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May 31, 2001

Sergio Garcia


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: We'd like to thank Sergio Garcia for joining us here in the interview room.

SERGIO GARCIA: You're welcome.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Good round today. Good start. Why don't you make a couple comments on that.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, it was a pretty good start. It's the way you would like to start a tournament, playing well and having a chance of shooting a really good round. I think 68 is pretty good on this course. It is not an easy course, and the way the wind was blowing, kind of gusting a little. I'm happy the way I played, more than anything, and looking forward to playing well these last three days, hopefully three days of play, and, well, let's see what we can do on Sunday.

Q. Tell us about No. 10.

SERGIO GARCIA: No. 10, I had a horrible putt. Two horrible putts. I hit a pretty good drive. Just over the tree there in the left-hand bunker. Then I kind of pulled it just a hair with the sand wedge, probably to about 20 feet left-to-right, and I hit a horrible putt to about four feet, and then I pulled it again. My second putt, I missed it. But I came back very nicely on 11, almost made eagle. Then hit a great shot on 13. So, it was a good comeback after that.

Q. How do you feel now being a tournament winner? Is it a different feeling when you come to a tournament?

SERGIO GARCIA: It is. You know, you get better draws. You don't play as early and as late, and you play with the guys that usually win, and that's -- that's the way I like to play. I like to play with the best guys. It feels a little different. Yeah, it feels like now, you don't have to fight as hard to get that first win. It kind of takes it off your shoulders. But we still have to play well and you still have to realize that one is not enough. You have to keep going.

Q. How close did you come to eagle at 11?

SERGIO GARCIA: I hit a good drive and a good 2-iron. Hit it a little soft. Probably about 35 feet. Missed it just on the left edge. Then I missed the short one for eagle on 15. Probably, I don't know, ten feet, eight feet.

Q. Was there any recognition when you got back home for a rest, other than with family and friends, of what you had done?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, there was. It was very nice to see my friends and my family. Everyone congratulating you and are so happy. Then I had the chance of going Saturday to see my soccer team win the Spanish league, Madrid. I have quite a lot of friends there on the team, too, and they were very happy for me. It was really nice to spend a couple days there, and just relax and be with my friends. It was just very nice to be able to do that.

Q. Tiger hit the ball in the water on 3 and on 5 today and still shot 68. What do you think of that, and just get your reaction to him shooting 68 after putting it in the water twice? What does that indicate?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, he made up-and-down on both of them, I think.

Q. He doubled 3.

SERGIO GARCIA: He doubled 3? I thought he made bogey. Well, it's the way he plays -- don't get me wrong. Really, when he has to, he comes back absolutely great. I mean, it's just the way he plays. He's so aggressive and so good, you know he can hit it, he can stick it in every single hole. Doesn't matter what it is. But that shows how strong, mentally, he is. He makes double-bogey and still doesn't get to him. Probably did get to him a little bit; was able to recover.

Q. Did you like this golf course before today? Did you feel like it fit your ball flight and your creativity?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes. Well, I played in '99, the first year I turned pro, and I really liked it. I played really well. I remember I finished 13th, but I could have done a lot better. I think I started really well, too. I think I was like 6- or 7-under. It's a course that I really like to play. It's pretty long. Greens are tough. Well, they made a couple changes now with 5, and 11, and 7, and some of the holes. But, I really feel comfortable on it, and I can work the ball pretty easily off the tee, and that's what you like to -- that's what you like to be able to do on a course.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about the greens, how fast they were?

SERGIO GARCIA: They were fast, that's for sure. They were very fast and some of the putts -- like the putt I had on 16, for example, straight uphill, 18, 20 feet. I thought I hit a great putt. I thought I was going to make it, and I still hit it five feet by, at least. There were some putts that if you leave yourself some putts, it was almost impossible to -- not even to make it, to hit it close. The putt Duffy had on the last, probably, I don't know what, six, seven feet downhill. Barely hit it; hit it five feet by. It's amazing. It's the way we would like to play, you know, with nice and fast greens; that you have to be careful on what you do around the greens. You don't just go ahead and hit it and try to make it. You kind of like, think about the breaks, just because usually when it is fast, the breaks are a little more severe. You know, you have to be careful because, you know, if you hit it a little firm, you're going to have 4- or 5-footers coming back and you're going to miss them.

