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June 25, 2001

Sergio Garcia


NELSON LUIS: We'd like to welcome Sergio Garcia. With your win today, being 21 years old, you become the youngest Buick Classic champion. Congratulations on that. And obviously, you also join Tiger Woods and Joe Durant, as the only two players, or now 3 players, that have won more than once on the PGA TOUR this year. Congratulations on both those fronts.


NELSON LUIS: Great week for you.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, it was an unbelievable week. I just played very well for three days, and yesterday, as I said, I didn't feel that great, but I still hit some good shots and got away with it. But today could have been so low, I played so well today. I just didn't make many putts, but you know, it is great. I was -- I had to hang in there. I played very well. And I was able to do it. To be able to shoot 32 on the back 9, it's not easy back nine, so to be able to do that, it is always a great feeling.

Q. On 16 when you hit the back of the hole on the putt, it bounced out, were you trying to just make that and give yourself a big lead going into the last two holes?

SERGIO GARCIA: I was trying to make every putt I had, but no, that one is just, I don't know, it looked -- it was pretty uphill and I thought well, just hit it a little, you know, I didn't want to leave it like five, six feet short. But I hit it and as soon as I hit it, I thought, well, just a little too hard, but the ball going up the hill, instead of slowing down, it was just going faster and faster I am like, this looks like it is downhill instead of uphill. And the ball just keep going, and I was fortunate enough to hit the back of the hole and then made a nice good -- a good putt there, to be able to, I mean to hole my lead of two shots.

Q. It is particularly satisfying with all the obstacles this week, weather and everything, to show all the patience that you did and get a win under all those conditions you had to face this week?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, well, doesn't matter how you do it or what is going on with the weather, but for sure it's a little tougher. Because it takes more time, like Saturday we didn't play at all, I would like to practice and I couldn't. And it just -- it's all like a little slower than what you wish for. But it's still great. You just got to realize that, got to focus, be calm, that's what I tried to do all week. Went to the movies a couple of times just to relax and it worked out pretty well.

Q. What are you doing better now than you were two months ago when you hadn't won here and you missed the

back-to-back cuts at The Masters?

SERGIO GARCIA: I am just winning.

Q. But specifically?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, it all works out. I am hitting the ball better. I am putting better, and I am having better breaks. Before Byron Nelson, it was bad break after bad break and just never seemed -- nothing seemed to go my way. Now you get a couple good breaks when you need to. I didn't get them at the U.S. Open unfortunately, but, you know, you need those kind of things, and for example, 16, when it was going fast and it hits the hole and it stays there, five feet, and I am able to make it, those are the good things, those are the things that make you a win a tournament but more than anything, I think that I am just playing a lot better and I am putting a lot better. I think I am handling myself on the golf course in a very good way too.

Q. Did you make any mechanical adjustments to your golf swing?


Q. Nothing at all?

SERGIO GARCIA: No. Just keep working with my dad and me -- we have been working, that's all. I think that everybody who said that my swing was bad and I had to change it, I think is going to have to eat all those words that they said. I think it's a pretty good swing. I don't know.

Q. In your mind, the next step for you winning a major, or are you more ready now even than you might have been a week ago?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't think so. I think a week ago I was very ready and unfortunately I didn't. But of course, if you play well and you win that's what you play for. You get used to it. When you are up there in a major it is a lot easier to handle yourself and to be able to play the course. But you know, I feel like I am ready. I am just going to keep trying. I am not going to say -- I am not going to say that I have to win a major right now. I still have probably, I don't know, 80 majors to come or something like that, so I am going to have a lot of chances in those majors. I really feel like I should win one at least, so I just got to be as patient as I have been to be able to win a PGA TOUR and hopefully it will come.

Q. When you were on the back nine today, did you at all think about what happened last year, and how much does this victory erase that memory?

SERGIO GARCIA: I actually didn't -- well, I mean, of course, that when I got to the 11th tee it is not a hole that I feel very comfortable on, I wanted to hit it in the fairway, but you know, I felt comfortable today, just grabbed my 3-wood a little right, with a little draw, hit it in the middle of the fairway. Great shot. I thought it was going to be a gimme. Didn't carry, maybe two feet, carried two feet too short. But not really. I just was trying to hit it in the fairway and as soon as I hit it in the fairway, I knew that we were in good shape.

