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August 9, 2005

Sergio Garcia


JULIUS MASON: Sergio Garcia, ladies and gentlemen, playing in the 87th PGA Championship. Sergio is playing in his seventh PGA Championship.

Sergio, welcome to Baltusrol Golf Club. Tell us what you think about the golf course and then we'll go to Q&A.

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, the golf course, the golf course is good, a very long golf course. The rough is quite thick. So, you know, as it always is, driving the ball well in a major is very important. This week is no exception.

The greens are quite big, so they are not too difficult to hit, although you are hitting a lot of long irons, but you are going to have a lot of putts with a lot of break that are going to be quite tough.

You know, it's just pretty much the same thing, it's just driving the ball well and putting well and being good around the greens is going to be key.

Q. With the possibility of rain over the next few days what kind of adjustments would you make in your game? And for people who hit the ball low off the tee, is that a disadvantage for them if it does rain?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, somebody who hits it low off the tee is going to hit it low off the tee; doesn't matter what adjustments they make, that's their game. I don't think there's a whole lot of difference. You've just got to realize the course is going to play a little bit longer, and it's going to be the same for everybody. You know, just the good thing is those guys that hit the ball a bit longer, a bit shorter, you know that they are really good with the long clubs. They can hit their woods and they can hit their long irons pretty well. So they can still manage to shoot a decent score, but we'll see.

Hopefully we don't get much rain and it will be nice to see the course starting to firm up and stuff. But unfortunately the predictions don't look that great.

Q. Do you think Tiger is back to where he was in 2000, and is it good or bad for golf when he's the dominating player?


Q. Do you think Tiger is back to where he was in 2000, and is it good or bad for golf when he's the dominant player?

SERGIO GARCIA: 2000? 2000 was Sahalee Valhalla. He's not back at where he was in 2000 for sure; he's playing well, I don't know, he's got his problems and I've got my problems and we'll try to work those out.

But I'm looking forward to this week. I think it's going to be very exciting and hopefully I can get it going and give myself a chance, so that will be good.

Q. Some players play one practice round or two before a major, some players like Phil Mickelson will have played three or four by Thursday; what method of preparation do you prefer going into a major and why?

SERGIO GARCIA: I usually play a couple. I don't think that you're going to learn much from playing four or five times. I think that with a couple of times you see everything that you need to see and you don't see too much. Sometimes seeing too much is not good, either, because you start worrying about things too much and don't just let go of it.

So I like to play a couple of rounds and I think that's been working well for me and that's the way I do it.

Q. What are your impressions of the 17th hole? I lot of guys are talking about it. And the second part of that is, it's 650 yards, could we be staring at a 700 yard par 5 soon?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, the way things are going, it looks like it.

I don't know which is the best, the best way of doing these things, but it seems like, yeah, adding yardage is the easiest thing to do and that is the way we're going. To me, it does feel like a 650 yard par 5 that has bunkers in the middle for the lay up and everything, if you miss the fairway, unless you get a decent lie, it's going to be tough to hit over those bunkers. Today, I just missed the fairway by two feet and I had to hit just like a little wedge and a 3 iron into the green. So I don't know if that's the best setup, but that's the way it is this week, so we just hopefully have to hit it in the fairway as many times as possible.

For as long as the hole is, it does seem like it's fair.

Q. Do you have any special affinity for this tournament, since '99 was kind of the stage where most Americans learned who you were?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, the PGA Championship has always been a fun tournament for me. I've had the pleasure of playing fairly well on it. Unfortunately I haven't been able to win it yet, but, you know, it's one of those tournaments that of course I would love to win by when my career ends.

Hopefully I can give myself a chance this week. I like the course. I need to, you know, feel a little bit better. My back is a bit sore. But other than that, I'm looking forward to it and hopefully I can get it going a little bit.

Q. How do you feel about the first seven holes as an opening stretch of the golf course?

SERGIO GARCIA: It's good. There's some really good holes out there. You know, you've got a couple of tee shots that are tough; like the third hole, it's quite a difficult tee shot, you have a couple holes in a row that I think it's 6 and 7 are long holes, or 5 and 6, something like that.

And the par 3s are all long, so it's going to be it's going to be challenging and it looks like we're going to be fortunate in the way of the weather because it's toughened up the course a little bit so you can still hit some 2 and 3 , 4 irons and stop the ball fairly quickly, that makes it a bit easier (softly).

It's something that you can hopefully take advantage of.

Q. Since you were nice enough to point out that we're in New Jersey now, I'm going to assume that you're not back to where you were in 1999, but I'm wondering if there's any sense of impatience on your part knowing that in 1999, you were only 19, you came very close to winning this tournament, your first major, and maybe you got a sense then that that would be a regular thing, contending in and maybe winning majors, and yet you haven't come close since.

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, closer than second is only first, so it's tough to come closer than second without winning to start with.

Second of all, I have been close. I've been very, very close, many times. But unfortunately things haven't worked. They haven't gone my way. You've got to realize that a lot of these majors, I'm contending without really putting well, and that's a tough thing to do. I've just got to get the potato going a little bit, get the putter going a little bit and hole some putts here and there and if things start going my way, I'm sure I'll have a good chance. But I'm really not psychic about it, I'm not too worried about it at the moment, and I just want to focus and keep playing well like I am and hole some more putts and then I'll know that we'll be there.

Q. The setups for all four majors are distinctly different. Do you favor one over the others, maybe a PGA setup for its championship compared to the U.S. Open?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. I guess I've always said that my favorite ones are the British Open and The Masters. But I've also said that probably the U.S. Open is the one that suits my game the best because it challenges you to hit a lot of drivers off the tee and you have to hit it fairly straight, and I'm usually pretty good at that.

So this week, it's similar. It's a course where you have to hit a lot of drivers, because if not, you're going to be having very, very long clubs into the greens, and the rough is still pretty thick, so if you don't manage to get in the fairway, you're going to struggle a little bit to hit on the greens.

I like the way this course is set up. Hopefully I can get it going a little bit and give myself a good chance. It's something that I'm really looking forward to and we'll see if it happens.

Q. You said earlier that you had a sore back; is that something that's just happened or have you had trouble with it for a couple of days?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, it just happened, just a little bit sore on the upper part of my back. It bothered me a little bit today, but it wasn't too bad, so I'll get it sorted out this afternoon, and hopefully by tomorrow I'll be sweet.

Q. Another geography question, awfully close to New York, I was just curious if you noticed a difference between the New York and New Jersey fans and how the galleries have responded to you?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, no, the galleries are great. The tournament hasn't started, so everything is pretty quiet at the moment.

No, the galleries are really nice, and there's a lot of people out there, so it's nice to see. You know, hopefully it's going to be enjoyable throughout the week. Hopefully we can get a bit of better weather coming and a bit of sun and it will make everybody a bit happier. It should be fun to watch all of the people and it's going to be a good atmosphere.

Q. They talk about inclement weather coming in on Thursday and Friday; are there any aspects of your game or certain holes that you're going to have to adjust to if the rain comes, and what are you going to have to do?

SERGIO GARCIA: Not really. Still pretty much the same thing. You just realize that the golf course is going to play a bit softer and your long irons are going to be spot on, or they are going to have to be spot on. Other than that, it's just the same thing, nothing really changes.

JULIUS MASON: Questions? Sergio, thanks very much for coming down today.

End of FastScripts.

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