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GTE BYRON NELSON GOLF CLASSIC

May 11, 2000

Sergio Garcia

IRVING, TEXAS

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: We'd like to welcome Sergio Garcia in the interview room. Thank you for coming in. Sergio shot two-under 68 today on Cottonwood. Why don't you just begin with the course conditions and how you played.

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, as I think everybody saw, the course was playing very tough, and I would probably say that it was maybe playing tougher than almost TPC. Because the problem at Cottonwood today was that you didn't have the chance of hitting a straight -- well, I just hit two shots. One shot straight into the wind and one shot straight downwind; so it was all the time crosswinds, and I think crosswinds are probably the worst winds, and the ones from the behind -- left-to-right are really tough, for us. I think that was the biggest difficulty of the golf course, and I think right now there are better scores at TPC than at Cottonwood. So that's probably one of the keys.

Q. Sergio, Tiger said that he thought it was the worst wind he's played in sense the final round at Valderrama. Would you agree with that?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, it probably was. Masters on -- well, he didn't play on Saturday, but Masters on Saturday, it was really tough, too. I would say it was a little more windy here, but probably -- probably since Valderrama it was probably the windiest we've played.

Q. Do you flourish in the wind? Are you a good wind player? That was a very good round today.

SERGIO GARCIA: I feel like it's a great round, but I like playing in the wind much better than in the rain. But it's always tough, because you have to -- you have to be guessing and sometimes the wind is just hits a change, and, you know, it can really screw your shot. But it was a great round for me and I played really well. I hit a lot of great shots that were almost perfect, it just didn't really get there, but, you know, I'm very happy and, well, as I said, what you asked, of course, I prefer playing if wind than water, rain. But I don't know, I would say I have maybe as Glenn told me, I have better chances of winning in wind because, you know -- because I've played so much in the wind in Europe. And, you know, in the wind, this course is not going to be as good as with good weather. With good weather, it's almost everything depends on putting, but here you have to hit good shots, and you have to -- sometimes you have to make 2-putts and just think: "Okay, that was a great 4 on this hole and let's go to the next hole." But, I don't know, let's see how the weather stays and we'll see what we do.

Q. You haven't had the best of starts to your year, so what does this sort of round do for your confidence?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, not only this round, at the Masters I played very well. I putted bad, then I putted really well at the Seve Ballesteros Trophy. At the Spanish Open, I played really, really well. I didn't make as many putts as I would like to, either, but I'm playing much better. And today, I putted pretty decently. The short putts I was very solid on them. Well, of course, again it gives me more confidence, but, you know, it's just one round; so you have to keep working and playing as well as I've been playing the last four or five tournaments.

Q. Have you played or practiced much since the Masters? Well, I?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I played two tournaments and I've been practicing, yes.

Q. Where did you play?

SERGIO GARCIA: I played the Seve Ballesteros Trophy and the Spanish Open. Sometimes we play out of the United States, too. (Laughter.)

Q. Is there one particular part? You said your game has come around, is there one particular part that has turned around?

SERGIO GARCIA: I started the year hitting my irons pretty bad, and, you know, since the last -- well, second round for me at TPC, I've been hitting the irons much, much better. And, you know, I think that was one of the keys, I've been hitting the ball very well with the irons, as I usually do, but --

Q. It was also very windy at The Belfry today. Seve shot 87.

SERGIO GARCIA: I saw that Scott 71 and he was tied for 4th.

Q. So they are suffering, too.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, we are not the only ones. (Laughs).

Q. For conditions like this, is it more of a challenge, or more of a tough day at the office and you say, "Well, we are going to have to put on our helmets and go ahead"?

SERGIO GARCIA: A challenge. I think it's a tough day that you have to really concentrate on and work probably harder than some other days with good weather. But I don't know, I don't go consider it like just another day in the office. It's a tough day. You go out there and try to play well. If you're lucky -- if you're lucky enough to play well in these conditions, you're really -- you can hit some shots, for example, like I did today on the 8th. I hit a 5-iron from 170 yards straight into the wind. I hit it like, probably, six feet high, and my caddy, Glenn, was laughing. He was like, "I love that shot". And you know, if you play well, you can really enjoy this kind of weather, but you have to play well, because if you struggle a little, oh, it's tough to recover.

Q. Does the tournament have any special meaning for you?

SERGIO GARCIA: Of course it does. You know, last year it was my first -- my first tournament here as a pro, and, you know, I finished 3rd. It was a great tournament. I started with a 62 there with a bogey on 18. It is a special tournament. I don't know, I feel very comfortable here, and I think the people really like me, and I like them, too. You know, it's great to see somebody that supports you, and of course, being Byron's tournament and all that stuff is really -- of course, it's special. I birdied 3. Hit a good drive, just went through the fairway; hit the rough. Hit a very good sand wedge from there. I think it was like 144 yards and hit it straight downwind from the left. Hit a very good sand wedge. Just went over the back to the bunker, back bunker; holed it from the bunker. And then on No. 6, I hit another good driver and drive and had like a 56 pitch shot and hit a very good lob-wedge to about six feet and made it. Then on 8, I hit a great drive and the 5-iron, I told you, six feet high and hit it to about 15 feet and made it. Then I 3-putted 9 for bogey from -- it was pretty far, probably, I don't know, 35 feet away. Then on 13, I hit a good tee shot, and then I hit probably one of the worst -- probably the worst shot I hit today. Hit it right and high to the right-hand side rough. Made a good chip to about, probably, eight, nine feet and made the putt. And then on 16, I hit a great drive again, very long, and I kind of holed it a little -- pushed it a little with a 4-iron, just in between the bunkers and hit a great shot from there to about three feet, two feet.

Q. Last year you said you noticed a lot of pretty women when you were here. Now over on Cottonwood there are not as many fans; are you looking forward to getting over on to the TPC?

SERGIO GARCIA: There were some fans. There were some girls, too. It was okay. It was okay. You know, you get more people on TPC, but it was good enough.

Q. What is your schedule after up to the U.S. Open?

SERGIO GARCIA: I'm playing TPC of Europe, Deutsche Bank, Volvo PGA, week off, Westchester, U.S. Open.

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