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August 16, 2006

Sergio Garcia


KELLY ELBIN: Sergio Garcia, ladies and gentlemen, appearing in his eighth PGA Championship this week.

Sergio, welcome back to Medinah.


KELLY ELBIN: Where you were second in 1999 to Tiger Woods. Your thoughts on returning to Medinah.

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, it's great. I've been looking forward to coming back here. Of course this is a special place for me, a special city, and I'm looking forward to hopefully give it a good run and see if we can do like seven years ago or maybe a little better.

KELLY ELBIN: Comments on differences you've seen in the golf course in the practice rounds versus what you remember from 1999.

SERGIO GARCIA: The look of the course is pretty similar. Although the greens, most of the greens have changed. I think that, I don't know, roughly probably 13 or 14 of the 18 greens are different. So you do have to get used to it a little bit from seven years ago, but the look of the course is pretty much the same.

Q. How often are you reminded about the great shot that you made in 1999, and secondly, would you consider that the best shot of your career?

SERGIO GARCIA: I am reminded quite a bit, which is a nice thing, definitely. It's always nice to be reminded about good shots.

It definitely is one of the best shots of my career under the situation and everything. Of course, unfortunately it wasn't it was just short of what I wanted, but it was definitely one of the best shots I've ever hit.

Q. I was out there at 16 yesterday when the fans encouraged you and called you over. Had you planned on putting on a little show for them and going over to the tree, or was that just something in the spur of the moment?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, I mean, of course I was always going to go and check it out. I remember three or four weeks ago before coming in here, they were telling me that the tree was kind of struggling a little bit and they've had to overseed that little spot because everybody's been hitting from it.

It definitely looks a little different than it was seven years ago from everybody hitting. It looked like the sod, the grass they put in it, it's more of an angle now, so the ball, even if it goes like it went in '99, it will come back a little bit more. So it won't be as much in the tree as it was in '99.

But it was fun to get to see the shot again and be reminded a little bit of what it was seven years ago. Unfortunately, you know, I'm a lot older, so I don't have the energy I used to have.

Q. In a weird way, doing what you did here at 19 years old, was that a mixed blessing, because it seems like ever since, every time you show up at a major, we've always got to ask you, how come you haven't won a major yet, because it heaped all those expectations on you? For instance, Trevor Immelman is 26, and nobody is asking him those questions.

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I think probably the best, the biggest problem about it is that you always when somebody comes and sits here, you're only thinking about one guy that has done something unbelievable, very difficult to repeat. And you expect everybody else to do the same.

It's not easy to go out there and win a major when you're young and even when you're in your 20s. You know, Tiger has been able to do that plenty of times, and you expect everybody else to do the same. It's not that easy.

So as I always said, the only thing I can do is at least give myself a chance, and the more chances I give myself, the more possibilities I have of winning. And of course, I'm going to lose some, there's no doubt about that. But, you know, that's pretty much the only thing I can do and just keep working hard on it and hopefully wait for the right time.

Q. Just following on a similar sort of question to that, you've had 11 Top 10s in majors, which is quite a good record, so you've been in position to win many times. What do you know about yourself now that maybe you didn't know then in terms of closing the deal, and how can you get yourself into that position where you can finish it on the Sunday?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, unfortunately I haven't closed the deal yet, so I don't know.

No, I think that, as I said before, it's just a matter of keep putting yourself in that position, keep learning about it, keep going through the emotions go around at that certain time and feeling more and more comfortable when you're in that position.

You know, if things go your way, everything seems to be easy. You know, if things go a little bit south, then it always seems a bit of a struggle. But at the end of the day, you can only try your hardest, and I think that, you know, with time, as I said before, you learn how to respond in those situations.

Q. At Hoylake, you had the great Saturday round, you came in and you were obviously very excited. You go out on Sunday and you bogey I believe it 2 and 3. Did that finish you off or were you able to keep going, and how disappointing was that final round?

SERGIO GARCIA: Actually, as I said when I finished, I wasn't disappointed. I was obviously a little bit sad because unfortunately I couldn't make a little bit of a bigger challenge towards Tiger.

But at the same time, I said when I finished, on Saturday morning, I had no chance of winning, absolutely zero chance. On Sunday, at least I did have a chance. You've got to realise that it's very difficult to go 65 65 on a weekend in a major to win, and that's what I needed to do.

Unfortunately on Sunday, I felt like I played to tell you the truth, I felt like I played well. Unfortunately I 3 putted 2 and 3, hitting two good putts; those things happen. I thought I hit a great drive on 5, and unfortunately it just caught the edge of the bunker and up against the lip, and then Tiger eagles that hole, and all of a sudden I'm five back.

