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WGC NEC INVITATIONAL

August 17, 2005

Sergio Garcia

AKRON, OHIO

TODD BUDNICK: We thank Sergio Garcia, currently ninth on the U.S. Money List and sixth in the world for stopping by here at the 2005 WGC NEC Championship. Sergio had nine Top 10s in WGC events, just one here, T7 in 1999.

You were talking about the course and saying how hard it is already out there today.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, it's really firm. It's in great shape. It's very, very good. The greens and the fairways are quite firm already, so if the weather stays like it is then it's beautiful out there, then it's going to be great. It's going to be playing hard, difficult, and it's quite a bit of rough, so driving the ball fairly accurately is going to be important.

The greens are not as big as last week, so it's going to be tougher to hit as many greens as in some of the other tournaments, but I'm looking forward to it. It looks really nice.

TODD BUDNICK: Talk about coming off a major and straight into an event like this where it's a smaller field but the top players in the world are here two weeks in a row.

SERGIO GARCIA: It's great. Anytime you can compete in these kind of events where you get such strong fields, it's always a great experience. You can take a lot of positives out of those weeks. So I'm looking forward to hopefully having another good week and put myself up there and give myself a good chance of winning.

I feel like the game is in pretty good shape. I feel like everything is coming together and it's just a matter of going out there and doing the right things.

TODD BUDNICK: You mentioned winning earlier, which you did at the Booz Allen Classic back in June. How much did that mean to your season.

SERGIO GARCIA: Winning, it's always wonderful because it takes that bit of extra pressure out of you. But on the other side, you still can't be like you still have to try to get better and try to win as many times as possible.

That's what we're trying, and I gave myself a couple good opportunities. I usually don't play much in the summer, but I gave myself a couple good ones, and hopefully I can finish the year and give myself some other good ones that hopefully I'll manage to get through.

Q. This course would suit your game. You hit long, you putt well, but you've had a sort of streaky performance here, like you had a 64 two years ago. What makes it so hard to keep up a good performance?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. It's weird, though, because I feel like it's a great golf course for me, as you just mentioned. I really feel like I've played better than what I've finished here.

I remember a couple years I was doing very well and I had bad finishes, so I probably went from finishing something like Top 3 or 4 to finishing maybe 12th or 13th, something like that. But I really feel like it's a well suited golf course for me, and if I'm able to go out there and maintain my calm and hopefully perform well, I think that I should have a good chance of winning here because I feel comfortable on the course.

But it's a course that you have to be on every single round. You can't be hitting the ball all over the place and trying to get away with it because it's surrounded by trees, a tree lined course. Usually I don't miss the fairways by much, so that means that on these kind of courses when I miss it, it's just underneath the trees, so the shots are a bit tougher.

But hopefully I'll get it going and have a good chance.

Q. What's your schedule the rest of the season?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I'm taking next week off, then I'll be playing Omega Masters in Switzerland, and I have not finalized yet, but at the moment it's looking like probably taking three weeks off and then coming back here for Greensboro and American Express.

Q. (Inaudible).

SERGIO GARCIA: Still thinking about it. It'll be too many tournaments in a row.

Q. Where do you rank this season? Obviously you've had a win in the U.S. but you're still looking for that elusive major championship. Where do you rank this season in regards to the other ones?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I think it's been a solid season. I wouldn't say it's been extraordinary, mainly because I haven't putted well. So if you realize if you take a look at that, I think it's a good season if you look at my putting stats.

I think that to be to have won once here in the U.S., had quite a lot of Top 10s, be in the Top 10 at least and be performing quite well in the majors, being like 190th or something like that in the putting stats, still a pretty good effort.

It's a shame because I really felt like my game was very, very good this year, and I haven't been able to take advantage of that. But I feel like it's getting closer and closer. It's just a matter of keep working on the things I'm working and keep getting better.

Q. What are you working on specifically in the putting arena?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I've worked quite a bit mainly on my stroke and getting my alignment right. I used to be kind of like quite a bit aimed right closed and kind of hooking the ball a little bit. So I worked on that, and it's getting much better.

The other thing I'm working pretty hard on is trying to keep my head as straight as possible through impact, and I've been doing a better job lately. I've found something that I think is going to help me a lot, and I'm looking forward to having a good end of the season.

Q. Do you think it's a more technical thing with the putting rather than the reading of the greens?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, definitely. I know what I'm feeling out there, and I've always been a good reader of the greens, and when I'm when I feel good about my stroke and I feel like everything is going the way I want it to, I can make a lot of putts. I'm not worried about that. Even if I was, I have a good caddie that can read the greens very well, too, so that's not a problem.

Q. Was that a little tip from Adam Scott?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, of course I'm still using that, but more than anything, that's to give you to get you in the right frame of mind. This is to make sure that I keep my head still because I usually kind of get a little bit I want to see what is going on and kind of look a little bit this way (indicating left) and then you don't hit in the middle of the putter face.

