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March 2, 2005

Sergio Garcia


TODD BUDNICK: We welcome Sergio Garcia to the 2005 Ford Championship at Doral. Sergio, coming off a T-9 at last week's Match-Play and an early tee time at the Mercedes Championships. Give us an idea of how your game is at this point in the season.

SERGIO GARCIA: Still quite rusty. I've only played three tournaments and took a month off after Buick Invitational. Definitely not feeling my best, but, you know, working on it and trying to get better and see if we can get some confidence as the week goes on.

TODD BUDNICK: Must be nice to get away from the rainy West Coast. You only played three events over there but it was a rough start this year.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I only had like 2 1/2 weeks off in December, so when I looked at the schedule and I looked at the weather, I thought, well, this is going to be perfect, you know, I'll take a month off, get away from all that rain that it looks like it's going to come, and play at La Costa, where it's supposed to be sunny but unfortunately it wasn't.

You know, it was a bit unfortunate, the way the weather has been behaving to us lately, but we're here, the weather has been great so far, and hopefully we get some beautiful weather for the weekend.

TODD BUDNICK: Talk about 18, the 18th hole was the most difficult on TOUR last year, talk about how you approach that hole, whether it be regular or come Sunday in a winning position?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I think probably the most important thing on the 18th hole here is the wind. Depending on for example, today it's downwind for the long hitter, it's not that bad. You hit it over the water and you hit in like a wedge into the greens, so it's really not that bad if you play downwind. But if you start playing it into the wind or right-to-left or left-to-right, you know, the water just comes a lot more into play and the second shot is much longer.

So it can be really tricky, so that's one of the reasons why this hole plays so tough.

TODD BUDNICK: We'll take some questions.

Q. Phil had mentioned this a couple of weeks ago and Tiger said something earlier today that perhaps the PGA tour season is a few events too long. Do you think that the season should be shortened, especially at the end, with the fall events and how do you think players would react to that; would they play more overseas? Would that improve other tours?

SERGIO GARCIA: To tell you the truth, the season is as long as you want to make it. You know, as long as you play 15 events, that's it. So you can play 15 events from January to April and then have the rest of the year off, or you can, you know, kind of like spread it out through the year.

I'm not going to get into if the season is too long on the PGA TOUR or not. You can choose what tournaments you want to play and for me, you know, playing in Europe and I try to go overseas a little bit to Japan and China a little bit, I try to be a bit worldwide. You know, I manage a way of getting it through.

So, I don't think it's that big of a deal.

Q. With so many of the Top-10, Top-12 players here this week, does this event have any bigger feel than a regular PGA TOUR event? It's not a major, but is it equivalent to World Golf Championships or something like that?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, there's no doubt that the field is great, and that gives a lot of, you know, a lot of quality to the tournament, too.

So it shows you, you know how good the course is, how much effort Ford makes, puts into this tournament, and how big they want to make it, but you know, the other day, it's not a great tournament but it doesn't matter who is playing because you have probably 10 of the best 11 or 9 of the best 10 in the world, it doesn't mean it's going to be any harder to win than any other tournament. Every tournament is hard to win and everybody can play. We'll see what happens.

Q. When you hear Big Four, Big Five, does that motivate you to want them to say, "Big Six, what about me?"

SERGIO GARCIA: I just want to get in the Top-5 so that way I'll be in it. (Laughter.)

You know, I really don't care that much. I know what I want to do and you know, I just need to be patient and keep improving. I don't know, it's not something that bothers me much. And I'm not really too focused on that.

Q. What are your thoughts on the announcement of the naming of the next two European Ryder Cup Captains, Woosnam and Faldo?

SERGIO GARCIA: I think it's great. I don't know, I thought -- I had the feeling that maybe Woosie was going to wait maybe until we play in Wales, but you know, I think it's great. Both captains are extraordinary and they have been there, they know what's going on, and I'm sure it will be exciting to see them work and see how they get the team together as it's been in the last three or four Ryder Cups. So I'm looking forward to it and hopefully, you know, we can keep our run going.

Q. Did you like the idea that they announced two in a row, the next two captains?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I don't mind it much. I think it's exciting for them too to know that they are going to captains, the next two captains, so they can kind of plan ahead and try to get the team in the best shape possible.

