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WACHOVIA CHAMPIONSHIP

May 5, 2005

Sergio Garcia

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

CHRIS REIMER: We welcome Sergio Garcia into the media center. Sergio, a 66. I guess start by talking about the 30 that you posted on your front, the back nine.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, thank you. Generally I come out on the course and I feel happy about the round, I feel good about the way I played, but at the same time, I look at it, and I think, "This could have been amazing. This could have been an unbelievable round the way the course was playing. Unfortunately I didn't take advantage of it." I had a great front nine, was playing the back nine first, started really well with a couple of birdies, hit it really close, and I just kept it going. I hit a lot of greens. I think I only missed one green, the first green, because I hit a wayward drive.

Unfortunately I didn't make as many putts as I deserved. I hit a lot of good putts that looked like they were going to go in. Not only me, our whole group, both Jeffs, hit some good putts that didn't go in. But I'm happy about it, and hopefully I can keep it up for the rest of the week.

Q. How good do you think it could have been if everything had maxed out today for you?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, if somehow -- I'm not even asking for a good drive on 1, but if somehow I made the putt on 1, I had about an eight-footer for par, if I made that and keep it going a little bit, I could have easily shot 61, 62, the way the course was playing. It's not playing easy at all. Easily I could have shot that. But I didn't (laughter).

Q. The other guys we've talked to were talking about the swirling winds and caddies calling this place "Swirl Hollow". Apparently none of that bothered you today.

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, when you have a good caddie and you get it right, even the swirling winds don't affect you. We were good out there. We just felt comfortable all day. You know, I feel fortunate about my caddie. I think he's a very confident caddie. Even though sometimes he gets it wrong, he still makes me think when I'm hitting the ball that it's the right shot and the right club. That always helps.

But it's a tough course. The way it's playing, as firm as it is, as quick as these greens are, and with this wind that we're having, it's just a tough course. It's tough to hit the fairways, it's tough to hit most of the greens.

I was just very happy that I managed to do that pretty well today.

Q. When was the last time you had such a good ball-striking round tee to green?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, the first one that comes to mind is Byron Nelson last year in the third round where I hit 13 fairways and 18 greens. Today I didn't manage to do as well, but I still hit something like 10 fairways and 17 greens and two par 5s in two. It was good. I definitely felt good. I think the way it was playing, this is a bit of a tougher course than Las Colinas is, a bit longer. Some of the par 3s are really tough, so I was very happy about that.

Q. Given what you were just saying, would it rate amongst the top maybe half dozen rounds of your career?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, definitely. If I really think about it, I can only take one shot that I really missed, the tee shot on 1. Other than that, taking away the putts, I felt like I hit pretty much every shot almost the way I wanted to.

Q. What kind of lie did you have after your tee shot on 1?

SERGIO GARCIA: I actually hit a really good shot to hit it just short of the green. I mean, the lie was okay. I had two trees, probably a three-yard gap between two trees, probably about 50 yards in front of me. I needed to get it far down there enough. I couldn't hit it high, so I had probably about a three-by-three gap, about 15 yards in front of me, to get it somewhere down just short of the green. I had a pretty good shot. I hit a good chip and unfortunately missed the putt.

Q. On 18 there was four or five guys this morning that at the time were around the lead and just fell apart on the last hole. Were you probably 200 plus in?

SERGIO GARCIA: 9?

Q. Yeah.

SERGIO GARCIA: 211.

Q. What did you hit there?

SERGIO GARCIA: Perfect drawing 5-iron to about six feet.

Q. Why didn't you play in the first tournament here? Was it scheduling or were you just a little wary of the first time here, two years ago?

SERGIO GARCIA: First year, yeah, I think it was scheduling more than anything, just wanted to go back to Spain and relax a little bit. I think I played something in Europe, too. I don't know, but it probably was scheduling.

Q. Is that a good sign to be disappointed after a 66 and a two-shot lead?

SERGIO GARCIA: Don't get me wrong, I'm not disappointed. I'm happy about the round, happy about the score. I feel like I didn't get -- I probably only got 60 percent out of the round, so it could have been a lot better. But I'm still really happy about the way I played.

Q. Are you excited about coming back tomorrow?

SERGIO GARCIA: Sure, yeah, always.

Q. Tiger was asked about the course, he said he thought it was a fair course and a lot of players like it for that reason. He didn't think it was long enough to be a U.S. Open course. What's your sense of it? Is it fair enough?

SERGIO GARCIA: To tell you the truth, I don't think this course needs to be any longer. I mean, on a U.S. Open course, if you get here and you narrow some of the fairways and you get a four- or five-inch rough around these fairways, this course has got nothing to -- it doesn't need anything else from any other course. It has nothing to envy from any other U.S. Open courses.

The fortunate thing for us is that it's been a bit cold and the rough is not too bad, so sometimes you hit it in the rough, you're still doing okay, but I think it's an awesome course. I think it's a really, really good course. It could easily hold a U.S. Open here.

Q. How does this round fit into your development since you changed your swing a year ago? Do you think all that is done now?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah. I mean, we've talked about this many times. I feel, yeah, that the major work is done. You can see it while I'm swinging. But of course you can always work a little bit extra and you can always tweak a couple things here, a couple things there to get even better.

