January 31, 2008
RODDY WILLIAMS: Okay, Sergio, thanks very much for coming in and joining us. A nice final round -- first round, 4-under par 68, happy with the start?
SERGIO GARCIA: Final or start?
RODDY WILLIAMS: Start. We're just predicting the final round.
SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, I played pretty nicely today. A couple of shots here and there that I guess still early in the year, but overall it was pretty solid. Still left easily two or three shots out there but it's getting better every day and that's the important thing.
I had a good weekend last week, so just trying to keep it going.
RODDY WILLIAMS: And obviously the way you started today, the front nine, your front nine, back nine on the course, got you going nicely.
SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, I did, I made a nice birdie on 10 to start with and then I had really good chances on 11 and 12 and didn't make them. I made another good birdie on 13 and then on 14, and then just another nice birdie on 18 to finish with.
Unfortunately I couldn't really get it going on the back nine. I hit a bad tee shot on 1 and got a bad lie and made bogey.
Then I birdied 2 and then 3, I 3-putted from about, I don't know, 18 feet -- 10, 20 feet for eagle so that was a bit of a disappointment. Overall, still a fairly decent start of the week.
Q. I'm sure you must have been asked this question in Qatar, but we just wanted to know, looking at the last year and the hard break that you had at the British Open, has it kind of motivated you to do better this year?
SERGIO GARCIA: Of course. If not, I wouldn't be here.
Q. Can you just tell us what have been your thoughts during the off-season, what you are trying to take through to this year?
SERGIO GARCIA: I'm just trying to get better. That's pretty much it. That's what we try every year and hopefully play nicely, you know, do everything well and win as many tournaments as I can and you know, hopefully contend in the majors again and see if we can steal at least one of them. That's one of the goals and that's what we're driving for.
Q. Are you convinced that the belly putter is right for you now? I think you've already switched between putters this year, haven't you?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I started last week with a short one and I don't know, it's funny because when I feel good with the short one, I feel really good. But when I'm not feeling that great, you know, I'm a lot more consistent with the belly putter than I am with the short one.
So you know, I'm sure I'll go back to it and try it again but at the moment, keep working, keep feeling like my stroke and my chances of making putts keep getting better and better, and you know, we'll see what happens.
But belly putter has been good to me for the time I've been using it. So, you know, at the moment, I don't have a lots of thoughts in changing it. It was just a try, first week of the year.
Q. Have you changed anything for this year like any of your equipment or any scheduling, caddie?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, one of my caddies is changed. Went from Craig Harmon to Billy Foster.
On the equipment side, pretty much my bag is still pretty much the same as it was towards the end of last year. Changed the putter this week, I've got still the belly putter but just a new Rossa putter, the Rossa Corza that just came out, Spider, and it feels pretty good. You know, other than that, everything is the same.
Q. And the schedule, are you planning to change something?
SERGIO GARCIA: The schedule, it depends. You know, it depends what happens. But I guess it's similar to every year, what I've been doing every year. Maybe I will try to play one or two extras in Europe. It's a Ryder Cup year, so you always try a little bit harder.
But other than that, pretty similar I guess.
Q. Tiger Woods is already out in front and on top of the leaderboard this morning?
SERGIO GARCIA: Is he? No!
Q. How much of a challenge is it for players not to let him run away with the event, like the Buick last week?
SERGIO GARCIA: It's not only our problem, it's everybody's problem at the moment. He's at a very good level. Obviously he's very confident. These greens, they are so pure that, you know, if he misses too many putts from inside 15 feet, I'd be surprised.
So he's playing at a very good level at the moment and we know that the only thing we can do is keep trying, keep trying, keep playing our hardest and, you know, try to challenge him as much as possible.
If he plays at the level that he knows how to play, it's very difficult to beat him. But there's always a possibility.
Q. Are you feeling good enough about your game already this season to hopefully be in there this weekend?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I definitely feel like it's getting better. As I said before, it's getting better and better every day. It still is the beginning of the year and I still feel a little rusty in some spots. But it's slowly getting better and I've just got to keep doing the things I've been doing and I should be trying to -- if he didn't run away with it, try to fight for it.
Q. Just to follow up, you mentioned that you left one or two shots out there today, how frustrating is that when you see guys like Tiger up at the top?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, you know, it's something that happens. You've just got to realise it, and I guess everybody leaves some out there, but it's just a matter of who leaves the least amount. If you play well and you don't leave many shots out there, you're going to shoot good rounds. You know, unfortunately for me today, I felt like I left probably two or three shots. Hopefully I'll be able to make up for them tomorrow.
Q. Will you be helping Miguel well celebrate his hole in one later on?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I heard about it. Unfortunately I didn't see it. I just saw him on the tee raising his hands. Yeah, he was playing right behind me, so it must have been a great shot, because it was a good pin position; it was quite tucked.
Will I be celebrating? ? I don't know, we're not staying at the same hotel, so probably not.
Q. Just wanted to ask you about you being the co-designer of the course here, have you made a site visit over there lately?
SERGIO GARCIA: Not yet because we are still working out the design of it. You know, we haven't done any groundwork yet, so you know, we haven't been able to go and see -- I mean, I've seen how it looks, but we haven't started with the work.
Q. How excited are you to work with two of the proven masters of golf course design, Pete Dye and Greg Norman?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, two of the best, no doubt about it, if not the two best ones. I'm really excited. I think it's a great opportunity for me, great learning experience, and, you know, golf course design is something that I want to get into later in my career. You know, it's nice to get a head start like that.
Q. And can you tell us about your course design philosophy and which course you really like playing around the world?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I've always liked challenging courses, courses that, you know, with doglegs that make it tough for you on your driving and usually small targets, small greens. That's why probably one of my favourite courses has been Valderrama or Sawgrass, TPC Sawgrass, you know, small greens, target greens where you can put some good positions. That's pretty much what I see.
RODDY WILLIAMS: Sergio, thanks very much for your time.
End of FastScripts