Q. Were you motivated at all by the talk that your dad should be replaced, I knew you were angry about it and hurt, I am wondering if you were also motivated by it and if it has anything to do with this recent stretch?

SERGIO GARCIA: Probably motivated me, yeah, more than anything because he didn't deserve that and I wanted to show everybody that, you know, I was still a good player. Like everybody was thinking, well, you got to change your swing, you are done, you are over, you better retire, I don't know what is going on. All of a sudden it looks like I am the best player in the world, this is crazy, but it is the way it is. That is what you guys like, that's the kind of stuff that you guys like, and just very -- realize me and my family got to realize what is going on. If you are strong enough to do that then you know if you are doing well or not. But for sure, it did motivate me a little.

Q. Did it hurt -- do you think it hurt your father's feelings too, Sergio?

SERGIO GARCIA: I think it did. I think it did because you know, to all you guys that looks like it wasn't good enough, and that to a coach, it is pretty tough. To a coach and a dad, that he has got a son that is playing pretty well over his whole career, and because in a year he is not able to win, you know, it is hard for him to be saying -- to be seeing those things, but I think he handled it very well too. We are proud with how everything is going.

Q. What do you think it means to him as a club pro to watch his son develop into one of the best players in the world?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, it doesn't -- I mean, I don't like to use that because when you say a "Club pro" it kind of feels that he is bad. I don't like -- that is what the people say "You are club pro." It is like you are bad. I don't like it to be that way. I think there's a lot of club pros that are really good and my dad is one of those, and for sure he's a great coach and he can play. If we -- if we are able to get his putter back and he has to improve his putter a little, but if we are able to do that, I think he is going to do some great things on the SENIOR TOUR.

Q. Could you see when you hit that, I think it was a 9-iron on 13, could -- I know it is a blind shot, could you see how close it was to the fairway?

SERGIO GARCIA: I could feel, more or less, feel how close it was going to be after -- first of all, because I hit the shot exactly the way I wanted to, my caddy told me hit a 9-iron, 8-iron can go over. We hit 9, probably going to fly on the downslope, it is going to skip forward and probably going to be very close. I hit a perfect shot. I just hit a nice knock-down 9-iron with a little fade, probably like a yard and a half left of the hole, hit right on the downhill, skipped forward, and when all the people started clapping and cheering, I knew it was going to be close. I thought it was -- was hoping it to be really, really close, but I thought it was going to be probably four feet. But it was nice to see the ball as close as it was.

Q. What kind of lies did you draw on 7 in the rough today and yesterday; and is your short game to a point where you basically feel like you can get up-and-down from anywhere on the course?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, I do. I had -- yesterday they were, in this kind of rough the ball doesn't lie too bad but it is kind of tricky because the rough is pretty thick and the ball sits up a little, and to make the flop shot when the ball is hitting up you are afraid of going underneath it, and hit it, instead of 15 yards, to hit it six yards. So with yesterday it was okay, I had a little bit of grass behind the ball, but you know, I had green to work with, and today it was in pretty thick stuff, but it was lying okay. It was like maybe lying a little too high but I was able to hit a pretty good shot there too.

Q. How driven are you to be the best player in the world, the number one player in the world, and how close do you feel you are to becoming that?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I think I am getting closer and closer. I have been improving a lot. Sure it is going to be very difficult to be the No. 1 player in the world because you know, Tiger has so many points up there and it's really tough. I will have to win every two weeks or every four weeks I will have to win two of them (laughter). So it is not -- it's not easy to do that. But I feel like I am getting there. I am playing a lot better, and you know, I am just happy the way everything is going. I keep working, I am going to keep trying as hard as I can. I am going to try to keep winning as much as I can, so, hopefully I will be able to do that and maybe one day I will be fortunate enough to be No. 1.

Q. Does that matter to you?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, not really. I mean, points-wise, you know, if in your head you know how good you are and how good you are playing, that is enough for me.

Q. Have you played Royal Lytham and if you haven't what are-- have you heard about it in regard to your game?

SERGIO GARCIA: I have as you probably don't know much of my history, but I played my first U.S. Open at Royal Lytham, 1996. I think it is a great golf course. It is a really good golf course. I really like it and I am looking forward to go back there and you know, hopefully play well and put myself in contention, before that I have Loch Lomond that is really important too I need to play well at that tournament. I need to get some points for my Ryder Cup and you know, hopefully if I am able to play well in those two I will be able to -- (inaudible).

