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THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

July 12, 2005

Sergio Garcia

ST. ANDREWS, SCOTLAND

STEWART McDOUGALL: Ladies and gentlemen, Sergio Garcia.

Sergio, the weather perhaps you would like, being from Spain, you're used to this weather. How is it going into the championship?

SERGIO GARCIA: It's good, the course is in very good shape. I'd say it's quite a bit different from where it was playing in 2000, last time we played here. But I'm hoping that the wind is going to pick up a little bit. We don't want another Open Championship at St. Andrews with almost no wind, like it was five years ago. But the changes have made the course quite a bit tougher. You have to be on with your driver and with your tee shots. So it's going to be interesting to see how things go, but as I said before, hopefully we can get some wind to make it a bit more challenging.

Q. I'm not suggesting you've been in it, but the rough is quite tough this year. Have you noticed a big difference in that?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, definitely. It's much thicker. I think some of the fairways are a bit narrower, as I was saying before. So driving the ball well is going to be huge. I think five years ago it was just hit it pretty much as high as you can, carry all the bunkers. But this year you can't really do that on some of the holes, because if you miss the fairway, just miss it, miss it three yards, which is not a bad tee shot, it's going to be you're going to struggle to get some control on your ball. And it's nice to see the course playing that way, because I think it's the way it's supposed to play and hopefully if the wind blows a little bit it's going to be a very nice Open Championship. So we're hoping for a bit of that.

Q. You had a chance to play with Vijay at the final round in Pinehurst?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, I didn't. Third round.

Q. Having seen his game up close and watching what Tiger has done this year, if you had to pick which one was No. 1 right now, who would you choose?

SERGIO GARCIA: If I had to choose if I had to choose a month ago I probably would say Vijay. At the moment probably Tiger is just ahead. But when they're both on, I still feel like Vijay is a better driver of the ball. But Tiger is although Vijay is pretty good around the greens, Tiger is a little better around there. It's quite tight.

Q. Is it a sign of how close it is that it can change over a period of a month?

SERGIO GARCIA: Definitely. They can both get hot and win three or four tournaments in a couple of months. So it's pretty tight.

Q. As the highest ranked European player in the world, can you explain why a European hasn't won since Paul Lawrie six years ago? Can you tell us if you think that's going to change soon?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. It's just one of those things. But it's something we're working on. We definitely had our chances, but unfortunately it's not that easy and not that simple. So hopefully we can start doing it this week. I was fairly close at the U.S. Open. This year I feel like I played pretty well, well enough to win. Unfortunately I didn't putt the way I wanted to on the weekend, but I think we're all getting there. It's just one of those little things that happens. But hopefully it will end up soon.

Q. Can you talk about the Road Hole, your strategy, what you've been hitting in this week and how it's playing this week, and is that bunker noticeably different by the green?

SERGIO GARCIA: It definitely is different. The lip is lower. They kind of changed it a little bit, just around it, too. But it's still a tough shot. I guess it's a bit easier to get it out now, but we'll see how it plays during the week. And I played it today. That was my first round and I hit just a little smooth cut 3 wood and a 7 iron to the middle of the green.

As I said before, five years ago, that hole, there was no rough on the right and there wasn't much rough on the left. Even if you missed the fairway, you could still kind of get it down there. But now if you just lose the fairway on the right and you're in the rough, it's huge. It's going to be really tough to, even if you get some sort of a lie, to get it going on a good line because there's so much grass. And also on the left is quite thick. So I think it's going to make quite a bit of difference.

Q. Does that fairway seem narrower down the landing area this time?

SERGIO GARCIA: It does to me. It's not like it was I'm not saying that it was wide before, but probably maybe three or four yards, but mainly as thick as it is around it still looks a lot more intimidating. Because five years ago, even if you missed it when you were walking down the fairway you could watch around and look around and see that it was okay even to miss it. But now you look around and it's like, I better be in the fairway, because if not I'm in trouble.

Q. Have you had an adventure in The Open or at the Dunhill Cup or anything?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, I've only played The Open in 2000, and one Dunhill Cup, I think. So I haven't had a big adventure yet, no. Hopefully not many to come.

Q. With Padraig's withdrawal today you're favored to be top.

SERGIO GARCIA: He did?

Q. He withdrew because his father died. Do you see yourself as Europe's great hope, being the leading European?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. I guess I'm going to try my best. I'm here to give it my best shot and hopefully have a chance of winning, but I wouldn't say I wouldn't put it as Europe's best hope. I think that there's a lot of European players that are playing well and have a chance. I just hope that I can be up there and hopefully win it. So we'll see how the week goes.

Q. Would you mind telling me when you arrived here, how many practice rounds you've played and if your preparation for this championship is any different from any other week for you?