Q. Who is this little tip from?

SERGIO GARCIA: From me.

Q. A tip from yourself?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes.

Q. Did you see yourself on TV or something?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, just trying to feel something. I've always tried to go by just tried to feel something that feels comfortable and easy to repeat.

Q. Is it the most frustrating putting, everybody can obviously do it relatively well. It doesn't seem like it's functionally that difficult, like trying to hit a driver. To you is that maybe the most frustrating, the fact that you get done with a tournament and realize that your putting stats are not where you want them to be, like I don't know how they can be that way?

SERGIO GARCIA: No. Well, you also have to realize that stats sometimes lie a little bit. But the most important thing for me is coming out, feeling like if I putted well or not. Sometimes it might feel or it might say that I didn't putt that great, and I come out of a tournament thinking, you know, I don't think I putted that badly. I felt like my stroke was there and maybe I didn't make as many putts. But when you hit a lot of greens, you're also going to miss more putts. So you're always going to feel like you're leaving some shots out there.

So I think mainly for me it's just a feel kind of question where I come out of the tournament thinking, you know, I really like the way I rolled the putter this week, the way I was rolling the ball. Probably I could make more or less putts but at least feel like I was giving it the best chance possible.

Q. Have there been many tournaments where you've felt that way this year?

SERGIO GARCIA: It's been two or three where I felt like I putted well but I didn't really make many putts, and then there has been some tournaments where I've come out knowing that I putted badly, mainly because I wasn't getting any good chances, so it's been a bit of both, but I think it's getting closer to the other one, to the better side of it, and I'm actually starting to make a bit more putts. So it's just a matter of gaining a bit more consistency.

Q. How many putters have you gone through during this time period? Do you change putters a lot?

SERGIO GARCIA: I mean, not lately. I've been really comfortable with my Monza Corza, my Taylor Made putter. I've been putting with it for almost four months now. I had the old abrasion before that I putted I putted last year a little bit and I probably putted for about another couple of months before that, so I've been going pretty much with the same putter for about six months because I feel comfortable with this putter. At the beginning of the season I did change a little bit more and tried to get a little bit of feel and a different thought on it or something, but I'm comfortable with what I have now and I feel like I roll the ball nicely, so that's the most important thing for me. It's just a matter of waiting and being positive when I go onto the greens, knowing that I'm going to make it.

Q. Do you fiddle with things like length on the putter or the shaft or anything?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, I've pretty much always been 33 inches, pretty consistent in that. I did try early on in the season with 35, trying to get my body up and my arms a bit closer to my body, but it didn't quite work. No, I'm pretty happy the way it's going at the moment. It's just a matter of just keeping it going on the right track.

Q. How long does it take you to feel comfortable with the putter that you change to?

SERGIO GARCIA: Actually it took me nothing. I tried it I had the other one the normal Monza one for about two and a half months starting, I think it was Wachovia, I think it was, something like that, and then I changed to the other one. I tried the new one, the Monza Corza, at Colonial for one round, and then I tried it back on again because it felt good, and the first time I played, I think it was Booz Allen, and it was great there.

Mainly for me, if I put the putter down and it looks good, it feels good, that's the most important thing for me. Just it looks good, and then when I strike it, it feels like a solid stroke. That's what I'm getting with this one and why I'm happy with it. Although I've had bad putting rounds, I haven't changed it.

Q. A win at one of these World Golf Championship events, where does that rank for you in regards to wins? It's obviously not a major, but is it right above that but yet you won Booz Allen this year against a good field at a quality golf course.

SERGIO GARCIA: I think that any win is a great win. Of course a major is special, kind of like THE PLAYERS Championship is special, too, so it probably ranks up there with the majors. A World Tour event probably ranks just below that, just below a major and THE PLAYERS Championship. But still, it's not much far it's not very far away from a Booz Allen or Bay Hill or Byron Nelson. They're all tucked in together, and I guess there's little steps in between them, but there's not much difference.

Q. Most players talk about coming here because the field is so good and you're playing against everybody else. If the field was this good on a quality golf course and the purse was $2.5 million, do you think as many guys would show up?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. I can't talk for them.

Q. How about yourself?

SERGIO GARCIA: I definitely would. I really like this course. I think it's a wonderful course. I think the way the tournament is run makes it very easy to come in and enjoy this week, so I would probably definitely come, no doubt about it, but I can't talk for the rest of the guys. They have their own reasons.

Q. Anything in Akron you look forward to eating somewhere special or doing something?

SERGIO GARCIA: We always enjoy going to that restaurant, I think it's called Baker's. It's a wonderful restaurant. Some of the best tomatoes in the world.

TODD BUDNICK: On that note, thank you very much Sergio. Good luck this week.

End of FastScripts.

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