I think that's the beauty of this game; sometimes we try too hard. We want to push it, we want to see results, we want to see it go in. Sometimes the easiest way of doing well is just letting it happen.

You know, that's mainly what I've been trying to do. After The Masters I really was a bit frustrated about getting results and things like that, and I just thought, you know, just take it easy and just play. You know you're playing well, so if you let it happen, it's going to change sometime.

You know, Byron Nelson was great and then here again.

Q. Did you feel immediately as a follow-up to the Masters that day, I think I saw that as soon as you drove off the grounds you knew you let yourself snap a little bit and were a little off base?

SERGIO GARCIA: It was a tough week, and I felt like -- same thing we were talking about. I felt like I was playing really well. I felt like I should have a better chance of winning the tournament. I'm not saying that I should have won it, but I should have had a better chance.

You know, I was just a bit frustrated about that, mainly because I was looking so much for results and doing well and things like that.

It was a great way to kick or jump start me, whatever, so to be able to play as well as I did on Sunday at The Masters, that gave me a lot much confidence coming into the next weeks.

Q. Just on another subject, European players haven't won a U.S. Open in 34 years or something. Does that matter to you or weigh at all if you would win or Harrington would win? Does that matter to you at all?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, not really. I'm not going to be out there next week -- if I have a chance of winning, thinking, "A European hasn't won in 34 years, so maybe I almost have to win" (laughter). Those are just little things. I really don't care too much about those. I go about my business. I know that if I believe in myself and if I do the right things, I'll have a chance of winning, and then that's all you can do. That's one of those things that it hasn't happened for a while, and it's just a curiosity, but I wouldn't give it more importance than it has.

Q. Have you ever played Shinnecock?

SERGIO GARCIA: Unfortunately not.

Q. So you really don't know much about it except --

SERGIO GARCIA: I've heard things about it, but unfortunately I haven't played it, no.

Q. You're 4 and 1 in playoffs, you won a playoff a month ago. Do you have a particular strategy when you're in a playoff?

SERGIO GARCIA: Try to win it. That's the biggest thing. I've been fortunate enough to do pretty well in playoffs, not only here in the U.S. but also around the world. I've won two Sun Citys in a playoff and some other tournaments, so I feel pretty comfortable in them. I feel pretty calm. I believe in myself and I just give it my best. I don't know why, but I've always felt calm and comfortable.

Q. You don't get more conservative or more aggressive?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, you pretty much try the same thing, and then sometimes it goes the right way and sometimes it doesn't. You know, I don't think you should change your strategy. It's just another hole, so you shouldn't change.

Q. Given that Mickelson won The Masters a lot of golf fans are probably looking at you as the next guy that's going to break through. Are you comfortable with that expectation?

SERGIO GARCIA: I'm not worried about it. You know, I think that I've been working hard, and of course my goal is to win a major any time as soon as possible. But the thrill of putting yourself in contention and having a chance at winning tournaments, that's a great feeling, too.

I've just got to keep doing the things I've been doing and hopefully I will win one soon, but I think that it's just a matter of time. So I've just got to wait for it. As I said before, I've got to wait for it and let it happen.

Q. After the third hole, I think you indicated that you had three-putted and I think you fell four or five back of the lead. Did this theory of just trying to let it happen, feeling comfortable, hit the ball well on the green and then try to make it, was that what got you propelled going forward or was it something else?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, and also knowing that I've done well on this course, that I've always been up there on this tournament. That also helped quite a bit. But I knew that I could get it going sometime, the way I was playing. I knew that it was just a matter of just a hole here, a putt here, something like that, and I was fortunate enough to get it going on the 7th hole.

From then on, I felt like I was giving myself chance after chance after chance, and that's the only thing you can do when the course is playing this tough as it was playing today, and I was able to take some of those chances and get myself into a playoff.

Q. It sounds like the work on your attitude has been as important as anything to your success. Did someone suggest that to you or did you just reach that conclusion on your own that you had to change?

SERGIO GARCIA: I always talk to my parents, my mom and my dad, and also my caddie. We always talk about the way of going around the course and things like that. Nobody else special other than those three. I felt like my parents, they've always been there for me. They really know the way I feel. They know me really, really well and they know when something is wrong. So they really have a way of just taking care of those things nicely, and they've helped me a lot.

CHRIS REIMER: Thank you, Sergio.

End of FastScripts.

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