But the major thing is done. The major thing, that is, the setup and the takeaway, the backswing on the top, that's pretty much done.

If you see my swing four years ago and you see my swing now, you can see a difference. But other than that, the ball flight, it's much better, the distance control is much better. It's just a matter of getting it here (indicating head).

Q. Besides golf, have you found anything else to do or have fun in Charlotte either this year or last? How do you like the city?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah. Unfortunately we haven't had much time. We did go out one night to one of the restaurants down in the city and it was really nice. John Harris threw a nice party on Tuesday, so that was pretty nice, too.

It's just a nice place. It's very warm, just a good place to come back. You feel like the people really love you here, they really enjoy you, not only the crowds but all the volunteers, all the marshals, they do a great job, and that's why it's becoming one of the best tournaments on Tour.

Q. Would you talk about the stretch of birdies you had on the front?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah. Well, I started on 10, I hit a wonderful drive, hit a very good 4-iron. Unfortunately it just caught the edge of the green and went in the bunker, pretty tough bunker shot, but I hit a great shot to about a foot and a half. So I birdied that.

Then on 11, I hit a great tee shot with a 3-wood and I hit a lob wedge from 104 yards, hit a very good shot to about five feet, made that.

14, I hit a great drive, short par 4, hit it about three feet short of the green, hit a very nice chip with a 7-iron, long chip, 39-yard chip, almost made it, hit it to about a foot.

Then on the next, I hit another good drive, a very good 3-iron from 235 and I hit it on the green probably about 25, 30 feet down the hill and putted to about four feet and made it.

Then on 16, I hit a good drive down the middle, hit a good 8-iron from 171, just a little cut 8-iron to about nine feet, made that.

Then on 18, I hit another good drive down the middle, hit a good little cut 6-iron from 189 up the hill, hit it to about 16 feet, 16, 18 feet, made that.

Then of course I hit it right on 1 and made bogey, missed about an eight-footer for par.

On 2 I hit a good 8-iron just into the green, hit a very good putt from about 18 feet, lipped out to about two and a half feet and missed it.

Then on 5, I hit a very good drive again, and unfortunately it just ran through the fairway, went just in the rough, tried to muscle out a 3-wood and it came out a little worse than expected, so I hit sand wedge for my third from 94 yards, hit it to about 15 feet, made that.

And then 7, I hit driver, 4-iron, very good shot, just caught the slope, about 35 feet, hit a pretty good putt but just about five feet by, missed it.

8, missed another seven-footer for birdie.

Then 9, hit another good drive down the middle again, hit a drawing 5-iron from 211 to about five feet and made that.

Q. Is it at all aggravating to have a few putts inside ten feet that don't go, or do you just come to expect that you don't -- no one makes them all?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, the thing is you'd love to make all of them, there's no doubt. That's what I'm working on. But unfortunately, if you leave yourself 10 or 12 putts inside ten feet, you're going to miss some.

Unfortunately at the moment, I seem to be missing more than a lot of the other guys, but I'm working on it and it feels better, and at least I'm starting to make more. I think I'm on the right track. I've just got to keep it going.

Q. After you missed the putt on 2, what kind of conversation did you have or what were your thoughts walking to the 3rd tee? A 30 on the front nine and then the two bogeys starting out on the back?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I just thought to myself, you know, you hit a bad drive on 1, probably deserved a bogey. Unfortunately hit a bad putt, just a little miscue on 2 and my head went away.

I felt like I was playing well. I thought I could still shoot -- if I play half decent, I could still shoot 2- or 3-under easily coming in, still a good round. I thought to myself, well, if I would have gone out and they would have told me you're 4-under, you're on the 12th tee, will you take it, I would have, of course, taken it. So I was still feeling good about the round.

Q. On the ShotLink stats it shows that your scoring average is best in the first round. Do you place any significance to that, as to why that could be?

SERGIO GARCIA: Probably because I manage to play better in the first round (laughter).

Q. But why do you think that -- it's not only that, it goes up every round.

SERGIO GARCIA: I know. I don't know.

Q. You don't pay a lot of attention to those stats?

SERGIO GARCIA: No. That's okay.

Q. There's a big deal made here in terms of the field, if Tiger decides to play or doesn't decide to play. Does that make a difference to you, to lead a field that includes him, number one; and number two, how do you feel generally about that sort of rivalry that was going on for a while?

SERGIO GARCIA: First of all, no, it doesn't. I don't care who's playing. A tournament, if you manage to come around and play well and win a tournament, it doesn't matter who's in the field. Every tournament is tough to win. It probably makes you feel a little bit better when you win a tournament when all the big players are there, but everybody can play the game of golf out here. You've just got to respect everybody for as good as they are. You know, it feels good but it doesn't make a difference. What was the other part?

Q. Just in terms there was some talk from rising young golfers that you and him were sort of rivals in a sense.

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I'm working on my game. I'm trying to become better and I think I'm on the right track. I've just got to keep improving. As I said before, I really don't care. I care about myself -- the best rivalry I have is myself, so if I manage to beat myself in a good way, then I'm doing good.

CHRIS REIMER: Thanks. Good luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts.

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