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January 28, 2006

Sergio Garcia


JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Sergio Garcia into the interview room, our leader right now.

Sergio, first thing is first. We'd like to announce that you will be the winner of the AstraZeneca Charity Challenge, and your name and also the name of Buick Invitational, will present $100,000 to the American School of Gastroenterology, so congratulations.


JOHN BUSH: It was a slow start for you out of the chute, but then you really turned it on. If you can comment on the round for us, please.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, it was a bit of a rough start, on the first, missed a short birdie putt from about six feet.

Then 2, I hit a good drive, hit a really good shot and straight at it. After that, I kind of told myself that I was playing well. You know, I was putting well and I need to get it going a little bit. Made two good birdies on 5 and 6 so that got me back to even and in good position again, and from then on I played pretty solid all the way coming in. Hit some really good drives, hit a lot of good iron shots and I made a couple nice putts.

Unfortunately would have liked to birdie 13 after I hit it on the green in two, but that's how it goes.

JOHN BUSH: If you'll take us through your card real quick starting with the 5.

SERGIO GARCIA: 5, I hit a good drive just in the left rough, hit a very good 8 iron from there to about seven feet, made that putt.

Then on 6, I hit it just in the left, hit 3 wood just short of the green and a very good chip from thick rough to about five feet.

Then on 9, I hit a good drive down the middle, hit a good 3 wood just short of the green, hit it a bit soft and ended up ten feet short, nine feet short, and made that.

10, I hit it just in the left rough, hit a good wedge from there to about ten feet and made that.

On 12, I hit a good drive down the middle, hit a very good 5 iron to about 60 feet and that was a nice birdie to have there.

Then unfortunately I 3 putted 13.

Then 18, I hit a bad drive in the left rough, had quite a bad lie, hit a good 8 iron from there. I hit another 8 iron to about five feet and made that.

Q. You were just in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, have you been bouncing around, wondering where you are?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I definitely know when I woke up, I woke up on Tuesday morning, I know I wasn't in Abu Dhabi because the hotel was unbelievable. I've never seen anything like it, a 7 star hotel, it was amazing. (Laughter). Unbelievable, I've never seen anything like it. Just to give you a little idea, from one end to the east wing to the other end of the west wing it was one kilometer long. But as we were talking, it did take me a while to get really back a little bit, and the first three days, you know, I was going to sleep like at 6:30, 7:00 in the afternoon and waking up like at 1:30 in the morning. Even though the tee times were early, I was still up for six or seven hours. So it kind of took me a little bit to get back into it, but the last couple of nights I've slept well from better times. So I'm starting to get back into it. My game is pretty good and that's the most important thing, and I had a great week last week, so I don't regret going there.

Q. You've won early in the season, do you consider yourself a really strong early season player?

SERGIO GARCIA: I wouldn't say so. I don't know, I guess a bit of everything and around June. I just try to be consistent throughout the whole year and give myself opportunities at winning tournaments. That's you just put yourself and keep learning, keep learning from those experiences and trying to get better.

And it's a hard golf course, it doesn't make it very easy. But looking forward to it and hopefully putting a good round in there and at least give myself the best chance possible of winning and see what happens.

Q. Last year you played very well on the weekend, has it taken you a while to get used to the course and secondly has it taken you a while inaudible?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, I feel good. I feel with the things I've been working on are starting to come around. My putting is starting to come around. I feel so much more comfortable over my putts. I stand over there thinking I'm going to make them, so that's a big difference.

I think that the other thing that you can do is keep working and keep trying to get better. So today was a good start after the last start was a good test for me and I played nicely. So hopefully I can have.

Q. The South Course, did it take you a while to learn it?

SERGIO GARCIA: I think I played the last three or four years but I had some good rounds on that course. I enjoy it, I enjoy it mainly because it's a great golf course. It's a driver's golf course. It's narrow and long so you have to hit a lot of drives. There's a lot of courses that your shots to the greens are going to be too long. It's a good test of golf. You know, I'm enjoying it, and I guess, you know, when you're making putts it's a bit easier to get around these golf courses. It's a wonderful golf course.

Q. I think I know the answer to this, but how much do you enjoy

SERGIO GARCIA: So why do you ask.

Q. Just want to be sure. How much do you enjoy going nose to nose with the No. 1 player in the world, a chance like this for a shootout down the stretch?

SERGIO GARCIA: I've always enjoyed competition, and, you know, playing against the best. That's why I came here to the U.S. to play on this tour.

It's going to be a fun day and by no means is it going to be easy. You know, I played the first couple of days with him and enjoyed it quite a bit so I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do tomorrow.

Q. When is the last time you played with him on a Sunday?

SERGIO GARCIA: U.S. Open I think, Bethpage.

Q. With the combination of the way you're playing right now and major venues that you play well on, do you feel like you're as confident as ever going into this major season?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know, I've worked on it and I'm trying to get better on, hopefully. I feel like I've been doing a lot of good work and it's just a matter of giving yourself chances and hopefully break through one of those. That's really the only thing I can ask myself to do and I'm not going to put any extra pressure or anything. I just want to keep playing well and hopefully win one soon.

Q. Inaudible?

SERGIO GARCIA: I think he doesn't come as much as he used to because he's playing The European Seniors Tour. It's something that I'm very proud of him and he's very happy about it.

So, I don't know, I want to say nowadays he probably comes to maybe 50 percent, between 50 and 60 percent maybe. It's harder for him to come to many tournaments because he is trying to play, and it's hard to play when you're here relaxing, but he comes a little bit.

Q. Inaudible?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, I wouldn't say so. It depends on how I'm doing that week and if I feel like I need to hit balls. I wouldn't say so. I just I'm old enough to know when I need to work on my game and when not to.

Q. Inaudible?

SERGIO GARCIA: Just keep working on it. The thing that the more you work on it, the more you repeat and the motion is there, and the more comfortable you feel over the putts. I think that I'm finally feeling the most comfortable I've felt for quite a while.

And last week, although I didn't really make a lot of putts, I played very well and I hit a lot of good putts. For me the most important thing, making putts is great, but if you're hitting good putts, even if you miss one or two, at least you feel like you give it the best chance possible and.

Q. Do you think your performance last year was the least you could have done, given how well you were hitting the ball, because of your putting?

SERGIO GARCIA: I think so, yeah. If I would have putted the way I'm starting to putt now, it could have been a really good season for me because I feel like my game was spot on and even though I didn't this week, started out like maybe last year, I played better golf on this course and I struggled to score. It's pretty simple when you hole a couple putts; it takes a lot of pressure off your game. You don't worry about missing a fairway here or there or missing a green here or there because you know you have a good chance of getting up and down or even just hitting a shot that you know you can make it.

That's one thing that Tiger is good at. Even when his game is not spot on, you know that he can get in the hole and that he can get around. That's what you need around here and I feel like I'm starting to get around that.

Q. Tiger talks about how he builds everything towards Augusta, do you prepare the same way?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I try. I try. I try to set it up in a way where I feel like I can perform the best.

Unfortunately this year I didn't get much of a rest because I really enjoy going back to Kapalua and playing in that event. I think it's a very unique tournament and I always enjoy coming back. So you know I'm looking forward to just a little break next week and get back and get ready for TPC and The Masters.

JOHN BUSH: Sergio, thank you, play well tomorrow.

End of FastScripts.

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