June 3, 1999
LEE PATTERSON: All right. I think we can get started. Maybe just a couple comments about your start here today, and then we'll open it up for questions.
SERGIO GARCIA: All right. Today was a great day, again. I'm feeling really comfortable in this country and the United States. I played very good today. I made lots of birdies, a couple of bogeys. And I just missed two fairways, hit a lot of greens. I think it was a very good round to start with.
LEE PATTERSON: Any questions?
Q. How disappointed are you with the 18th hole?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, a little disappointed. But, you know, this happened to me also at the Byron Nelson. (Laughter.) Just, I mean, I didn't hit a good swing on the tee and hit it into the bunker, tough shot, hit it a little farther and then I had an almost impossible shot. I tried to pull it close and just left it short. I'm not really disappointed. I'm pretty happy the way I played and it will give me confidence for tomorrow.
Q. Sergio, when Tiger Woods turned pro, his first year he found -- he said after the fact that he was run around the world, he got tired, he wasn't physically and mentally able to do what he wanted to do. How are you going to try and manage where you play, how much you play, all of those kind of things?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, that's the thing that I'm doing with my manager also and with my family also and my dad. I think we're doing good. I mean this year I'm travelling quite a lot, Europe, U.S., because I only have seven tournaments in Europe and I only have seven tournaments here. So I'm trying to -- not to have too many weeks off between tournaments, so I'm playing this five weeks in a row, next week will be the fifth. Then I'll take a couple weeks off and play some more in Europe and then come back here for a couple of more.
Q. You seem real relaxed. Were you nervous out there at all today? Are you too young to get nervous about this yet?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, I don't think I'm too young to get nervous. But, you know, I've been nervous. Like, last year, a couple years ago, I was in that position. But I've always said that -- how do you say it -- the experience you get when I was -- when I got when I was an amateur, it helped me a lot. Because I was winning a couple of tournaments, one here, three or four in Europe, so they were events as an amateur. So I don't feel like I'm in a strange place. So I feel pretty confident.
Q. How many weeks have you been a pro now?
SERGIO GARCIA: I think this is my sixth week. I think.
Q. You turned pro the 21st of April.
SERGIO GARCIA: Of April, so, yeah, about -- I think five.
Q. And this will be your fifth? Next week will be your fifth tournament here?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yes -- no, not here.
Q. Fifth overall?
SERGIO GARCIA: Sixth over all. This is my fifth. Fifth tournament.
Q. Next week will be six? Three in Europe and three in --
SERGIO GARCIA: Three in Europe and three in the States after next week.
LEE PATTERSON: Anything else?
Q. Yes. What kind of advice have you gotten from Seve Ballesteros and Jose-Maria Olazabal on how to be a professional, how to conduct yourself and all those kinds of things?
SERGIO GARCIA: They told me to be myself, keep working like I've been doing, and just to stay calm and be patient. And if it doesn't go right, to wait for the moment and keep practicing. Never give up.
Q. Who did you watch when you were growing up? Did you emulate anyone when you were growing up, try to play like anyone?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, not emulate. But I've always watched Seve. I watched Seve a lot on TV. But, you know, I didn't try to emulate; I just had my own swing and that's the way I played.
Q. Was there anybody that you followed really cheered for that was your favorite guy?
SERGIO GARCIA: No. I haven't gone to a lot of tournaments. I just -- I preferred to watch it on TV. It's better. (Laughter.) Yeah, because there's a lot of crowds and you can't see a couple of holes. When I went to the Ryder Cup in '95 at Oak Hill, I could only see three holes. Then I went to the tent, to the big tent to watch it on the TV because it was better and also the weather was terrible. So... (Laughter.)
Q. Your own Ryder Cup dreams, would it be a long shot this year?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, you know, my dream is to get on the Ryder Cup team. But that's not -- well, the only thing I can do is play my best and see what -- I mean, if I can qualify by points, that's really difficult, because I've only played three tournaments in Europe. I did okay, 25th, 20th, 19th. So it's not bad. But for European Ryder Cup team points it's not good enough. I can only play seven. And these guys play like 30 or 35. So I'll do my best. I'll try to keep shooting 67s and things like that. And, well, we'll see what Mark James says. But I don't know. I know it's very tough.
Q. Your fifth tournament as a pro, I think you were third in Dallas; is that correct? Your second here right now, you're 19 years old. Are you surprised you're doing what you're doing?
SERGIO GARCIA: Not surprised. You know, I think -- well, I think I have enough game to be on the top, but probably surprised just a little that I finished third in my second tournament in the States, in a big tournament. But that week gave me a lot of confidence, and without playing my best the last couple of weeks in Germany and in England, without playing really well, without playing really well, I finished 20th and 19th. So, you know, that gave me some confidence. It gave me a lot of confidence. But I'm not really, really surprised.
Q. Is the Open one of your three that you have remaining in Europe?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yes.
Q. That would be one of the three?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yes.
Q. What are the other two?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well I'm playing -- let me see. I'm playing the Irish Open, Loch Lomond, then I'll try to qualify for the British. So that won't count --
Q. If you qualify, okay.
SERGIO GARCIA: But I have to qualify. I have to qualify. And then I'm playing two more. I'm playing Smurfit and Scandinavian Masters.
Q. There's an Open qualifier here for the U.S. Open on Monday. Would you have had to qualify locally for the U.S. Open, or --
SERGIO GARCIA: Yes.
Q. I'm wondering --
SERGIO GARCIA: Yes. I have to qualify -- first of all, I wasn't going to play because it was going into my sixth week in a row. I didn't want to play that. But then when I decided to play, to try to qualify, they closed the entries. So I think the only way to play it now is winning here, I think. Isn't it?
LEE PATTERSON: I have to check.
