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BAY HILL INVITATIONAL PRESENTED BY MASTERCARD

March 17, 2005

Sergio Garcia

ORLANDO, FLORIDA

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: We thank Sergio Garcia for joining us before you go home after a long wait. Let's just start with questions.

Q. Can you just talk about what you expect with the course the next couple of days just from all of this rain?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, fortunately for us it looks like the weather is going to get much better throughout the weekends starting tomorrow. The course is going to need it. It's really wet and it's unfortunate, but you've got to get through these things and just move on. But, you know, you've got to be patient. Tomorrow morning we're probably going to get a good amount of mud balls, and you've just got to deal with it the best you can.

Q. I know what you did the last hour, you stood under the tents like the rest of us, but what did you do the rest of the time to kill the 5 1/2 hours, however long this was?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, not much. I went back to the locker, just sat down a little bit, talked to some of the players and then we went and ate a little bit, came back and just spent some time there talking to my caddie and some of the other caddies.

There's not much you can do, unfortunately, but, I don't know, it's just wait and see what happens.

Q. How did you play?

SERGIO GARCIA: How did I play?

Q. Good start.

SERGIO GARCIA: No, definitely it was a good start. I played okay. I hit some good shots. I made a couple nice putts. I made a bomb on 15 get it to 3-under. Unfortunately I didn't birdie 16 with a good chance, but, you know, it's a good start. Looking forward to keep it going tomorrow and just looking forward to some good weather.

Q. Was there water on the course when they blew the horn the first time?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, 16, when we walked through 16, it was starting to get wet. The fairway was starting to get little pot holes and you could see that it was starting to take some water. The greens were fine, but the fairways were getting quite wet. And then on 18 tee is one of when the first lightning came and then 18th green is when they called it off.

Q. You've been in contention here a couple of times and the last round has hurt you. Is there any particular reason for that with a 73 or 74, something like that; any explanation that you can think of or just bad time for a bad round?

SERGIO GARCIA: Probably just didn't play well enough. I guess that's what happens when you shoot those rounds.

But no, I don't think there's anything major about it. Sometimes it goes well, sometimes it doesn't. I remember one year I was -- one year I was playing with Tiger in the last group, and, you know, we were tied for the lead and I remember I made that 8 on 6. So actually I held on pretty well because I think I went like 2-over par at that moment and then I finished something like fifth or something like that.

No particular reason, I would say.

Q. You were playing the ball down; right?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes.

Q. Do you think it might have been a good idea in retrospect to have preferred lies?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, now you can't do anything about it.

Q. That's what I mean.

SERGIO GARCIA: If they would have -- I don't know if they knew this was coming, or maybe they were expecting less rain and they were thinking maybe we could get away with it, but you know, it's going to be a tough situation. Unfortunately for us, we played nine holes with the ball more or less staying kind of clean. So I can't imagine what the full day is going to be for the guys that have to play tomorrow, playing the ball down.

Q. Could you talk about the prospects of playing now extra holes the next couple of days, catching up?

SERGIO GARCIA: We've done it before, so it's nothing knew and we're getting used to it this year. (Laughs).

No, just it is a bit tough because -- it's tough to get into a rhythm. Because tomorrow we're going to come out, 7:30, hopefully it will be nice and we'll play the back nine and we're probably going to have to wait until, I don't know, like 2:00 or 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon to start our second round. So it's going to be a lot of dead hours there, a lot of dead time that you don't know what you're going to do.

You know, we've done it before, so we know what to expect.

Q. I'm just wondering how you feel about the state of your game right now, when you see all of the guys that are off to big starts already this year and just kind of where you feel you are right now.

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I feel good. I feel like my game is there. I feel like my long game is there. My short game is getting there, too. I'm working on some things with my putting and I've just got to get some confidence into it. I think if I do that, I should be fine. I think that I don't have anything to envy from anybody else on my long game. I think it's as good as anybody's. It's just a matter of managing a way of getting the ball to the hole and just scoring nicely.

Q. When Mr. Palmer was in here yesterday, he said he was going to grow some rough out there. Did you see rough on this course that you haven't seen before?

SERGIO GARCIA: Definitely, but I didn't see it yesterday. I saw it the day before, too.

There's definitely some. The rough is as thick as I've ever seen it on this course, and it's nice to see. Mr. Palmer knows that if the weather, it's good and the course is kind of soft, you know, we can score well if the rough is not quite high.

So I think driving the ball well is key this week. So, you know, hopefully I can keep that going, and unfortunately what seems to be the problem lately on the courses is that the rough is quite thick, probably within ten yards of the fairway, but when you hit it 30 yards off-line, it's fine, and a lot of guys seem to get away with that.

Q. Add this rain now to that thick grass, does that even compound getting it in the fairway even more important?

SERGIO GARCIA: Definitely, definitely. Hitting it on the fairway is huge. You know, as we talked before, now even more because your drives are going to be shorter, you're not going to get as much release as before. You're going to have longer clubs into the greens and this rough just is getting worse as we talk.

So, you know, hitting good drives is going to be big this week.

Q. Following up about you talking about it's a matter of getting your confidence going again, I wonder how tough of a battle is that when you see the top players around you already seem to be on top of their games, and do you feel like you're having to play catch up?

SERGIO GARCIA: Not at all. I know what I have to do. I've just started the year, I've only played four tournaments, this is my fifth tournament of the year.

No, I'm not worried about it. I know how well I can play and I know my potential, so I've just got to let it come out.

Q. You talked about long and short game, I think that I'm accurate in this, you're No. 1 in greens in regulation but you're over 100th in putting. Does this surprise you or do you have any explanation for such a difference in the two statistics?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, it's been like that for about two or three years now. Unfortunately it's something that I've been working hard on and it's been taking some time. But I'm starting to see good things about it. I'm starting to see good flashes of it, and it's just a matter of I feel like the technique is there, it's just a matter of getting into my head and believing that I can do it every day.

Q. Has changing putters helped you in that area?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, sometimes you do change, mainly to get probably a fresh memory into it. But the stroke is still the same one, so that's not going to change much.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, Sergio.

End of FastScripts.

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