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WGC AMERICAN EXPRESS CHAMPIONSHIP

September 29, 2004

Sergio Garcia

KILKENNY, IRELAND

RODDY WILLIAMS: Sergio, thank you very much for joining us. Sorry for keeping you waiting. First of all, welcome to the American Express Championship here at Mount Juliet, where I believe you hold the course record; is that correct?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, with Retief, yeah. I was fortunate enough to have a great round in the last round last year. I came back to finish in the top 10. You know, it's a course that I enjoy. I don't think the weather is going to be as good as it was two years ago, but it's something that I'm looking forward to.

RODDY WILLIAMS: You're obviously playing well as the Ryder Cup showed week before last. You must be feeling confident coming into this week.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I feel comfortable. As I said before, I'm looking forward to it. You know, it's a new week. I've got to realize that and I've just got to go out there and try to get myself back into it. It's going to be interesting to get back into playing and hopefully do some good things.

RODDY WILLIAMS: Could you just quickly run through what you've been doing the last week, because obviously you didn't play the last week.

SERGIO GARCIA: Pretty much nothing. A lot of sleeping and just took about five days off where I didn't play at all, and then I started practicing on the weekend, practiced for a couple days, and then we went to Druids Glenn, where we had a little 25th anniversary for Taylor Made, so it was nice to go there and see all the players. Larry and Billy and even Holter and some of the guys were there, so that was nice to spend that day there, and then just got here yesterday and played some holes.

Q. How do you think the course is going to play this year? Will it play a lot longer.

SERGIO GARCIA: I think so. It all depends on the weather, too, but last year the weather was wonderful and the course played nice and firm so it was pretty much no wind, pretty warm for this time of year. It was probably playing as easy as it could play on this course. But I think this year is going to be a bit different. The weather is not going to be as good.

Yesterday I played, and the course seemed to play quite long, so it should be nice to see what goes around. A lot depends on the weather, of course.

Q. Do you have one outstanding moment from this year's Ryder Cup?

SERGIO GARCIA: Do I have one? I'd say probably one of the most exciting moments of the Ryder Cup, of course winning it was great, but I'd probably say Saturday morning was probably one of the biggest moments for us at the Ryder Cup when we managed to get around from probably three and a half to half, or something like that, to a two and a half to one and a half deficit in the morning only, you know, with Paul and David winning that match. I think that was probably one of the biggest moments of the Ryder Cup.

Q. What impact do you think the victory in the Ryder Cup has made back in Spain? The people back in Spain, are they enthused by Europe's victory, your contribution?

SERGIO GARCIA: Definitely. Not only my contribution but everybody's. I think the welcome at Heathrow was unbelievable, and also everybody has just been congratulating us. It's just a great feeling. We've got to realize that the Ryder Cup unfortunately is over, and we've got to get back to business and play well by ourselves now. You know, it's going to be interesting to see in a couple years when we come back here to Ireland and defend the title and defend the Ryder Cup, but now we've just got to concentrate and get back into it.

Q. You would agree it's about time that a European won a major championship?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, unfortunately we're going to have to wait probably at least six or seven months. I think it's just a matter of time. You've got to realize that it's not easy because we only play four a year, so you have to be spot-on that week, and also, there's a lot of guys that can win a major championship. The level of golf, as it is now, is huge, so anybody that enters a major championship can win it. You've got to realize that. It's not probably like it was 20 years ago or something like that where maybe you have 15 or 20 players that had a realistic chance of winning.

Q. (Inaudible).

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I don't know. It would be nice to have Vijay playing here and some other guys, but you've got to understand what's going on, too, and it's probably a bit of a shame, but I don't think it's really bad for the tournament. It's just one of those things that unfortunately you can't get everybody you want to come and play every tournament. I don't think it's a huge deal.

Q. How is your confidence level? You've spoken about changing your swing and how it's an ongoing effort, but next year, you'll be one of the candidates, prime candidates for a major championship. How do you look at next year with regard to your swing and your confidence and all that sort of thing?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I'm looking forward to it, no doubt about it. I feel like, you know, everything I've been working on has been spot-on. I'm starting to get more consistent on all parts of my game, so I'm just going to go next year and keep trying to do the same things, keep trying to get better and better as the weeks go on and give myself chances. That's all you can ask for.

Of course I want to go out there next year and for sure try to win a major, but the only thing I can do at the moment is give myself a chance to win one of those majors, and if I do that and come through, it'll be great. If not, I'll just have to keep trying. But it's not something I'm really worried about. It's not something that if I don't win a major next year, I'll be like, "oh, I'm going to quit," or anything like that. I think you've just got to go one step at a time.

Q. Too early to talk about anything?

SERGIO GARCIA: Definitely.

