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June 11, 2000

Sergio Garcia

HARRISON, NEW YORK

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: We would like to welcome Sergio Garcia into the interview room. You got to 10-under. Why don't you just begin by talking about your round.

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, first of all I say it was a shame that I couldn't really finish the job, but it's great to see myself up there again and, you know, showing everybody that I'm still the same guy as last year. You know, a lot of things have been said and, you know, we've been fighting and working and we can be up there easy. And after just making the cut in the bubble, I was leading by two, and well, I putted well. I'm putted well last two days but I didn't make every putt. So that shows how well I can play, and you've just got to realize that sometimes, you know, people will end up doing it, but you always try your hardest, you always try as hard as you can and today was a good day. I started really well. I made a good putt on the first and instead of playing really well, I was birdie par birdie par until the 9th. I birdied 9 and 10 and went to 10-under. And then I played -- by the 11th hole, and, you know couldn't really -- you know it was a tough thing. But we tried to keep going. I hit a great putt on 13 and almost made it and then miss-club on -- well, the wind picked up a lot when I hit on 14 and had a bad lie on the bunker and couldn't get up-and-down. And after that, I played a couple good holes, but, hit over the green on 17, a very tough hole today. I'm glad that -- looks like I'm going to finish probably third, and that's not bad.

Q. Do you think the second shot at 11 maybe you were trying to be a little too aggressive there?

SERGIO GARCIA: No.

Q. What happened at 11?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, first of all, I was walking from the 10th to the 11th and a couple guys started shouting and saying things that people shouldn't say to players. They don't know how tough it is to play this game. You know, it's hard to keep concentrating, and if a guy is saying some stupid things right to your ear, it's even tougher. But it was just a little thing, I hit a bad shot and I thought I could hit that shot. If I would have hit a good shot and hit it just short of the green he would have said what a great shot it was. But now I hit a little branch that I thought I wasn't going to hit it and that kind of distracted me a little and made double-bogey and you're saying, "Well, do you think it was too aggressive?" I don't think so.

Q. What was said, Sergio?

SERGIO GARCIA: A couple stupid things, like, you know, "Get it loose, come on" -- it's just things that you don't want to hear, but it makes you think. It makes you think a little. It's tough, but, you know, you just want to keep concentrating as you are and, well, just those little things that happen on the course. But you can't handle everybody so they are going to keep -- they are going to keep -- you're going to keep seeing those things. But, I don't know, it was not a big deal. The way I played was great and that's it.

Q. Did it make you lose concentration?

SERGIO GARCIA: It probably did a little. But I hit a bad shot. I'm not saying that it was all their fault. I hit a bad shot and I should never have hit left on that hole. But that's something, just like a little thing to mention. But the worst thing was that I hit a bad shot.

Q. Were they saying nasty things?

SERGIO GARCIA: That's enough -- well, I brought it up and now I'm --

Q. Were they yelling at you like bad things?

SERGIO GARCIA: I'm sure that they didn't want to say -- they didn't want to say on a bad -- how do you say? I mean, I'm sure they didn't have a bad intention of saying it, but things like, you heard them and you know, after a tough day, the tough year that I've had and now I'm playing so much better, I mean it feels like the people think that I'm not capable of winning, because they are thinking -- I'm sure they are trying to say the right way, but they just have to realize that we are trying to -- we are trying it do our best out there and it's just hard to -- just hard to keep your concentration alone. But that's fine. It's going to happen and hopefully it won't happen as much as it does. But we're here it talk about how well I played.

Q. What did you hit on your second shot? What were you trying to do with that shot?

SERGIO GARCIA: I was just trying to hit a low 5-iron, just in between a couple trees to get it close to the bunker. At the best probably, if I would have hit a great shot I would have been on the green but to hit a nice chip uphill, chip uphill and probably make 4.

Q. So you wanted to run the ball towards the green?

SERGIO GARCIA: I thought so, but I was making practice swing and there was a little branch coming down and it looked like I wasn't going to hit it; so I just thought, maybe, okay and just when I took my club up there, it just clicked a little and hit a little on the branch and it kind of distracted me a little. But it was good. I mean it was great to be up there again.

Q. Did your ball hit a branch as well or just on the backswing?

SERGIO GARCIA: No. It was just on the backswing.

Q. When you stepped off the 10th green how confident were you? I think you had a three-shot lead right there.

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I was confident. I was very confident because I was playing really well and maybe an easy eagle on 10, but, you know, this thing, you don't win it until you make the last putt on the 18th. I knew this is a hard course. If you make a mistake, you're going to pay for that mistake. You know, I was trying to keep the way I was playing, hitting a lot of fairways and a lot of greens. But it was, you know, those things happen sometimes.