Q. If they do get a little rain this afternoon, will that change things substantially or are they still firm enough that they can take a little water?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, the greens are really good. Although, it's been raining because I think they are pretty new, they are still pretty firm -- they feel firm. That's why they were able to get them this fast. I mean it, would be nice if we don't -- if we will be able not to get any more rain, because then the greens will start getting a little firmer and be a little tougher. It looks like it's not going to be that way. You think the greens are going to hold perfectly because they look just so good; it's difficult to mess them.

Q. A few weeks ago, you had a great chance to win but you made a big mistake on No. 6, was it? You were more cautious when you won at Colonial. Did Bay Hill make you change your attitude little bit when you were in contention?

SERGIO GARCIA: I probably did a little. I just -- Colonial was so focused, I don't know, it just was that kind of week, you really focus and you feel comfortable. I don't know, everything goes the right way. But, I felt like, you know, I played well enough at Bay Hill. It could have been because of that. It wasn't that bad of a shot, the second shot. It just needed to go a little more. That's the way it goes sometimes. You've just got to take it as it comes and try to keep playing well.

Q. Before your win at Colonial, there were a lot of people who thought you should change your swing. How tempting and how close did you come to actually making a swing change?

SERGIO GARCIA: I wasn't that close. More than anything, because my dad and me, we knew what was best for me. Everybody is talking, "Tiger changed his swing" and blah, blah, blah, blah, yeah, it's very good. But it takes -- it takes, I'll say, too much risk to try. His swing is different, yeah. It's not that big of a difference. I mean, he swings it more or less on the same plane and everything. But, you know, to change a swing like mine, for example, you go ahead and try to change Jim Furyk's swing or a swing like that, it's all feel. If you lose that feel, it doesn't matter how you swing it, you're not going to be able to hit it the right way. The most important thing is to know when you are swinging the club, to know where the club is, to feel it. If you lose that feel, then you can't control it. So, you know I wasn't really that close of changing it. I was just working on it. My dad and me, we work a little on the backswing and we just, you know, I think that I used to make my backswing with the face a little closed. Now it's a lot better. From there, I can -- I can move the club the way I want to.

Q. Did anybody besides your dad say, "Sergio, you don't want to make a swing change because --"


Q. Who did she point to, guys who made swing changes who struggled afterwards?

SERGIO GARCIA: No. Not really, no. No, we don't like to do those things. We just like to see if we feel well, we hit the ball well, and that's good enough. If you're able to control that, it doesn't matter what kind of swing you have. Actually, I feel pretty fortunate that, you know, I have a similar swing to Ben Hogan's, probably the best ball-striker in the whole history of golf. I think it's pretty good.

Q. Do you pay much attention at this point to the European Ryder Cup standings and the way the team will be selected? Do you have a concern about the quality of the team you guys will put out there in the fall?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, of course you look at the team that has been building over the last couple years, but there's still some tournaments to play, and there's still probably four or five months to go, so you can still change a lot. It doesn't matter who goes, gets into the team. When we are all there, all is good and we all try to encourage ourselves the same way.

Q. Would you have preferred to see it off the World Rankings rather than money, the selection process?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know.

Q. Jesper says he thinks that would be better.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, it will probably be better, because it's tougher to, for us, to get a team, that's for sure. You know, I think that's something that European Tour should look for. You know, this year I'm just going to focus, try to play well in the tournaments I'm going to play that count for the Ryder Cup. You know, I think that if I keep playing the way I'm doing, I should have no problems of making it.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, Sergio, for joining us.

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