Q. Do you still practice -- do you still play nine holes left-handed? How long has it been since you've done that and do you practice left-handed shots just as part of your routine at all?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, unfortunately, I haven't done it for a while. Kind of left it behind a little bit. I don't know why.

Q. What's the best score you ever had left-handed?

SERGIO GARCIA: I never really played 18 holes. I did shoot 39 on nine holes once, but everything was going right then. (Laughter.)

Q. Where did you do that, Spain?

SERGIO GARCIA: Spain, yeah.

Q. Just one more on this, are you guys that good that most of you can execute something like that if you have to, turn the club over and hit a left-handed shot if you have to?

SERGIO GARCIA: I think most of us can. Vijay, for example, I think can hit really good shots left-handed. I think Tiger can do it, too. You know, I think most of us can in a way. Some a little better than others, but definitely.

Q. Did you do that as a physical strengthening thing and have you gotten away from it because of all of the training and things that you guys have available to you?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I really don't have that much time to, and when I'm not practicing right-handed, I'd rather -- if I'm not practicing golf, I'd rather do something else, play soccer or tennis or something else.

So, I don't know, it was just a fun thing that it also helped me kind of build my right side a bit more. You know, I don't know why, I kind of left it.

Q. It's been a couple of years since you've been here, how would you assess the changes that they made, and the condition of the courses compared to the last time you were here?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I've only played once here, but the shape of the course this year is tremendous. The fairways are awesome, the tees on the greens, I've never seen them as well and as fast as they are.

So looking forward to it. Hopefully if the weather is good, it can get good and firm and then it's going to be really challenging with a bit of wind. So looking forward to that and hopefully we can put on a good show and, you know, see what happens out there. But the course is really looking very well.

Q. What do you think is going to make Woosie a good captain? What characteristics does he bring to the table?

SERGIO GARCIA: I mean, he's a really energetic guy. As I said before, he knows what's going on. He's been there, he's played on that position. He knows what to say to the players when things are tight down the line. So I think, you know, probably two of the most important things for being a captain that you have to do is first build a nice team spirit with other players, within the players, sorry, and then just say the right thing at the right moment. You know, know what the guy is going through to make him calm, not make it any worse than it is. I think that Faldo and Woosie, they have both been there plenty of times and they really know what's going on so I'm sure they will do a great job.

Q. David Toms earlier was talking about how the best golfers and the young golfers seem to be getting bigger and stronger and that he sees the trend continuing that way and Tiger a little while ago said the trend toward athleticism on the PGA TOUR is very obvious. Do you think the smaller guys are in danger of getting phased out and pushed aside?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, we have to fight, probably. (Laughter.) No, I think nowadays, we're all strong. I mean, some are more built than others, but if you look at the whole group, we are all -- I mean, we are all wiry. We're all pretty fit and we all do our running and our exercises and stuff.

You know, some guys have -- they are built differently, so for them they do a couple exercises and they get pretty bulky. But if you see a smaller guy, it doesn't mean he's not strong.

Q. Do you think, though, to use tennis as an example, it became almost exclusively a power game, do you think there's a danger in golf that it will become exclusively a power game?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, I don't think so. I think if a course is set up in the right way, you know, anybody can play. Power is important, no doubt about it, but if you're not in the fairway, and you don't hit the greens, it doesn't matter how long you hit it. You still have to manage to get it around and you know, be nice and consistent. Of course power is always going to help, but you still have to get it in the right places.

Q. With this many of the top players that have won tournaments, seeing the different personality traits of players, what personality trait would you say stands out for you on a course?


Q. Yeah.

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know, I have always said -- I always try to have a lot of fun. So I would probably say I'm quite, how do you say, enthusiastic. I like to express myself, not only on the golf course but everything I do.

And, you know, I think that's probably one of my strongest -- one of my strengths. But, you know, you can also -- if you don't control it the right way, it can also be a weakness. So you've just got to make sure that you go always on the right path.

And, you know, before we finish, I just -- you guys probably know, but I just wanted to say my condolences to the Nicklaus family about, you know, the loss of Jack's grandson and you know, we're all here with them and we hope that they recover nicely.

TODD BUDNICK: Thank you, Sergio.

End of FastScripts.

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