So it was quite difficult, and he also played really well that day. At least I kept playing. I played what I thought was a really nice back nine, came back nicely, and at least I managed to have a strong finish.

So I was a little bit sad but I wasn't disappointed. More than anything, I was pleased with the way I felt on the golf course. I felt like I was very calm, I felt like I was in another place. Unfortunately it just didn't happen to me.

Q. You mentioned how impressive what Tiger has been able to do and he's kind of exceptional because he's done it at his age. At age 25, yourself, would you have seen what he's done as difficult; in other words, does it seem more difficult now than it might have seemed to you six or seven years ago?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, of course, when you come out, you think that you're going to rip the world apart and you don't think about anybody else. But as you keep playing, you realise how many good players are out here and how many players actually can win a tournament that single week. It's not easy. Somebody just needs to get that good week where everything goes his way and you make some good putts here and there and everything starts falling into place, and it's tough to beat them.

So I realise that what he's done is exceptionally, exceptionally good, and he should get credit for it. I think he does, anyway, so he's fine.

Q. Is there one or two majors that really still annoy you that you feel really got away that you should have won as you look back, one or two of those Top 10s?

SERGIO GARCIA: Definitely I feel like I probably have two or three at least that I have played well enough to win, but I haven't. So if I haven't won it, I probably didn't deserve it.

The only thing

Q. Which ones?

SERGIO GARCIA: Which ones? Probably a couple British Opens, I felt like I played well enough to win. Maybe a U.S. Open here and there. Last year I felt like I played extremely well in the U.S. Open.

But I didn't. So it is what it is. The only thing I can do is keep looking forward. You know, you can't live in the past and you've just got to look at the present and hopefully get better for the future.

Q. Just a quick two parter. The shot from the tree, at the time people had said that they thought that you were risking hitting the tree with the club. I was just wondering, was that what it was why you turned away, or was it because you thought the ball was going to hit the tree and ricochet back at you?

SERGIO GARCIA: A bit of both. There was a bit of a chance of hitting the tree with the club. I wasn't as worried of that as I was of the ball hitting the tree. Because I knew that somehow I could get into the ball with the club, but the problem was getting it up quick enough over that edge of the tree. So that's what I was a bit worried about. That's why I kind of put my face away and hope for the best. That's pretty much the deal.

Q. Looking towards the Ryder Cup, as well as you guys have played over the last ten years, do you feel like you finally earned the status of being the favourite coming into this year, particularly since you're playing on home soil?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, I don't think so. I think the Americans always have better World Rankings. You know, they should be the favourites.

But you know, the good thing about it is that we know what we can do, and best of all, they know what we can do. So I know it's in the back of their minds, and hopefully we can go out there and make it three in a row. It will be something very difficult, but at least, you know, we're on home soil and I know the Irish people are going to be behind us all the way. It should be a very exciting Ryder Cup.

Q. Since your impressive performance here in '99, in the time since then, do you feel in your opinion that your career has exceeded expectations, or have you fallen short?

SERGIO GARCIA: I mean, if I think about it myself, of course I think that I could have done better. If I think about it realistically, I think it's a good career so far. You've just got to take a look at some of the youngsters, some of the guys under 30; I don't think many guys under 30 have a much better career than I do.

So it can't be too bad. You're 26, you've been playing professionally for about eight years. I think I've been in the Top 10 in the world probably five years at least. So it's got to be a good career. Of course I would have loved to do a little bit better, there's no doubt about that, and that's why I keep working hard on it, but I'm not disappointed about it at all, no.

Q. A look at your putting statistics sort of indicates that that might be where you've not been able to finish it in the majors. Would you agree that the putting has been the part that's held you back, and how do you feel about your putting now and what have you done as far as trying to keep it better?

SERGIO GARCIA: There's no doubt that it's held me back a little bit sometimes, but I wouldn't say it's always been the putter. Sometimes unfortunately I haven't played well enough. But I do feel like as we were talking before, there's been probably three or four majors where I felt like my game was definitely good enough to win, and unfortunately maybe my putter let me down a little bit.

The only thing I can do about it is keep working on it, keep getting good thoughts on it, and hopefully get some good confidence on greens when the right time comes. You know, it's all you can do at the end of the day. Sometimes it's going to go right, sometimes it's going to go wrong. But, you know, it's the main goal.

KELLY ELBIN: Sergio Garcia, thank you very much.

End of FastScripts.

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