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THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP

March 24, 2005

Sergio Garcia

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA

JOE CHEMYCZ: Sergio, nice round today, 6 under par, 66. Just talk about the conditions out there and your play today.

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, great day. It was a bit windy at times. It was a bit gusty. But fortunately we finally had some nice sun. And of course it's drying out.

If we hopefully get another day like this tomorrow, by the weekend of course the course is going to be back in the shape we want it in. Unfortunately the weekend is not looking great, though. I think it's great. It's a nice start, and looking forward to keep it going.

JOE CHEMYCZ: You attacked 9 going for that green in two. Is that sort of the style today, attacking pins out there today?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, it was definitely the course was playing soft, so you could attack some pins that are usually tough to get to. But I just felt good all day. I felt like I hit a lot of good shots. I felt comfortable out there, and I managed to hit some very nice shots, not only on that hole, but it was a nice, positive day.

Q. Is this a course that you've traditionally felt sets up well for your eye?

SERGIO GARCIA: I've always liked this course. I've always felt good about it. I feel like you have to drive the ball well. Usually that's one of my strengths. And my iron play has improved a lot in the past probably year and a half or so. So it's good. I feel good about it. I really like the way I feel on this course and I'm just looking forward to hopefully having another couple of good rounds and have a chance on Sunday.

Q. Starting to like Florida golf courses a little bit now? You've had some good results.

SERGIO GARCIA: I've always liked Florida courses. I'm not a huge fan of Bermuda greens. Other than that, yeah, I do enjoy them.

Q. What do you know about Steve Jones, the leader, who won the U.S. Open nine years ago?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, unfortunately he's been injured, so he's been going through some tough times, but he's a wonderful person. It's nice that he played well, and it was a hell of a round, so hopefully he can keep it going. The course is going to get tougher as the week goes on, and hopefully if it doesn't rain it's set up for a wonderful weekend.

Q. Would you like it to get tougher? Would that play into your strengths, major championship tough versus 64?

SERGIO GARCIA: I've always liked when it plays kind of that way, when you don't feel like you have to make every single putt to be in contention, like maybe Doral was. I like the way it played last week. It was the kind of tournament that I like playing. And I'm looking forward to some good weather, so this course can get on a similar way.

Unfortunately this year the rough is not as thick as it's usually been, so I think that this course needs to get firm to somehow shield everybody.

Q. There are some years when 9 is not reachable in two. You stepped up to the tee box today expecting to go for that green in two or more of a wait and see when you walk up to your ball?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I could get there in two. I did in the practice round. So with just a little downwind, with a good drive, you can get there. And I had just the perfect drive. I hit a nice drive to the right side of the fairway and gave myself a great angle. Had a really nice yardage, too, so I had a wonderful high cut 3 wood. And I didn't see it, but I heard it was pretty close to being a 2. Unfortunately I think my second shot was closer than my putt (laughter). That's the way it goes.

Q. Given the way that green is set up with the tree left and some of the bunkering to the right, what landing area do you have with that 3 wood? What's your margin of error?

SERGIO GARCIA: Not much. For me, like I did today, I can hit it over the tree. If you have a lower flight it's really tough because you have to bring it with a draw. But even if you hit over the trees, I mean the green is only, where you're flying it, probably, I want to say, 12, 13 yards wide. So it's a small target. The good thing is for today, even if you reach it a little left, you still have a chance of a good chance of getting it up and down. If you don't miss it too far right, you can more or less get it up and down. So I feel comfortable with that, but unfortunately it turned out the wrong way.

Q. There's been some talk today about mud, just with the moisture on the course. I'm curious, you went in the water on 16 on your second?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, that was a different issue. That was I was lying right up against the rough and I tried I probably hit the wrong shot and tried to cut it and it kind of got caught in the grass and just fanned it open.

But I did have some mud balls. On 11 I had a mud ball where it was on the right side and I had a 2 iron into the green and left to right but it's so hard. You know the mud is on the right, you know the ball is going to the left. But you're standing there, it's a right pin, the wind is left to right and you're thinking about cutting a 2 iron there, and you're still going right of the hole. It's just so tough to do. You kind of aim to the middle of the green, and the ball kind of goes left towards the green. So it's tough, but you've got to deal with it in the best possible way.

Q. This isn't the longest course you play, amongst the big tournaments, and I guess you don't have to hit driver as much as you have in previous tournaments. Could you talk about the margin of error? Could you give any examples today of if you missed by a fraction, how you could go from good birdie to you had to work at it?

SERGIO GARCIA: This course gives you a good example of that. This year maybe not so much, because the rough is not quite as bad as it's been in years past. But there's definitely some holes that you can struggle if you just miss the driver. You can get a nasty lie and you can go holes like 4, for example. Being on the first cut or just in the rough, it can be huge if you have a bad lie. So it can be quite different from one option to another.

Q. Adam Scott was in here the other day and he was wearing some bright yellow pants and said there are a few guys out there who are "fashionably challenged". Maybe I shouldn't talk today, but you've got a white belt in your repertoire, flashing back to the '70s. How far are you willing to go?