Q. Where did you finish 1996?

SERGIO GARCIA: I started really well. I was 2-under par after 7 and then I hooked it in the bunker on 8 with a 3-wood, I almost made like a 50-footer for par, so I shot 1-under on the front; then on the back nine just kept hitting bunkers and I shot 42, but I think I missed the cut by 6 or something like that. But it was still -- it was a good experience. I was only 16 and I just -- I was so nervous on the 1st tee, I thought I wasn't going to be able to hit the ball.

Q. When you are like eight or nine shots ahead of Tiger at the end of 54 holes, do you get annoyed when guys like us ask you: Are you looking at Tiger over your shoulder?

SERGIO GARCIA: It does. It does because -- not that I don't think that he doesn't have a chance of winning. Of course he does. He has a chance of winning if I don't play well and he plays extremely well. But more than anything because you are disrespecting the other guys. You are disrespecting Scott Hoch, disrespecting J.P. Hayes, and Vijay Singh and all those guys that have a better chance of winning than him because you know you are not able to shoot 60 or 61 everyday. And this course is not a course to be able to shoot those kinds of scores or last week too. So it is kind of like a little annoying. But what can you do? I mean, he has got that and you know, you just keep asking about him and sometimes be better or it would be nicer to see that you care about some other players too that are playing well at that time.

Q. What do you -- pulled driver on 10, did you really feel comfortable with that club today?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I hit that club four days and three of the days -- well, two days I hit it on the green; yesterday I hit it in between the bunkers too short and first day right trap. I really feel comfortable. I am driving the ball so well and I really feel comfortable with that hole. It a hole that challenges me and you know, I really like to hit that kind of shot. But it is a little tougher on Sunday because you don't want to miss it left because then you have a tough chance but still got to be confident and try to hit it the best you can.

Q. Do you feel like you have wrapped up a wild card spot for the Ryder Cup and what is your schedule for the summer?

SERGIO GARCIA: I hope not. I hope I didn't because I will hope that I get my -- I get in the Ryder Cup by the way I play, not because-I don't want to be a wild card. I think that we are going to need those two and I am just going to try to do my best to get it myself. So you know, I am just hoping to play well there and, well I am going to play Loch Lomond, the British, and then I will play the Canadian Skins and I will come play International, PGA. If I don't play well enough at Loch Lomond, British and PGA and I don't get into the NEC then I will probably come back to play -- well go back to Europe to play BMW and try to get some points there too to be able to make the Ryder Cup team.

Q. Right now are only twice in Europe, Loch Lomond and the British?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, PGA still counts for the Ryder Cup standings too.

Q. When did your parents come in and did your dad say anything and what was -- was it gratifying to win with them there?

SERGIO GARCIA: More than anything it was very nice to win with my mom because she has never seen me win live. It was actually kind of funny because she was going to leave on Monday and they cancelled her flight and then at the end we decided for her to stay for the whole week. And it was very nice to be able to do that with my mom in front of me, she was really happy. It was just a great feeling to be able to have her there on the back of the 18th hole knowing that you have a victory.

Q. There has been some discussion about an event with Tiger, event without Tiger does this mean more to you that you won this event with Tiger in the field?

SERGIO GARCIA: There we go again. I don't know. Every tournament feels the same. It is great to win -- it is great to be able to win when Tiger is there, but I am not going to say that my victory at Colonial wasn't as important or more important than this one. It is just great to win. More than anything it is great to -- I said it before, it is great to put yourself in a position that you can win play playing well enough to do it. It doesn't matter. To me it doesn't matter if Tiger is in the field or not. If I win and Tiger is in the field and he finishes second it is even going to be even sweeter, but if he is not in the field I still love to win because if he is not playing the tournament I am not going to think well, Tiger is not here so why win, no. It is not that way.

Q. Do you think that they should change the way that they pick European Ryder Cup team since it keeps PGA TOUR events off -- (inaudible)

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. It is not in my hands right now or any of the players' hands; it's something that they have to take a look at and realize that you know, we are playing on the best Tour and unfortunately we are not able to get points from these two count on the European Ryder Cup standings, but you know, hopefully it they will work on that and they will be able to make our lives a little easier.

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