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May 27, 2015

Sergio Garcia


NEIL AHERN:  Ladies and gentlemen, Sergio, thank you for joining us this morning.  First of all, this is obviously a tournament which holds a special place in your heart.  Must be nice to be back.
SERGIO GARCIA:  Definitely, yes.  Obviously my first victory on The European Tour, first victory as a pro.  Yeah, '99, great memories.  I'm excited about this week.  Obviously it's a big tournament, a lot of great players.  Great course, also, with Rory's foundation and a great venue.  So I'm excited about it.
NEIL AHERN:  You mentioned you have not played the course yet but you've had a few tips from your father?
SERGIO GARCIA:  Yeah, I guess so.  He played I think one or two British Senior Opens here.  Obviously he told me it's a great golf course.  Have to hit the ball well.  Tough golf course.  So I'm excited to take a good look this afternoon and be ready for tomorrow.

Q.  I believe you were having a good night last night at the Daisy Lodge.  How do you feel it went last night?
SERGIO GARCIA:  I thought it was great.  We had a great Q&A little session there with Rory and Rickie on stage.  It was great to see some of the things that we're able to generate with our foundations, Rory's foundation in this case, and see how everything came around and the Daisy Lodge and some of the families and everything.  So it's very, very exciting and great to see.

Q.¬† It's one of the strongest fields we've had at The Irish Open.¬† When Rory asked you to come and play here, was it a no‑brainer?
SERGIO GARCIA:  Yeah, pretty much.  Obviously it was a little tricky because there are some really good tournaments around it, and you know, obviously I had to miss last week; I had the Spanish Open before, and two weeks in America.  So it was just too many weeks in a row, so unfortunately I couldn't play BMW.
But obviously I knew the course, I heard a lot of great things about it.  Obviously Rory asking me as a favor obviously from a friend to a friend, and for a great cause, also, for his foundation.
Yeah, it was a fairly easy decision and obviously I've been looking forward to have an excuse to come back to The Irish Open.  So I guess that was a good one.

Q.  How significant is it for players to be backing tournaments in the way that Rory is and the way that you have done in Spain, and there are several other examples, and how much of a blow was it not to be able to play the BMW PGA Championship because obviously the schedule is so crowded for you?
SERGIO GARCIA:  Well, I think it's great, if you have the possibility, to kind of put your named into one of the tournaments on Tour, I think that any help for the Tour is great, and for any of the tournaments.  It is exciting, and I was able to do it for years in Castellón in Spain and it was very, very exciting.  It's a lot of work but at the same time, you get a lot of things back, from the feel of the people and the joy of the week and stuff.  If you have the possibility, it's nice, but not everybody can do it obviously.
And then, yeah, I mean, obviously it is a little disappointing to miss the Flagship Event of our tour.  But unfortunately the schedule just didn't work out this year.  I've gone the last couple of years and I enjoy going back there and playing the BMW PGA but unfortunately I have to look for what's best for me.
You can also talk a little bit with Rory:  Three big weeks in the US and then comes back there, and it is tough.  And I felt it already at the Spanish Open; that I was starting to lack a little bit of energy, the battery was low, it was starting to give me signs.
At the end of the day, I think the most important thing for us is to be as well prepared as possible coming into a tournament, and even if it's a big tournament, if you come in off a big run, you can be a little bit lacking that extra energy that you need and you don't play the way you want to and then obviously you're not as happy as you want to; it's like a little snowball.  Obviously disappointed but hopefully will be able to go back there soon.

Q.  Yesterday Pádraig Harrington was in this very room predicting that an Irish golfer would win this tournament.  You might have something to say about that yourself; do you think?
SERGIO GARCIA:  Hopefully I'm Irish (laughter).  I don't know, it's a big statement to come with that, but we'll see.  I mean, if the full field was Irish, then I would say for sure.  But there's a lot of great players out there.  Anybody can win it.  Obviously if Rory plays to the level we know he can play, like he played at Quail Hollow, for example, or the Match Play, he's going to be tough to beat.
But at the same time, I think we can all give our part of the show there and we all have a chance.  We'll see.  Hopefully I'll be able to prove Pádraig wrong.

Q.  As you said at the outset, it's a tournament that holds a special place in your golfing heart and history.
SERGIO GARCIA:  Yeah, definitely.  Obviously like I said before, my first victory as a professional, first victory on The European Tour.  Irish Open is always going to be hold in a great spot in my heart.  It's very, very special.

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