Q. You stepped away from the eagle putt, was that a fan or photographer?

SERGIO GARCIA: That was a photographer. Right on my backswing.

Q. This is your first time in this tournament, on a very, very difficult course. What do you take away from this now?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, everything. It was a great week. We played, I think we played extremely well all four days. Putted very well on the last two rounds. You know, I really liked it and it's a good course. I feel pretty comfortable on this course, small greens and hard, difficult to hit them. I really like this course and I'm very confident, looking forward to next week. I hope we can do something good there. I'm feeling -- I feel like I'm a much better player than last year, and now I'm starting to show it.

Q. If someone said to you -- I mean you admitted the early part of the year was tougher for you this year, if someone had said to you you'll come to this TOUR event in a very, very strong field and you're going to finish third before you go to the U.S. Open, how would you have felt about it?

SERGIO GARCIA: I would have felt great. But I'm telling you, I mean, right after the Masters -- right in the Masters I played really well. I putted -- I really struggled with my putting. And just after that tournament, I started playing really well. I wasn't putting well and I was still making good scores. Played very well at the Seve Cup and I went to Dallas. I went to the Spanish Open, and I played great again. After that, Dallas, I played great again and Germany, I played very well again, and, of course, Volvo PGA could have been so much better. But I'm feeling very comfortable and hoping to do well next week.

Q. Can you talk about that little ball you were using at the end of your putter, that little putting practice instrument you were use? That seemed to have a positive effect on you.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah.

Q. What did it do, do you think?

SERGIO GARCIA: I think, to me, what I feel it's doing is it's giving me a lot of rhythm on my putting and a better putting stroke so I can control more my club head. And it's really helping me more than anything on my rhythm on the putting.

Q. Is this the first week that you've used that?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah.

Q. (Inaudible.)

SERGIO GARCIA: Probably the first 3-wood I've missed in four weeks.

Q. Do you see yourself coming back here on a regular basis now having done so well and enjoying the golf course in?

SERGIO GARCIA: Probably I will. It probably depends on the schedule but I like this golf course and I'm sure I'll come back some day.

Q. You talk about driving the 7th hole, and really a great shot there. Can you talk about that?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I was there on the tee and I was trying to focus. I hit driver all four days on that hole and I just can't aim far left enough, just can't do it. And today I was there on the tee and I was making sure I was -- don't worry about hitting it left of the -- just aim -- aim left and just give it a good read and let's see what you can do. And I hit a good drive, hit it I would say just a little farther right than what I wanted to. Hit a very good drive to the bottom tier of the green and hit a great putt. It didn't break, but if it would have break -- we thought it was going to break.

Q. Have you ever driven two par 4s in the same round?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't think so.

Q. Do you feel the kind of energy today that you felt in the final round of the PGA, same kind of momentum going?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, it was really good. It's a different tournament. You know, there's a little more pressure on a major. It felt pretty much like it. It was great to be up there again, here in the States. I've been up there in Spain and in England, but here in the States, it was great to get that feeling back and to show everybody that I can do it.

Q. What's been your biggest improvement in the last few months?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, a lot of things. But, you know, I've been hitting a lot of fairways. I've been hitting the last, probably, four to five tournaments, I've been hitting a lot of fairways. That's always very important. And my irons have been very good, too. And I'm starting to putt better. Well, of course, you know, it's sad thing that Fanny -- I think that was the right decision for her and for me, and we're always trying to do the best for all of us. It was great to find Glenn and having fun again and playing well.

Q. Did you talk to Seve or Jose Maria about this tournament?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, I haven't seen Seve that much this year. I talked to all of them a little, but I knew this course before this tournament. I played one round in '98 when I came to play an AJ event and then the U.S. Amateur, I came here and played one day, just thinking that one day we could probably play this tournament. So it was very good.

Q. Do you know Pebble Beach at all?

SERGIO GARCIA: I played there early this year.

Q. That's the only time?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah. It's a good course, very nice course. Very nice views. If the wind blows, it can be really tough.

Q. Did you kind of relive the 9th hole from Friday and when you made birdie just to make the cut, did you know at the time that you had to make a birdie to make the cut?

SERGIO GARCIA: I knew I had to make birdie to be in the bubble, just in between making it and not, and I thought that -- I knew if I made the 78-yard shot I was going to be in. But I wasn't that sure that making just birdie I was going to be in, but at the end it looked like almost 3-over made it.

Q. What was the shot you hit in, what was the yardage?

SERGIO GARCIA: 73 yards. Hit it to about an inch and a half.