Q. Did you want to play at Wentworth in two weeks' time? Would you give it a commitment?

SERGIO GARCIA: I would have liked to, but there's some things outside of golf that don't allow me to. It's too risky. It's just one of those little things that unfortunately you can't do.

Q. Too risky?

SERGIO GARCIA: Too risky, yeah.

Q. What's risky?

SERGIO GARCIA: It's just a couple things outside of golf that doesn't really -- how can I say? There's not enough reward to try to play. It's contract things and other stuff. Nothing you want to know about.

Q. On the contrary (laughter). We're completely confused now.

SERGIO GARCIA: It's not worth talking about it. It's my problem, not yours.

Q. You against Mickelson proved that you're probably one of the best match players around.

SERGIO GARCIA: Thank you.

Q. World Match Play is your opportunity.

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. I probably just haven't played well in it. I think it was my first two years I played pretty well and got to the quarter finals, I think. I lost a couple big matches there.

You know, it's not easy. Match play is not always about playing well; it's also getting lucky, because you go through a week where I think you have to go through five matches, and one of those matches you're not going to play well. You just have to get lucky that the day you don't play well or you don't play as well as you normally do, the other guy doesn't play well, either.

Sometimes you get around and you go and play and you shoot 6-under and you lose on 17, and what can you do? The other guy has just gone as hard and made eight birdies on the first 16, and you can't do anything about it. You know, it's tough. Match play is tough. You have to play well but you also have to get a bit lucky. That's what happened to me at the Ryder Cup.

Q. So not playing Wentworth has nothing to do with getting your 11 European Tour events in?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, I'm going to get my 11. That's not a problem.

Q. Would you have done it if you had played Wentworth? Would you have played the 11 if you decided to play Wentworth?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, it would have been the same.

Q. Because that doesn't count for the 11?

SERGIO GARCIA: Which one?

Q. Wentworth.

SERGIO GARCIA: It doesn't? I thought it counted this year.

Q. It counts for Order of Merit but not for membership.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I'd probably still -- I would have still played my 11.

Q. It had nothing to do with that?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, not at all. Good try, though.

Q. What is going on?

SERGIO GARCIA: To be continued (laughter).

Q. About this week, this course played pretty easy last time, or apparently pretty easy. Obviously it's different weather. What do you feel about this week? You obviously scored well here last time.

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, as you said, we got really fortunate two years ago. I heard a lot of comments said, "I've never seen a week as good as it was this time of the year in Ireland." I think we just got really fortunate. The course was in absolutely perfect shape. The greens were unbelievable. If you hit a good putt inside 15 feet, you couldn't miss.

But I think this week is going to be a bit different. It's probably going to be a lot windier than it was. You know, the weather is not going to be as warm so the ball is going to be going shorter, the course is going to play longer. When you start to hit longer shots into these greens, then it's going to be a different thing. You know, the rough is really not that bad. It's fairly thick, but it's not really, really bad. You'll probably still see a good winning score. I don't think it's going to get to where it did two years ago, but it should be a high winning score.

Q. Do you think it's only because of the weather that it might not get to where it was two years ago?

SERGIO GARCIA: Definitely.

Q. How are the greens by comparison? You talked about perfect greens last time.

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, they were perfect two years ago. This year they're not as perfect as they were two years ago, but they're close to it. They're still rolling very nice.

Q. With Vijay Singh world ranked No. 1, do you still see Tiger Woods as the best player in the world, even though he's no longer ranked No. 1?

SERGIO GARCIA: No. I think Vijay has showed that he deserves to be in that spot at the moment. He's been playing better than anybody. Ernie has been playing very nicely, too, but I think Vijay has just been extraordinary. He deserves to be there.

Q. Is he the best -- there's a difference between the World Ranking and the best --

SERGIO GARCIA: At the moment he is the best player in the world, yes. What do you think?

Q. It's not important what I think, I'm more interested in what you think.

Padraig said that Tiger was still the most talented.

SERGIO GARCIA: Maybe, but not the best player in the world at the moment.

Q. Does seeing Vijay get to that position at 41 make you feel more patient or have you been a little bit impatient about wanting to challenge Tiger?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, I wouldn't say so. No, everybody has got their own goals. I know what I'm looking for. I'm still fairly young, I'll say, and there's still a lot of years to come, a lot of room to improve. I'll just keep doing the right things.

Q. Are you more patient now than you were say two years ago in that aspiration?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I think as you grow older and you get more experienced, you become more patient. There's no doubt about it. Not only about that, about everything, about the whole game of golf. You know, for example, at the Ryder Cup on Sunday I never panicked, although I was two down after 8, I always felt like I had a good chance of coming back. I felt like my game was good enough. That's probably one of the biggest things that I've learned..

RODDY WILLIAMS: Thank you very much, Sergio. Good luck this week.

End of FastScripts.

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