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May 3, 2005

Sergio Garcia


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Sergio, for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center at the Wachovia Championship. Obviously you had an opportunity to play this morning. Why don't you talk about the course a little bit and a little bit about what you've been doing.

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, the course, first of all, is in very good shape. It's very fast. The fairways are really firm and greens are very, very nice.

Not a whole lot of rough out there, but it's looking really nice, and I think if hopefully we get a good week weather-wise, it can be very nice and very interesting to see how things go. I'm looking forward to this week, and I played in China two weeks ago, and that was pretty good, and last week I went back to Spain and just relaxed for a little bit, practiced a little bit and tried to get ready for this nice little stretch of tournaments that we have going on.

Q. What is this nice little stretch you have?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, this week, of course; Byron Nelson, Colonial, and then I'll play Booz Allen, U.S. Open and Buick.

Q. How did the firm and fast conditions change this golf course from what you saw here a year ago?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, it does change it quite a bit. There's a lot of holes that you have to be careful with some of the runouts off the tee, and if these greens get firm, some things are going to be really difficult to get to. It'll be interesting to see. Hopefully the weather holds, how the course plays, and I think it's going to be a great test.

Q. Did you play here in 03?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, I played last year only.

Q. What do you do on 8? Has that ever crossed your mind to give it a rip?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I hit driver every day.

Q. Where does that leave you?

SERGIO GARCIA: Depends on the wind. If there's not much wind or maybe a little downwind you can get to the greenside bunkers. If not, you hit it probably about 20 yards short of the green and then you have -- it's just such a difficult little green that laying up to most of the pins it's still a tough shot. I'd rather be nice and close to the green and try and get it up-and-down.

Q. Can you comment on the closing holes here and how difficult they are? Especially last year, 17 the tide really turned with Joey birdieing and Arron bogeying on the last day?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, definitely. Also, 16 I think is a good hole, and of course 18. You have three very good holes there where things can change a lot. It can be some big swings there. And of course as you said, 17. Even hitting a fairly good shot, you can still hit it in the water. It's such a narrow green when that pin is in the back. It's a very exciting finish and it's a great finish for a great tournament.

Q. I know it's over a month away, but can you talk about your thoughts on heading to Pinehurst, playing the Open there?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I've never played there so I'm pretty new with that. I'm looking forward to it, but I don't know. I know more or less what to expect from '99. I watched a little bit. I'm looking forward to playing and we'll see how it feels.

Q. A lot of people said that this course plays a lot like a U.S. Open course. Do you feel that same way?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, it probably could, yeah. You've got the difficult greens, quite slopey, fairways are not very wide. The only difference I'll say is that there's not much rough this year here. But other than that, it could definitely be a U.S. Open kind of course.

Q. Given your lack of familiarity with Pinehurst and the fact that you're so close, is your schedule going to allow you to get over there and maybe play a round while you're here?


Q. Did you even have your driver's license when the Open was played there?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I did. I got it when I was 18 -- no, I didn't. No, I got it that July, just before the British Open, I think.

Q. That's why you weren't there, you were in driver's training?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah. You've got to do what you've got to do.

Q. You played real well in Dallas that year, '99; isn't that right?


Q. Did you give any thought to qualifying for the U.S. Open?

SERGIO GARCIA: I did, but unfortunately, you know, I was just getting started, and I wanted to get my card in Europe. I had a nice stretch of tournaments that I had to play. I didn't want to focus too hard on trying to qualify.

I mean, if I would have been in, it would have been great, but trying to qualify and give an extra effort to try to get into a tournament and kind of get my focus out of my main goal that year, which was to get my card in Europe and in America.

Q. Now that you've played probably four or five U.S. Opens, and given some of the silliness that happened at Southern Hills with some of the greens, and last year speaks for itself, do you get to the point where you come to these things a little bit curious at what tricks they have up their sleeve?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, you're always looking forward to seeing what the course is going to be playing like. You never know what's going to happen because in the tournament if the weather behaves, it always plays different than it does in the practice rounds. It's always interesting to see what's going to happen and how they're going to set up the course, but you never know what to expect.

Q. What do you think about playing here in Charlotte and how is the city treating you?

SERGIO GARCIA: Very good, yeah. I got the pleasure of playing last year for the first time, and it's just a wonderful event. It's very well run, and they take very good care of us. The course is great, and it's just a tournament you look forward to coming back and playing. It's a nice city, too, so I'm looking forward to spending a nice week and hopefully do something good.

Q. You mentioned the stretch that you're on. At what point will you be able to turn your focus to the Open?

SERGIO GARCIA: Probably on Monday before the Open (laughter).

Q. How often do you change putters?

SERGIO GARCIA: How often do I change putters, depends. Depends how badly I'm putting with the one that I have. I tried to go back to the one of the using actually here last year and the one I won the Byron Nelson with, so I changed to that two weeks ago in China, and I putted fairly well. I didn't make a whole bunch of putts, but at least I felt like I was giving myself good chances at making the putts.

I'm just trying to get a bit of confidence going and see what we can do.

Q. Do you have a love-hate relationship with putters?


Q. How would you describe your relationship with putters?

SERGIO GARCIA: There's definitely room for improvement (laughter). No, sometimes, I don't know, it's just a way of getting something new and trying to look at something different, maybe get a different thought in your head. Unfortunately I haven't putted the way I should, and that's been showing in my scores. I'm just trying to get back into it.

