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THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

July 20, 2006

Sergio Garcia

HOYLAKE, ENGLAND

STEWART McDOUGALL: Ladies and gentlemen, Sergio Garcia, 68, leader in the clubhouse, 4 under par. Is that the start you were looking for at the Open Championship?

SERGIO GARCIA: Definitely it's a good start, and I'm pretty happy about it. Unfortunately I had a little bad run there, the middle of the round, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14. But at least I finished strongly with a couple of good birdies on the par 5s. It's a good, decent run.

Q. I was talking to Elk earlier, and he said that the rain took some of the fire out of the course for the early morning groups. Would you agree with that?

SERGIO GARCIA: It definitely did. There's no doubt about that. If the course, if it would have not rained, you definitely wouldn't be seeing the scores you're seeing. But the overnight rain definitely softened up the course. It made hitting the fairways a little bit easier, and of course stopping on the greens was much easier than it's been these last three days.

Also it made the course play a little bit longer, but at least you had a bit more control. And even hitting out of the rough you were still able to stop it on the green pretty nicely. That's something that was quite, quite difficult these last three days.

Q. You were doing fantastically and then came off 10 with just a par. Did that slightly take the wind out of your sails?

SERGIO GARCIA: It definitely took a bit of momentum out of my side, because I was playing very nicely. A great putt on 9 for par, and then I hit two really nice shots into 10, great drive and a nice 3 iron to probably about 30 feet, just left of the hole. And I thought I hit a pretty good putt, my first putt, but it was definitely a lot quicker than I thought and it probably went by about five feet and then hit a very poor putt. So that wasn't great.

But then on the next hole I hit a great tee shot. I hit it down there. I had a great chance of making birdie from 19 yards, but unfortunately it was in a divot. So those couple of things kind of took a bit of momentum out of my side. I didn't birdie that hole.

And then 13 I hit it to about four feet and missed it. So that wasn't the best of things. But at least I finished nicely, like I said, and a 68 I'll take 4 under par in a major. Doesn't matter if it's playing easy or tough, I'll take it every time.

Q. Your form hasn't been great coming in. Did you feel you sort of came a bit under the radar and you were able to practice under less pressure?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I wouldn't say that. Definitely I know that I still have to work on my game. Don't get me wrong, it's a very nice round, but I'm still not fully satisfied. I feel like there's two or three shots that I still could get a lot better with. So that's good, because there's room for improvement.

I did enjoy the way I drove the ball today for the most part of the day. I think I only missed the 14th and the 17th fairway, and the 17th was only missed by about three feet. So that was nice to see. And hopefully I can keep doing the same thing and hit a lot of the greens, that's always important in major championships. And if I roll the potato nicely, that would be good.

Q. Bearing in mind the variety of shots you need to play links golf, would you like to see a Ryder Cup be played on links golf course?

SERGIO GARCIA: It would be different. We definitely I haven't really thought about it. I think if you look at it on the last eight or ten years, it probably won't be the best thing for us, so we'll keep it where it is. We're doing well there. But it would be something interesting, there's no doubt about that.

Q. I was just going to ask you, when you got here and first started playing this course, did you feel like it might suit your game, or was it just kind of a course that you were going, ugh, I don't know how

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, to tell you the truth I did enjoy the course while I was practicing, even though it was really firm and it was even hard to kind of put the club down and not let it slide all over the place. But I did enjoy it. I felt like with the wind we played the last couple of days I could hit a lot of drives over the bunkers and take them out of play. Even being in the rough kind of play for pars and try to hit like a sand wedge or lob wedge or pitching wedge into the green and just keep working with that.

But it definitely changed today. The wind was totally different. A lot of those holes like 12, 14 you were bombing over the hill with the bunkers and you weren't even worried about that. Today you couldn't. So it was a bit tighter there. But it was I did enjoy the course. I think it's a good, decent course. It would be nice to see it play like it was at the beginning of the week, towards the weekend.

Q. Staying in a house with all the family gathered, does that make the week special?

SERGIO GARCIA: Definitely. When you have your family around, it's always nice. Unfortunately in the last probably five or six years we haven't been able to get everybody together because my sister was staying in the U.S. and we didn't see much of her. And then my brother was working in Spain, he still does, but it's nice to finally kind of get everybody together. We come back to the house, my mom cooks some beautiful dinners and stuff. We play cards and just enjoy the time with each other. So that is something that I haven't been able to have for quite a while with my whole family, and I'll really enjoy it this weekend.

STEWART McDOUGALL: Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts.

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