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March 17, 2001

Sergio Garcia


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: All right. We'd like to thank Sergio Garcia for joining us. Great round today and good position going into tomorrow, the final round. Why don't you talk about that a little bit.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, well, I'm one behind Tiger, so, you know, I'd love to be in front, but I think it's a good place to be. Try to take it from behind and see what we can do. I know it's going to be a tough day. He's a great player and it looks like he's playing better, too. I think overall, it's going to be a fun day.

Q. We were trying to determine if you guys had ever been paired together in a final round. Do you know?

SERGIO GARCIA: Not on the PGA TOUR. Well, we played in his tournament last year, but never in the PGA TOUR.

Q. Sergio, how excited are you to be -- at the prospect of going head-to-head with Tiger in a big tournament?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, more than going head-to-head to Tiger, I'm really happy to have a chance of winning the tournament. I think that's the most important thing. You know, if I'm able to win the tournament, I'm able to beat Tiger. So it all comes together. You know, if I beat Tiger, I might not win the tournament. You never know. So I prefer the first thing than the second. You know, I'm really happy for that, and I'm happy, just, you know, to see that I'm playing well. You know, it's just such a good feeling. Even if I don't win, actually, I don't really care much. Just to be able to play well, to be out here and playing well, it's a great feeling. But hopefully, it will all come together.

Q. Do you watch boards, and if so, did you see him moving up the board? Did that inspire you to play well?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, of course I saw him moving up. He started really, really strong. You know, I kind of started pretty well, birdieing the first. But the second I miss-hit a little bit. I had a horrible lie in the bunker, impossible . But missed a really short putt on 5. When I made birdie on 6, I wasn't expecting to see the scores so low. I mean, because at the beginning, they were really going for it. There were a couple of guys at 10-under, Tiger at 11, Frazar was 10 and a couple guys at 9. But I knew that, you know, coming in, it was going to be tough, because it wasn't much wind, but as hard as the greens are and with that little breeze into the last couple holes, I knew it was going to be a little tougher there. So I just tried to keep focused. Try not to make many mistakes and I was able to do that.

Q. Did you guys ever play in a Ryder Cup or go head-to-head?

SERGIO GARCIA: Not singles. We played foursomes. We played Jesper and me against Tom Lehman and him, the first match of the Ryder Cup, I think.

Q. How did that turn out?

SERGIO GARCIA: We won, yeah.

Q. How much stock did you put into that?

SERGIO GARCIA: That helped me a lot, but that's a different thing. We are playing stroke play. It's totally different. It's different course, different time of the year. Different everything. You've just got to go out there as confident as you can and just play to play well. If you are able to beat him, perfect. But I'll say more than focusing on beating him, I mean, if he's doing well, of course you have to focus on beating him, because if you beat him, you're going to win. But more than that, you've just got to focus on the tournament. So that's -- that was probably my mistake at the Williams. I was so focused on trying to be ahead of him that I forgot about Davis Love, and then he came back and he shot 64 and won. So, you know, I have to be, of course, looking at him, but more than that, paying attention to the tournament.

Q. A couple of years ago after the PGA with you and Tiger battling to the end, a lot of people immediately anointed you expected immediate and great things. In hindsight, does that almost irk you a little bit, all of the great expectations that were immediately expected?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, I don't think so. What hurt me is I didn't play as well as I should have. But you've got to realize that I'm still young. I'm still learning a lot. I still have to improve a lot of things. But, you know, it's getting there. If you notice, since almost a year ago, I've been playing pretty solid. I haven't won, of course, you know, that's tough. But I've been there. I've been kind of leading or almost leading tournaments, finishing -- I probably finished, I don't know, six or seven Top-10s, a couple thirds. So, it's good stiff. It's not good enough, of course, because you always try to win. You know, I didn't feel like I've been playing that bad. Now, though, I feel that I'm striking the ball a lot better. My irons are a lot more accurate. You know, I've been improving my putting a little bit, too. I think it's all coming. I just have to give it some time, stay patient and not think too much about winning, because I think if you start thinking about that, then you put too much pressure -- so much pressure on yourself that, you know, when you have a chance, you cannot shake it and you can't do it. So, just try to be calm and hopefully it will come one day.