SERGIO GARCIA: We flew in on Monday morning. So I had a bit of practice yesterday, pretty much just hit balls and putted. And today I had one practice round. If it's different, maybe a little bit, maybe you work a bit more on those low punch shots with the wind and everything. Maybe around the greens you try to work on a bit more things than usual. It would be like if it was Pinehurst this year, different shots around the greens that you can play. But other than that it's still the same. You still have to hit the ball. You still have to hit the shots and maybe you have to figure out a couple of shots that you wouldn't normally hit on some other par courses. But other than that it's still pretty much the same.

Q. You've been on the scene since Carnoustie, about six years ago. Shouldn't you have made the breakthrough with a major win by now? Do you feel you're possibly underachieving?

SERGIO GARCIA: Should have I? I guess I should have, but I didn't. Am I underachieving? I wouldn't say so. I think that somebody told me that I'm behind Tiger, I'm the guy with the most wins under the age of 25. So I guess it's not a bad group to be with. But I don't know. You think I'm underachieving?

Q. Just that we all expected you to win a major by now?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, that's fine. It's not that simple. You have to get things going that particular week. I definitely feel like I've played well enough to win one. I definitely have my chances, but it doesn't come down to you all the time. You're going to have your chances, but you need a couple of good breaks here and there to make a couple of key putts when you're down the stretch. And sometimes somebody else just comes out and plays better. And when that happens the only thing you can do is congratulate him and settle for second.

I'm not worried about it. I feel like I like the way my career has been going and I still feel like I have a lot of years of good golf to come, hopefully.

Q. How much of adjustment is it for you to go from playing the American style carry target golf to playing links golf? And did you make any changes to what you have in your bag for this course in particular this week?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, I don't like to do those things. I feel like I want to play with pretty much the same clubs all week all year long, mainly because I'm used to those clubs. And if I put any different kind of clubs in, I have to start figuring out how to use those. I don't like to do that.

And second of all, to tell you the truth, to me it doesn't change that much because I've always been the sort of player that likes to use every kind of shot on whichever kind of golf course we play. It doesn't matter if you have to fly it up there or not, if it gets a bit windy I like to hit my punch shots, the same kind of shots we hit here. Maybe you just have to figure out where to fly them more than instead of flying it six yards short of the hole, you have to fly it maybe 15 or 20. But other than that, the shots are still pretty much the same.

Q. You never like stick a 2 iron in the bag for a week or trade out for a 4 or 5 wood or rescue club or anything like that? You don't mess with that at all?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, I don't like to, no. As I said before, I feel like I know what I can do with every single club I have in my bag now. If I change it for this week, then I have to start figuring out how that club is going to react, if it's going to come out this way or that way or things like that. So I don't really like to change much for a single week.

Q. Without Seve and Ollie winning from your country what would it mean to you and what would it mean to Spain if you won here?

SERGIO GARCIA: It would be amazing. I know a lot of people in Spain that would be really, really happy for me. But if it happens I hope so, but if it happens, to make it happen at St. Andrews, the home of golf, to break through as a major winner, it will be a dream come true, no doubt about that. But we've got to go there and do it. Unfortunately nobody is going to give it to me. But I feel like I've been playing well. I still have to twitch a couple of things from my game today. I felt better coming in. But I still have to figure out a couple of things on my swing. But it will be something amazing and I hope to have a chance of achieving that.

Q. What was your reaction and your nation's reaction when Seve won? Do you remember them, yourself?

SERGIO GARCIA: I do remember some, yeah. I know that unfortunately when Seve won most of his major golf wasn't that big in Spain. I mean it's really grown a lot in the last probably 8 to 10 years. So I know that in '99 it was big. I know that the people really noticed when Olazabal won The Masters in '99, and as they should. Unfortunately for the other ones there was of course the people were happy about it and everything, but it wasn't as big as it should have been. So we'll see. Hopefully some of us can come through this week.

Q. You said you wouldn't change the clubs in your bag. But does it give you a little bit more fun to play the sort of shots you have to play over here, the imagination shots that you would have started with when you first started playing?

SERGIO GARCIA: Definitely. I've always said that I've always enjoyed playing links courses. I think that you have to really figure out what you want to do at every single moment and really commit to it, because some shots, like hitting into 17, if it gets windy and you hit it in the rough or something like that, you have to fly it probably 20 or 30 yards short of the green, and now you're playing with a pot bunker and the road on the right, and it gets tricky. But at the end of the day you still have to kind of commit as much as you can to that shot. Even if it's a shot that you're not used to hitting too often, you can still see a picture in your head. And I think if you do that most of the times you're going to pull it off, so I'm looking forward to that.

STEWART McDOUGALL: Sergio, thank you very much.

End of FastScripts.

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