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April 5, 2005

Sergio Garcia


RONALD TOWNSEND: Good afternoon. We'd like to welcome Sergio Garcia. Sergio scored a tournament low 66 in last year's final round of the Masters and tied for fourth, won two PGA tournaments last year and has won a total of five PGA tournaments and nine international tournaments. We'll entertain some questions.

Q. You did have a double-eagle on 2 today. Just talk about your game going into this year's tournament of the Masters.

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I hope it's as sharp as it was on that hole.

You know, it was a fun thing. I hit a great drive and a 2-iron, and it's always special if you make your first double-eagle ever, you make it at Augusta; it was an amazing thing. You know, I played pretty well. It was a nice day out there.

The course is looking in great shape. The greens are nice and fast and they are getting quite firm, so, you know, hopefully we can get through that rain on Thursday that it seems like it's going to come. It would be nice if it doesn't rain because this course is playing -- it's just shaping up nicely.

Q. Describe the yardage and the reaction.

SERGIO GARCIA: I had 253 to the hole. The reaction, actually wasn't much of a reaction because I hit a great shot and it bounced nicely, pin is like on the front right. But I thought it was like a yard and a half right of the hole, so all of a sudden the people went crazy on the green and they said, well, you made it. So I raised my hands and just a couple high-fives. It was good. It's a shame it wasn't in the tournament, but still nice, though (laughter).

Q. What did you hit?


Q. When you came here in '99 as an amateur, did you think you could win?

SERGIO GARCIA: Actually after playing the course, yeah. I felt like it's a course where I feel comfortable. I feel really comfortable on this course. I think that it's just a matter of getting my short game in shape. I think if I get a bit of consistency mainly with my putter, I really feel like I could. I usually drive the ball well. I'm hitting my irons pretty well.

So I feel like I do have a chance, but I have to gain that bit of consistency with my putter.

Q. You're talking about where you are right now. I'm curious what you thought when you came here as an amateur.

SERGIO GARCIA: Still, same thing.

Q. Thought you could win that week?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah. Well, I mean, as an amateur -- I had hopes, yeah. But I knew that it was really tough. At least I won something that year, low amateur. It was a good start.

Q. Looking back on that, did you think that was just a thought of youth, or was it a realistic goal for a guy? What were you, 19 or something?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, I would say it was realistic. It was really difficult, but it doesn't mean that it can't be done. If everything goes your way and you have one of those weeks where you play great, everything, you know, every little break seems to be on your side, and that's what you have to have, too, to win any kind of tournament. But to win majors, you have to have that winner's luck; there's a couple good breaks that might turn a double-bogey from a par or a double-bogey from a birdie, and it keeps that momentum going.

So, you know, it was realistic. It was really difficult, no doubt about it, but I did have a chance. I was playing so....

Q. Last year I know you were upset and you shot well and didn't get the result, the finish that you thought you should deserve. Was that a matter of luck, winner's luck that you are talking about?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I would say. So the first three rounds and until the 6th hole on the last round I felt like I was hitting the ball really well. I hit a lot of good, quality shots. Unfortunately, you know, I didn't really make many putts, and a couple of times when -- you know, it just felt like I couldn't miss a shot. It felt like my good shots were struggling to be good and my bad shots were horrendous and was finishing in really bad places.

You know, it was a hard thing, but you know, probably when I started trying, you know, easier, when I wasn't trying as hard after I made that double-bogey on 16 and hitting a really good shot, that's when everything started clicking and I started making a couple putts. I hit the ball really good. I hit it really close in pretty much every hole I played, and so, you know, this game is funny. Sometimes the less you care, the better you do.

Q. Traditionally the par 5s have been a place where guys try to make up a lot of ground here or distance themselves. It doesn't seem like in the last year or two that's been the case; have they gotten harder with the changes?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, definitely, definitely. They have gotten a lot harder, and the problem, I mean, the thing with these par 5s here, and even more on the back nine, is that you can go really low but you can go really high. It's just a matter of, you know, just that little bit, that little thing that if it goes the right way, you can make a birdie and even an eagle. But sometimes you hit a good shot and, you know, you end up making a double.

So it's a lot -- it's a large stage on the back nine, and we know how tough it can play. Last year they set it up in a way that good shots were rewarded, and that's why we saw such a good show, spectacular at the end of the day. A lot of good shots were getting close, you know, some eagles here and there. It was fun to see the tournament end like that.

Q. Two questions. One, maybe a boyhood memory of watching the Masters back in Spain, passably Seve or Jose Maria, one that really sticks out; and secondly, just curious, what you think you learned in terms of presenting a positive image to the world after last year, when you played such a beautiful round and it was thought that you were, for whatever reason, upset, angry, whatever it may have been, just curious what you may have learned since then.

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I mean, you've got to understand that we are human beings here, and we can't be always in a perfect mood. You know, unfortunately I wasn't last year. But, you know, you learn from those things, and I got a lot of positive things out of it.

What was the other question?

Q. One or two boyhood memories watching the Masters.

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, unfortunately I didn't get to see many of the Masters. In Spain, they really didn't start at least showing -- probably one of the first ones I can remember is Olazabal. But, you know, when you're 10 or 12 years old, you don't -- you're usually in bed by 9:00 and they started showing it around 10:00.

I remember watching a little bit towards the '90s, and, you know, it's a shame that we didn't get to see a bit more of it.

Q. I don't know if you talked to Jose Maria today --

SERGIO GARCIA: I haven't seen him, no.

Q. Yesterday he missed the two --

SERGIO GARCIA: I saw that.

Q. For him he's really seeming to get back into shape. Can you talk about his game?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, unfortunately those things happen. He had a couple good chances of winning the tournament and it didn't happen for him. He hit a couple of bad putts.

I think he's very happy about his game. He's playing, you know, very nicely, I think probably the best he's played in the last three, four years.

I'm sure he's looking forward to this week. He loves this place. He's done very well here. You know, I'm sure he's looking forward to getting started. After having a good week last week, he probably got his card already and everything, so he's probably a bit more calmed down, and he can just go out there and keep playing well.

Q. There's been a lot of talk building up to this tournament about it being about the Fab 4. How does that register with you?

SERGIO GARCIA: Are they fat? I don't think they are fat (laughter). Sorry.

Q. Did you get the question or should I say it again?

SERGIO GARCIA: What do I think about it?

Q. Yeah, does that make you guys -- does that increase your sort of determination? Do you think they are way out ahead of you guys, or is that just press talk?

SERGIO GARCIA: Definitely they are playing at a good level. I definitely think no matter what's happening, I definitely think Vijay is the one that is playing the best at the moment. He's just had a couple unfortunate breaks the last couple of weeks he played. But, you know, they are all four playing a good level. Things are going nicely for them.

So I just, you know, the only thing I can do, I can control myself. I can try to get better myself and keep improving, but I can't do anything about them. So my goal is just to keep getting better, keep getting more and more consistency in my game and keep improving my short game.

I know if I do those things, my long game is good enough, so I'm not too worried about it.

RONALD TOWNSEND: Thank you all very much. Sergio, thank you and good luck.

End of FastScripts.

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