Q. Going out early tomorrow with a chance of bad weather in the afternoon, does that help you, hurt or does it not make any difference?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. If it's bad weather, we might not play, so it's not going to do anything to me. It all depends on what kind of bad weather it is, because here in Florida, it can be thunderstorms. But, you know, if it's kind of windy in the morning and then the thunderstorms come, of course, usually stops the wind and it might -- it might help us. But, I don't know. I like to play with wind. I really enjoyed the first two days. You know, we'll see what comes out, tomorrow and, you know, you don't want to be thinking about if the weather is going to be like this tomorrow or that. You just want to get there tomorrow. I mean, it doesn't matter what kind of weather or wind or whatever is going on and just try to play well.

Q. Is your game peaking just in time for next week and then two weeks down the road at Augusta?

SERGIO GARCIA: I hope so. It's been getting better and better since the beginning of the year. I played really well in Australia. I really stroked the ball really well. I feel like I'm striking the ball pretty similar to Australia, hitting a lot of good shots. I haven't putted as well as there, but hopefully, my game will keep going up and I'll be ready in those two tournaments to do something good. Well, not those, but the whole year.

JOAN vT. ALEXANDER: Let's go through your card.

SERGIO GARCIA: Okay. On the first, I had a 3-wood. I had 193 to the hole. Very nice 7-iron to about 15 feet. Made it. Then on the second, I hit 7. Miss-hit it a little in the bunker, impossible shot. I hit a pretty good shot. I could not keep it on the green. Probably about 20 feet and two putts. Then on 4, I hit a good drive in the fairway. Hit it a little right with a 2-iron, second shot, just right of the bunker. Hit a great chip from there to about six inches. Then on 5, I hit a good 2-iron. Then I hit a pretty good sand wedge just a little left of the flag, probably about 12 feet. Hit it a little too hard. Three feet by. Missed it. Then on 6, I hit a great drive again. I hit a really good 4-iron from 239, just over the back of the bunker. Hit a pretty good bunker shot. Didn't release, to about five feet, six feet. Made it. Then after that, I hit a good drive, good cutting drive to the middle of the fairway. Really good high 8-iron from about 170 to about eight feet. Made it. Then after that, 16, I hit a really long drive. I had 174 to the hole. I hit just a soft 8-iron to about eight feet. Missed it. Then a made a great save on 17. Just hit it through the green on the left and had an almost impossible shot from the rough, downhill. Chipped it to about 15 feet and made it. Then on 18, I hit another great drive, 148 to the hole, just a cut 9-iron. Really good shot to about five feet and made it.

Q. Your drive at 16 was 344 yards, how close is that to --

SERGIO GARCIA: With the new ball, I've been hitting some of those drives. So it's really nice to be able to do that. You know, it was something that before I could not do. I was able to hit it pretty long, 310 or something like that, 315. So now with this new ball, I feel very confident about that. More than anything, it's not because I hit it longer. It's because I don't have to try to hit it as hard from the tees to get on the par 5's or maybe on a long par 4, instead of trying to rip it with a little draw, just hit a nice cut with a driver and now I'm going to be even longer than before. So, you know, it makes you hit a lot more fairways because you can hit it -- you know, you try to kind of it hit it a little softer, trying to hit it in the fairway. And, of course, it makes it easier because you're always closer from the green.

Q. Have you ever considered the thought that you might be too emotional on the golf course for your own good?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't think so. You know, I think that's the way I am. If you notice, when I play well, I'm the most emotional ever, so I think that the most -- the more -- let's see if I can say this. The more emotional I am, the better I play. When I'm not playing that well, I try not to be too negative because then it really hurts. But, you know, I always try to put it at the top so I don't get too emotional when things are going too well and be too happy; and when things are going bad, I try not to be too negative. So I try too keep it in the middle. But I'm so emotional, it feels like it's too much.


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