SERGIO GARCIA: I'm wearing a white belt because I'm wearing white shoes. You're supposed to match your belt with your shoes, that's the way I was brought up. But I think, you know, I think that there's some guys that like to push it a little. But I actually liked those pants he was wearing; with the vest or the jumper he was wearing, it looked very good. But I don't think I could go quite that far. I've got some nice blue pants and I've got the white pants, too, but I don't know, it's just a matter of wait and see.

Q. What's the most outrageous thing you've ever worn on the golf course?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. I've never been like a pink kind of pant guy. Probably I don't know. Probably when I wore the blue pants and the orange shirt at Buick, that's probably the most outgoing I've been.

Q. I don't want to get too far off the deep end of this subject here. But you've been around Birkdale, when you were 16, right?

SERGIO GARCIA: 18. 16 was Lytham, Royal Lytham.

Q. Have you noticed a Jesper is probably the pioneer in this department, but have you noticed more and more guys each year that we're up to two dozen that are dressing in a way that would have really made them stand out eight years ago? Do you sense a fashion shift here?

SERGIO GARCIA: I think guys are losing their fear of wearing brighter colors. I think bright colors worn the right way looks great. It looks much better than a black or a gray or things like that. Sometimes you get bored of watching guys wear black and gray all the time.

So I think of course sometimes you kind of look at somebody, and say, geez, that's a bit too extreme. But you see some really cool outfits.

Q. Where do you put Darren Clarke?

SERGIO GARCIA: He's got some that I look at and say, geez, that looks awesome. And he's got some that I look at and say, well, I don't think I could be able to wear that.

Q. Was there ever a time that you wore the shoes with the flap and tassels?

SERGIO GARCIA: Excuse me?

Q. The shoes with the flap and tassels, did you ever wear those? Do you know the shoes I'm talking about?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I think I did, but yeah, I think when I was probably from 6th through 8 or 9.

Q. It seems to be the majority of guys talking about the majority, there are the random ones in there, but they seem to be non American, mostly European players. Do you think Americans are more afraid to stand out?

SERGIO GARCIA: Maybe, I don't know. You should ask them.

Q. What did you think of Payne Stewart?

SERGIO GARCIA: I think, for example, that's one of the guys that I love the way he dressed. I think it was even some clothes that might seem out of place, if you wear them the right way, I think they look extremely well. And Payne Stewart was a great example of that. He was wearing those clothes that he always wore. I think he looked great in those.

But there's got to be a certain suit, I mean, because those clothes really suit Payne Stewart. Like, for example, the Lindeberg clothes suit some of the Swedes. But I think everybody has their own perfect match, and it's just a matter of finding it.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Just take us through your birdies and bogeys, if you will, starting with the birdie on 11.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, on the back nine, hit a good drive and got a bit of a mud ball, hit 2 iron left of the green, hit a pretty good chip from the rough to about probably, I want to say, nine feet.

Then on 12 I hit another good drive in the fairway, hit lob wedge from 78 yards to about two and a half feet, three feet.

On the next I hit a nice cut 6 iron to about three feet, again.

Then on 16 I hit a good drive, but it just ran through the fairway into just up against the rough and hit a bad shot with a 3 iron, hit it in the water. Hit a really good 6 iron for my fourth to about 16, 17 feet and missed that.

Then on 2 I hit it just on the right rough with the driver, laid up with the 8 iron, hit a very nice punch sand wedge from 110 to about six, seven feet, and made that.

On the next I hit a very nice shot with the 8 iron, just a little long, about 16 feet, made that putt.

I missed a really short one on 4 for about three feet for birdie.

And then on 7 I hit a nice drive again. I hit a very nice low cut 7 iron from 166 into the wind, hit it to about eight feet, made that.

Then on 9 I hit a nice drive again. I hit a beautiful cut 3 wood from 281. Hit it to about probably nine feet and missed.

Q. Just a quick look ahead to The Masters. Its meaning to you growing up, did it have any special importance over the other three, given European dominance in a stretch when you were growing up, and?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, the British and The Masters were the ones that I look up to, when I was growing up. Those are the ones that you hear more in Spain, mainly because Seve won them in those eras. So those two are definitely the ones that I look up to more growing up and that I'm looking forward to hopefully winning.

Q. You are the only European to be low amateur, were you ever aware of that?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I remember that.

Q. It was years ago.

SERGIO GARCIA: They told me in 1998 when it happened, yeah. But I kind of forget about it.

Q. For the times that you've watched the tournament on television, when you think of the 12th and 16th hole, what are your most memorable moments there, watching? What do you consider to be the significant moments of those holes?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, unfortunately we didn't get to see much until probably the '90s. We didn't get to see much golf, probably around, yeah, mid '90s. So by looking probably the ones you remember the most are the most recent. I think one thing that really comes to mind on 16 is probably the shot that Davis Love holed, the chip, the back door chip. And on 12, probably Greg Norman when he lost I think it was in '99. When he hit a good shot with the 8 iron and hit it straight over the green to the bushes, and hit another 8 iron, and hit it to, I don't know

Q. 10, 12 feet?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, and made a great bogey. Those are the ones that stand out in my head.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Sergio, thank you. Good luck the next couple of days.

End of FastScripts.

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