June 16, 2001
RAND JERRIS: We're now joined by Sergio Garcia. Sergio, with a third round of 68, with five birdies and three bogeys. You find yourself one stroke back going into tomorrow's final round. Wondering if you could speak a little bit about your general comments about your round today and about the playing conditions out there.
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, at the beginning it was pretty hot. And then, thanks to the clouds, from 14 on it was pretty nice, temp-wise. But I think I played pretty solid. I hit a lot of fairways, hit quite a lot of greens, and I'm just pleased -- I'm just -- I'll say a little unhappy the way I hit a couple of iron shots on the back 9, and I was a little greedy on 7, trying to go for the pin. But other than that I think it was very good. I had a lot of good putts, could have made some more, but I'm very pleased with the way I played.
Q. Sergio, did they forget to tell you that no European has won this thing since 1970? Are you aware of that?
SERGIO GARCIA: Where are my thoughts on that? I don't know, records are made to be broken, so I hope I'll do that tomorrow. But it's not in my mind right now, if it's something negative for me. I just feel like I'm playing well enough to do it. And I just hope to go out there tomorrow and play as well or trying to play better than I've been playing these days, and, hopefully, you make a couple of putts here and there, and you get away with it.
RAND JERRIS: Could you walk us quickly through your birdies and bogeys on the third round.
SERGIO GARCIA: I birdied the 3rd, hit a nice 3-wood over the right of the middle of the fairway. Pulled it just a hair with a little 9-iron, a little long, probably about 20 feet, made a great putt there. Then on 5 I had a tremendous drive, about 375 yards. I hit 2-iron to the green. I hit it just a little right, just right of the bunker. Hit a very nice flop shot from there to about five feet and made it. Then on 7 I hit a good 3-iron off the tee, pulled it a little with an iron, tried to, as I said before, trying to be a little too greedy. I hit it in the back bunker, hit a great bunker shot from there, the best I could, to about 15 feet and almost made it. Then on 10 I hit a very nice cut 4-iron off the tee, a nice cut 9-iron from there to about 12, 15 feet, kind of hit it just a little too hard, probably went about six inches past the hole and started coming back and made it. Then on 12 I hit a great 3-wood off the tee with a little draw. Hit it -- I was a little uncomfortable with the 8-iron, thinking that it might have been -- might have hit it too long, and hit it over the green. And I hit it a little heavy in the bunker. Hit a pretty good bunker shot to about five, six feet and missed it. Then on 13 I missed the fairway on the right, again, and hit a nice sand wedge out of the rough, then hit it to about five feet, made it. Then on 14 I hit a bad shot to the right, hit a pretty good chip, just a little too long to about five feet again, missed it, five, six feet. And then on 15 I hit a great 2-iron on the tee, very nice 7-iron to about six feet, made it. And that was it.
Q. Sergio, what did you do differently with your driver to hit so many fairways? And secondly, being slight of build, how do you hit it so far?
SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. My mom's cooking. I don't know. I mean to hit it far, the other thing you need is, of course, club head speed and hit it on the right part of the club. So I'll say it probably is that. That's what my little lag gives me. To hit the fairway, I was just feeling very comfortable all year. Last year I felt like I hit the driver pretty well, too, I hit a lot of fairways, too. But this year it's just been very good. I hit a lot of fairways. I hit quite a lot of greens. And that's what you need to do here in a U.S. Open.
Q. Sergio, how does having won in this country make you a different player in the final round of the Open as compared to the final round at the PGA in Medinah?
SERGIO GARCIA: It makes me a different player, I'll say, more I think because I'm, overall, I'm just a better player. I'm smarter, I know how to hit the ball. I can hit it any way I want to, more or less. And I have a victory under my belt. So I don't feel like I have to win because I haven't won in this country. So it does help a lot. But it's still a major. And it's a different win. So you still have to be able to go out there and play the best you can and hopefully win the tournament.
Q. Sergio, you seem to look at the board several times throughout the round today, and responded accordingly, either with a birdie or with a near miss on a birdie putt. Do you find that you get charged up when you see your name on the board and you know you have to make birdie to either be in the last group or to be leading the golf tournament?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, more than anything, I like to know where I'm standing. I like to see how close to the leaders I am. And certainly I wanted to see how Retief was doing, because I wanted to play with him on the last round, if possible. But other than that, I just like to know where I'm at and if I need to maybe be just a hair -- a little more aggressive, and just -- it's just the way I feel.
Q. Tell me about that birdie putt you had. I don't think it went in the back door, I think it went all the way around the back door and in the side.
SERGIO GARCIA: It was in the middle, but in the back door. It was a little weird, because on 9 I hit two very good shots, hit it probably to about ten feet, and I pushed it slightly in -- it was just enough to miss it on the right side, just lipped out on the right side. On 10 I had a similar putt, but it was breaking a little bit more, so I didn't want to push it again and miss it low. So I kind of hit it a little too hard and missed it left, probably about three or four inches left. But because of the pin position the ball just probably went about four or five inches past the hole and started coming back. And as soon as I saw it coming back I'm like, "Well, is it going to go in?" It looked like it was going to go in, then it looked like it was just going to miss long, and then it -- obviously it went in the middle of the hole, but on the other side of the hole.
RAND JERRIS: Sergio, wish you luck in tomorrow's final round.
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