SERGIO GARCIA: I heard that if you win here --
Q. I think it's top ten money winners from last week, isn't it?
LEE PATTERSON: Yes. Yes, it is.
SERGIO GARCIA: Okay. (Laughter.)
Q. Watch it on TV.
SSERGIO GARCIA: That's right (Laughter.)
Q. Sergio, do you have more -- do you like fast greens, like most in America; or do you mind the sometimes slow, sometimes fast in Europe. What do you prefer?
SERGIO GARCIA: I really like the fast greens here in America. I've always -- I can't putt on the slow greens. I just get crazy. You know, it's true. I can't. I mean I just want to make a smooth backswing, a smooth follow through and let the ball roll. That's what you do here. In some tournaments in Europe you just have to hit it and let's see where it goes.
Q. How about chipping, the same way?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yes. I mean, you know, here, you know, because the greens are harder and also quicker, the chip is going to check better. It's not going to probably -- you hit a chip shot and it's going to chip to max because it's not in a strange place. So I think it's always better for your game to play in good conditions.
Q. Are the fast greens one of the reasons you're comfortable playing in America?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yes. I mean my dad told me yesterday, I mean, he went to a putting range, he told me, your putting stroke is so good here. Because when I fly from Europe to the States, I'm thinking, oh, I'm going to the good greens, very good. So I'm just thinking that the greens are good. If they are not that good, I see them like they are good. (Laughter.) So I just hit it and it kind of goes -- everything okay. In Europe, we have some good courses, but I go, like, thinking I don't know if they are going to be too good. So it helps me a lot, playing on the good greens here.
Q. It's interesting to me that a lot of pros who come out on the PGA Tour, European Tour, they see courses for the first time; they have difficulty because they don't know where to hit it; they're not familiar with the surroundings. You seem pretty comfortable. What are some of the challenges you face when you come to the place for the first time and how do you overcome them?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I played a practice round yesterday. I look at my spots, and, well, I go that way. And probably, you know, today I realized that on the 18th, there was a little down breeze. I had to hit a 2-iron all the way, all times. I hit 3, probably the wrong club. I hit a bad shot anyway. But you're always learning something. But more or less, when I practice, I try to take care of my spot, where I have to hit it from the tee to the green and everything.
Q. Do you worry about the big crowd -- that you might get the big crowds like Tiger, or are you almost looking forward to that kind of thing?
SERGIO GARCIA: No. I can tell you, I really like them. I really like big crowds, people looking at me. I think that they came here, they pay, and well, they deserve to see golf. And, I mean, if they come to watch me, I'm not going to say no, no, go home. I'm too nervous, go home. So, no, I just -- when I have big crowds, I just try to play as good as I can, and show them some good golf.
Q. You talked to Fred Couples a little bit before in the Masters and everything else. Did you talk to him before here?
SERGIO GARCIA: I saw him yesterday. But I just -- I just said hello and good-bye. Nothing serious.
Q. Tiger Woods always talks about how his dad helped him get ready to play professional golf; that he was groomed for it, he knew what to expect. What role has your family played in helping you get ready to play professional golf?
SERGIO GARCIA: They helped me a lot. They really helped me a lot. It also helped me a lot that I played a lot of Pro-Ams as an amateur. But my dad was always dreaming about being on the European or U.S. PGA Tour. So he kind of gave me that feeling, and, well, he gave me the swing and the feeling and then I tried to play the game.
Q. Working pretty well. Do you know how many pro events you played as an amateur?
SERGIO GARCIA: 28.
LEE PATTERSON: Real quick, if you can go over your birdies for us. Club and distance putt.
SERGIO GARCIA: On the third, I hit a very good 2-iron from the tee, amazing because I hit it like 310 yards. I was surprised. We had some wind helping, but I was surprised. So I hit it 2-iron to the fairway, then a sand wedge for 4 feet. Then on the -- you want me to say the bogeys?
LEE PATTERSON: 6.
SERGIO GARCIA: We'll forget them. Then on the 6th, I hit a good driver to the fairway, a very good 7-iron about 15 feet. Then on 7th, I hit a good driver again, good drive to the middle of the green and made two putts from 40 feet. Then on the 8th, I hit a good 7-iron with a little fade, I just went a little long. I had, like, 20 -- well, 25, 30 for birdie, I made it.
LEE PATTERSON: 11?
SERGIO GARCIA: Then on 11, I hit a good driver again, good 3-wood, just hit it a little thin. Tried to cut it, hit it a little thin, a little low, but I put it on the green at about 20 feet again and almost made it.
LEE PATTERSON: 14 and 15?
SERGIO GARCIA: Then on 14, I hit a good 3-iron from the tee, very good sand wedge, and put it like 6, 7 feet. Then on 15, I hit another good driver, good 2-iron. Just didn't fade it as much as I needed. I went just to the rough on the left over the green, made a good save from there, not a very good lie. And, I don't know, like 6 feet, 7 feet down the hill.
LEE PATTERSON: And 17?
SERGIO GARCIA: Then on 17, I hit a good 3-wood, just a little too much in the bunker. I hit a very good 8-iron from there, and 5, 6 feet.
LEE PATTERSON: For those of us who weren't here, what happened on 18?
SERGIO GARCIA: On 18?
LEE PATTERSON: Yes.
SERGIO GARCIA: On 18, I hit a 3-wood to the right, bunker. Not a very good lie. I hit the face of the bunker, very high. So I tried to hit a big 8 fading it, I hit it a little fat, short of the green. Very difficult chip. Tried to make a nice club shot, just a little short in the bunker, made a good bunker shot and good lie. 3 feet. 2-and-a-half feet, 3 feet.
LEE PATTERSON: Perfect. Anything else? Thank you. I appreciate your time.
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