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April 4, 2014

Sergio Garcia


DOUG MILNE:  Sergio Garcia, thanks for joining us after a blissful 7-under 65 in round two.  Your second start here at the Shell Houston Open.  You're off to a great start this year.  You made five starts heading in this week and three Top-10s and the other two haven't finished worse than 16th, I believe.  Obviously a great year as testament by your first two rounds here at the Shell Houston Open.  Take a few comments.
SERGIO GARCIA:  Thanks, Doug.  Yeah.  No, it's been a good start, I guess.  I think that we playing nicely for awhile now, so good to start better than I think last time I played here, I think it was 2009, something like that.
No, it was tough out there.  Today was very, very windy.  Lot of tricky shots, lot of tricky tee shots that you had to hit exactly in the right spots, and for the most part I was able to do that.  My irons were quite good, you know, for the most part of the day, and then I was able to get up and down a couple times when I missed greens and, you know, rolled some nice birdie -- some nice birdie putts in.  It was a very, very nice day to be playing golf.

Q.  Sergio, what club did you hit on your second shot on the way to the eagle on 13?  And then just take us through what that birdie, eagle, birdie stretch did for your entire round.
SERGIO GARCIA:  I hit a good drive and a 3-wood.  I had 284, right to left wind.  Hit a really nice shot with a 3-wood.  I was fortunate to just carry the bunker and rolled probably within 5 feet.  It was nice to kind of get going because as windy as it was, I knew there were a lot of difficult holes out there and a lot of shots that were going to test you.  14 was playing tough.  15 wasn't playing that easy even though it's a par-5.  16 was playing tough.  18 was playing very difficult.
I think, you know, couple of the holes on the back-9, 5, 6, even 9.
So, it was nice to be able to get a little bit of a cushion there and play a little bit more relaxed towards the back-9, and, you know, then I was able to get another great stretch there on 3, 4, and 5 with three birdies in a row.  So, it was an excellent day.

Q.  Five birdies and a eagle.  How big is the eagle to give you a boost?
SERGIO GARCIA:  Just like I had said, you know, it's always nice and -- to be able to birdie 12 and then eagle 13 and birdie 14, which, you know, with this wind, they are holes maybe you expect to make one or two birdies and then you would be happy, you know, if you make a couple of pars and a birdie or two birdies and a par.  And you go 4-under, it's a little bit extra.  It was really nice.  It kind of, like I said before, kind of gave me a little bit of a cushion there that I could be a bit more relaxed and maybe not be too -- or try to be too aggressive on the tough holes, and then I was able to hit some really good shots on those difficult holes.

Q.  How big is it to post that score?  Have people look at it?
SERGIO GARCIA:  I don't know.  You should probably ask them (laughter).  They care, they don't care.  I mean I did what -- what I was able to do, what I could do, and I'm very happy that I'm at 12-under.
I didn't -- I mean, I'm not going to be lying to you, I was thinking when I looked at today, I thought if I'm able to shoot 3, 4-under, I'll be happy as Larry.  To be able to shoot 7-under those conditions was really, really nice.

Q.  Sergio, you also had great stretches in your career.  Where is your game right now compared to when you played at your best?
SERGIO GARCIA:  I don't think it's at my best.  I -- obviously I do feel like I'm playing nicely.  You know, I feel very comfortable with my equipment.  I feel comfortable with myself in and outside the golf course.  But I definitely don't feel like I'm hitting the ball the best I've hit it.  You know, I feel like I'm still struggling a little bit with my draw sometimes, you know, to have enough confidence to hit it once in awhile.
So, you can see in it some shots.  Overall, it is difficult out there.  It's never easy on conditions like today.  So, you know, it's nice to be able to play well, but there's still things that I need to get better at for next week and going forward.

Q.  Sergio, you seem -- for a good few months you seem more happy and relaxed in and around the golf course.  Is that true?  Why is that?  What impact is that having on how you're playing?
SERGIO GARCIA:  Yeah.  There's no doubt.  I mean everybody knows what I went through, which pretty much everybody has gone through in their life, and it's never fun to go through some of those emotions.  But, you know, you got to learn from those downs and kind of really enjoy the highs as much as you can, you know, don't take them for granted.
So, yeah, I'm definitely a lot happier outside the golf course, which makes me to be -- helps me to be happier inside the golf course.  And then it doesn't mean that I'm going to play well every time.  But, you know, at least, you know, you feel like your frame of mind is a little bit of a better state.

Q.  Is this the best you've been in a Major to go in there?
SERGIO GARCIA:  Well, for awhile, I guess, yes.  Difficult to say because it's the best I've been.  Obviously 2008, I felt really, really good there and I was closer of winning.  So, you know, I mean, obviously I feel good, but every week is different, you know.
So, hopefully next week -- first of all, we got to finish this week, and hopefully next week I'll be feeling good, you know, nothing -- not too many things will be bothering me health-wise, and then just feel good on the course, hopefully play well and things happen.

Q.  What made you decide to change your Masters prep and come here for the first time in five years?
SERGIO GARCIA:  Well, I mean, it's quite simple, actually.  I think that even though I love playing Arnie's tournament and even Tampa and I would love to play last week in San Antonio, you know, it's just schedule:  For me coming from Europe, it's just schedule.  As I get older, I can't be traveling, you know, flying 12, 13 hours, playing two weeks, then taking one week off, flying back and flying back again and flying back again.  It's just too much.
So, just trying to organize it in a way where I can play two, three weeks, have two, three weeks off, play another two, three weeks, have another two, three weeks off.
That way I can give my body a little bit more rest, and maybe because of these, I'm missing some of the tournaments that I really like, but unfortunately, you know, it's the way it is.  I'm realizing that I just can't keep going back and forth like when I was 20 and 25 years old.

Q.  Sergio, you've always been a particularly good wind player.  When, you know, the conditions a lot like yesterday, do you relish the chance to challenge yourself and how good was the 65?  Your position?
SERGIO GARCIA:  It was really good.  Like you said, I do like playing in the wind.  Obviously not hurricane (laughter), but I do enjoy playing in the wind.  Like I'd rather play in the wind than in the rain.  I don't know what was the reason.  I don't know if it's because playing in the UK, playing in Scotland and England and how windy it can get there and how creative you have to be when it gets windy.
I think that I've always enjoyed those kind of conditions.  It doesn't mean that I've always played well in them, but I've done well for most -- for the most part and, you know, regarding the quality of the round, today it was really nice.  Obviously I would love to hit a couple shots better here and there, but under those conditions, you know, there's so many things that come into mind and come into play that sometimes you obviously going to bail out here or there.  So, you know, I was very, very happy with it.

Q.    (In Spanish.)
SERGIO GARCIA:  (In Spanish.)
Q.With how wide open the Masters would seem to be this year and considering your form has been great over the past eight months, do you consider this one of your best opportunities to win a Major?
SERGIO GARCIA:  You can never tell.  It depends on how I feel Thursday morning, how things go.  You know, there's so many things that -- we've seen it over and over, we've seen how some weeks you can go from missing a cut comfortably to winning the next week or going from winning to missing the cut or finishing 40*.
So, it's difficult to say.  Obviously playing nicely helps, there's no doubt about that.  But every week is a different world.  Every week is different.  So, hopefully -- I feel good but we'll see.  We'll see what my game brings us next week.

Q.  When did you last visit Augusta?  Did you visit Augusta before coming to Houston?
SERGIO GARCIA:  No, I did not.

Q.  You haven't played the course recently.
SERGIO GARCIA:  Not since last year, no.
DOUG MILNE:  All right.  Sergio, thanks for the time.

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