Q. What attracted you to Charlotte last year?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I heard from the players that played here in 2003, I heard that it was just a nice week to come and play. I heard the course was really nice, I heard that they treat us very, very good. Everything about it, it was just exciting to hear about. So I just decided to give it a chance, and although I didn't play as well as I would have liked to last year, I still enjoyed my week here. I had a good week, and I felt like I was well loved here, so I was looking forward to coming back.

Q. Do you guys get, I'll call it, scouting reports on new tournaments all the time that say, well, maybe you should play here or you might want to avoid that?


Q. From players.

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, you do kind of ask, and some of the players that play the new tournament, you want to get a little bit of feedback there, and depending what they say, you think about it, coming and playing it. That's one of the reasons why I came here, because I heard so many good comments about it, that it was worth giving it a try.

Q. Is there any one thing that will attract you over another?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, of course, listening to the players say that there's a good course, that's always important; and just feeling like you're treated really, really well like we do this week. Of course, I don't know, I think three-man Pro-Am helps, too.

Q. Is that the best perk of the week?

SERGIO GARCIA: I wouldn't say the best part, but one of them. It's just a quick Pro-Am. It's nice to play one of those.

Q. What do you feel like the difference is between the guys that come close to winning majors and the ones that break through and win? Is it skill, is it luck, is it maturity or a little bit of all?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. I guess it's a bit of everything involved. I guess, of course, there's skill, and I think that there's also a bit of luck involved. I think if you look at it, it seems like when you come out on Tour and you're doing fairly well, you always get one or two chances of winning a major, and if you get lucky enough to win on that one -- I mean, everybody pretty much has had it, then you have it, and it's kind of like easy to go around.

But some players didn't have that luck or however you want to call it and some others did. You've just got to keep working and keep trying.

Q. When you see a Ben Curtis win the British Open, does that give you more motivation?

SERGIO GARCIA: He deserved it. He played better than anybody else at St. Georges. Don't take any credit away from him.

We've talked before, I've had my chances, too. Unfortunately I haven't been able to come around and come through, but I'm looking forward to keep giving myself chances. It should come, and if not, it's fine.

Q. You said when it comes to playing an event, the course matters a lot and feeling like you want it, feeling like you're treated well. Does one outweigh the other in your eyes, and in what way does this tournament kind of make you feel the love, so to speak?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I think that not only to us but also to the caddies, like, for example, here this week, they treat all of us so well, all the players with the caddies, they have the little caddie hut there and they get nice meals. I think just everything about it, it just helps.

Of course, I'll say one of the most important things for me is liking the course, feeling comfortable on it and feeling like I can perform on that course. I feel like if I play well, I can do well on this course. I feel comfortable about it and I like it. So hopefully I can do that.

Q. So regardless of how well you're treated at an event, if you don't like the course, you probably wouldn't play?

SERGIO GARCIA: I mean, the chances are lower. I would definitely think about it because being treated nicely always makes you feel a bit more comfortable, even if you're not a huge fan of the course. Don't get me wrong, the courses are all good around the Tour, but there's some that you like better than others.

Q. Just curious, of the commercials you've made with Michelob, which has been the most enjoyable to make?

SERGIO GARCIA: In the past three years?

Q. Yeah.

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know, they've all had their little things. They've all been fun, and I've enjoyed working with them. I like the way they focus on the way we shoot the commercials, you know. Of course we're trying to embrace the brand as much as possible, but it's also we're trying to make it fun so that people can enjoy the commercial while they watch it.

I'll say probably one of the first ones, the one with the "hit the clubs," that was one of the ones I liked the most. I think the one from the "club slinger" this year, I enjoyed shooting that, too.

Q. Which one?

SERGIO GARCIA: The one with the cowboy, club slinger.

Q. The one where you throw the piece of paper into the belly button, how many takes did that require, as many as you wanted?

SERGIO GARCIA: I wanted to keep throwing (laughter).

Q. Where would you say you are in your development right now? Are you where you would like to be?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I feel pretty good about it. I feel like my game is in good shape. I really feel like my short game is coming along, slowly, but it's starting to. I think it's just a matter of keep working on it and keep believing on it. I think that if you've got the right frame of mind, it's always easier to play this game. I think if I get on that right frame of mind, I can perform well.

Q. Compared to maybe two, three years ago, I'm sure you set goals or had some expectations. Does that map up about right?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I feel like I'm a much better player than I used to be. I feel like I strike the ball much better, I control my ball flight a lot better than I used to. Unfortunately I've just been struggling a little bit with my putter mainly. But I feel like it's all a learning experience, and if things are not going perfectly at the moment, there's got to be a reason to it. So somewhere down the line it'll come back to me.

Q. Knowing that every course is unique, Sergio, what course on Tour, regular stop, does Quail Hollow most closely resemble to your eyes?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I think, as we talked before, it's an enjoyable course to play. You know, if the weather is good and it plays firmly, it can still play quite tough. So it's nice to see. But I would probably say it's probably in the Top 10 of the year.

Q. Does it remind you of another course that you guys play on Tour?

SERGIO GARCIA: Oh, I don't know. I don't know, I can't think of it now, sorry.

Q. You mentioned the importance of feeling comfortable when you're competing in a tournament. Are there certain rituals or things that you try to repeat as you're playing to help yourself feel comfortable? Not so much superstition, but just things that you try and do?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, not really.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Sergio, appreciate it.

End of FastScripts.

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