Q. How much do fans still bring up that shot from PGA last year? Is that something that's constantly mentioned?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, in the tournaments, they still kind of mention when I'm walking around, "How many tree shots did you hit this week" and stuff like that. I usually say I'm hitting more fairways so trying to keep it in play. But, you know, as everything, it has to be not forgotten but just that's the past. We have to keep going and, you know, hopefully, when I come to Medinah, I'll have the same shot. I'll hit it as well as I did and make the putt and instead of 4 make 3.

Q. What was the hardest part of the tough times, your game or just the mental? I assume it was the worst stretch you've had, is it the worst stretch you've had as far as good golf or bad golf?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, as a pro.

Q. What was the hardest part of all?

SERGIO GARCIA: I wasn't playing that well. That was hard. But, you know, it's hard to say, but that's how the media is. When you play very well, they put you up there, you put me up there. When you don't play as well, they throw you down there. But that's the way it is, and you've got to realize that. But, you know, you've just got to keep concentrating and working as hard or harder than before and trying to get the momentum coming, and it's really good to be back here and hopefully see if we can finish two places better than this week next week.

Q. 17, did the wind fool you there, the second shot?

SERGIO GARCIA: Probably a little. It's a tough hole, but the problem is, I mean, you're hitting a lob-wedge to that green, and you're 7-under, you're one behind the leader and you're thinking, "Okay, don't be too aggressive." But you're hitting a lob-wedge. You don't want to be hitting it 25 feet right of the hole. So, yeah, the wind probably got me a little. You know, the ball was going a long way today. It was really hot. Like, for example, the 6th hole, the par 3, I had 131 to the hole. I hit the lob-wedge and I hit it to about 12 feet -- 12 feet over the hole. It's hard to realize that the ball is going to go that far. Well, probably the wind got me a little because it didn't look like it was blowing as hard as it really was, but, you know we made a good chip, kicked to the right but it was good.

Q. Can you run through your birdies on the front?

SERGIO GARCIA: On the 1st, I hit a good 7-iron to about 18, 20 feet; made it. Then on the 3rd, I hit a good drive and a good wedge to about 10 feet, down the hill, big breaker, just made it. Then on the 5th, I hit a great drive again. I hit a good 3-wood just over the green on the left. Hit a great shot there from the thick stuff to about four feet. And then on 7, I hit it on the green to about 35, 30 feet, 2-putts. Good up-and-down on 8. On the 9th I hit a great drive again, good 4-iron, probably pitched very close to the hole and went just to the backdrop. Hit a good bunker shot to about four feet again and made it. Then birdied on 10. Great drive to about 10 feet and missed it. And then the last one, good drive, 3-wood, good chip, because it was lying tough, and about four or five feet and made it.

Q. On 11 you had the putt for bogey that you missed, how far was that five or six feet?

SERGIO GARCIA: I would say six feet. Pulled it a little.

Q. Pulled it left?

SERGIO GARCIA: Pulled it just a hair, yeah.

Q. Could you comment on Dennis Paulson's comeback?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, it was -- he played really well and, you know, he came back with birdies on 5 and 6 -- 6 and 7, and then he made another good birdie on 9. He played very well. He played very well. And he made a great putt on the last and, you know, I thought after seeing the chip, I thought, well, make birdie maybe he misses, do you feel makes a bogey, we can still go to playoff, or maybe you can chip-in. But the line wasn't very good. But, well, he made a great putt and, you know he played very well. He didn't being -- he just made one mistake, as I did and made a double on 3, but didn't make any bogeys after that and he did well.

Q. Sergio, when you made -- when you got off 11 and you faced 12, which is obviously a very tough hole, how much of your confidence was regained by making a solid par there?

SERGIO GARCIA: It really was. You know I had a lucky bounce there. It was a good 4. You know, I was still there at 8-under, tied for the lead and we were in good shape. I hit a great putt on 13, and, you know, unlucky; I didn't make that one. After that, hit a good shot on the next and just wind got it too much and not a very good break there on the bunker. And, you know, after that, it was kind of -- it was kind of hard because hit it just over the green on 15 and made a good up-and-down. And then 16, I hit a pretty good shot and the putt, just a little too short, good line and then 17, over the green, could have made the putt on that. On 18 I hit a great second shot. I thought it was going to be a little closer. As I was looking at the ball, I thought, let's see if it bounces off, I can still have a putt for eagle and maybe 8-under and you never know what's going to happen. Maybe it can -- maybe get birdie and hole to playoff and Duval could not make birdie on 18. I was still thinking that we have a chance on 18, but, you know after 17 -- 17 was a tough hole.

Q. Is Pebble Beach, being a links, seaside type of course, do you like that? Something you think you can play well?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, yes, I did. I did like it. But I like almost every course. The only course I didn't really like was the one we played in Germany. I like almost every course I play.

Q. But does it seem suited to you?

SERGIO GARCIA: If I play well, it will.

End of FastScripts….

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