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ITALIAN OPEN


October 11, 2017


Sergio Garcia


Parco Reale di Monza, Italy

BRIONY CARLYON: Thank you everyone for being here. It's great that we have Sergio García in Italy for the first time, Masters Champion. Sergio, it's hard to believe that this is your first time as a pro playing here. What brought you to the Italian Open?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, well, that's probably one of the first reasons. I've played in Italy as an amateur quite a few times but unfortunately never as a professional.

But you know, I always looked for the possibility of coming here, and this year kind of fitted nicely with Valderrama being next week and not really making the Asian Tour, the Asian little three-tournament run there for the PGA TOUR. We thought that, you know, it was a good opportunity to come here, good tournament.

I heard great things about the golf course, and obviously being a Rolex Series and everything, it makes it a little bit extra special.

BRIONY CARLYON: And it's your first Rolex Series event this year for The European Tour. What do you think that brings for The Italian Open and for the Tour itself?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I think you just have to see the field this week. Obviously it brings a lot of excitement, not only from the players but from the people. I'm sure that the Italian people are going to really, really enjoy it, come out in bunches and watch us play. Yeah, it's an exciting week. It's an exciting week, and I'm looking forward to it.

Q. In some ways, similar to Spain; with that in mind do you expect to get a lot of support out there this week?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, like you said, beautiful town, Milan, it feels like a lot of the towns in Spain, like Madrid and Barcelona, something like that.

So yeah, I actually was really surprised. I was telling my wife, Angela, yesterday, that already quite a lot of people are in town and around here, like they were recognising me when I wasn't wearing golf clothes. Yeah, it looks like it should be great.

Q. Do you know about the new rules for the Austrian Open next year, 40 second for each shot? When do you think about this?
SERGIO GARCIA: I didn't know until last night. Last night we had a nice dinner with Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Danny Willett and Thomas Björn, the captain. He mentioned it to me. I wasn't aware of it. But yeah, I think it's going to be interesting to see how it is.

You know, I think it's definitely going to speed everything up, which is great. It's going to see interesting how the reaction of not only the players but the people and the Tour itself. You know, you never know. It might be the way forward to make the game a little bit faster. We'll see.

Q. Doing the Q&A with the kids, they were absolutely loving it. When you see the way they look at you, how does that make you feel?
SERGIO GARCIA: It's unbelievable. I remember when I was probably eight or ten, and I remember going to, I think it was the Spanish Open at El Saler and getting to know Langer and Seve and some of those guys. Obviously, you know, mouth wide open and just like, wow, they are gods or something like that.

As a kid, you don't think about it, but it is amazing and such a great honour to be in that position and see how the kids look at you and how much respect they have for you and how much they want to learn from you and the things you do and the things you've done as a kid, too. It was great fun. I love hanging around with kids.

Q. Jon Rahm was working with Olazabal on chipping and putting -- doing the same as you when you were younger.
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I've been fortunate to play many practise rounds with Seve when he was alive and with Olaz√°bal. Obviously they are both my golfing idols. They have been amazing, and now obviously Olaz√°bal is the one that we all look up to. He's not only an unbelievable player but he's just such a great person. It's great fun to be around him. So yeah, he obviously did do that to me. Maybe not lately but in the past, definitely.

Q. What is the best advice they gave you?
SERGIO GARCIA: So many of them. All of them were great. I don't know, there's so many of them. But they have always been very supportive. Olaz√°bal, he's always been, you know, like it felt like a friend of mine and he's always sent me beautiful text messages and kind of encouraging me and things like that. It's great to see that from such an amazing figure like him.

Q. You said you had dinner last night with Thomas, Donald, Westwood, Willett. Obviously some conversation about The Ryder Cup. What are your hopes?
SERGIO GARCIA: It was more generic kind of talking about it. Not so much getting that much into it because it's still a year to go or something like that. We still have to kind of get into the tournament and try to play as well as possible to qualify, and then when that happens, then you can focus a little bit more on what the Ryder Cup will be at the end of the day.

You know, we were talking a little bit about the golf course and things like that, so that's nice.

Q. From Twitter: You've been a pro for a long time. How hard is it to stay motivated?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I guess that depends on the person. Obviously I've been fortunate to do fairly well throughout my career but my goal is always to try to improve, to try to get better. Not so much focus on, oh, you know, this year I want to win four tournaments or eight or six or two or one.

So more than anything, just keep improving, keep getting better and keep giving myself chances at winning as many as I can. And then if I do that, I give my best and that's all I can do. When you go with that kind of mentality, it doesn't matter if you won five, 20 or 60 tournaments. You still want to keep getting better.

Q. Can you explain to us your relationship with the Italian players and Francesco Molinari?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I've always had a good relationship with Italian players. Obviously Francesco is the best one out there at the moment and a wonderful player, very, very straight and very consistent.

Our relationship, it's very nice. We see each other quite a lot in the US. We play some practise rounds together. I enjoy him and his family. We've always had a nice relationship.

Q. In The Ryder Cup, also?
SERGIO GARCIA: We played in the same team but not as a team, a couple, yeah.

Q. Lots of people are asking about your deal with TaylorMade. Is there anything you can tell us at this point?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, obviously everybody knows that TaylorMade and myself, we came to an agreement to finalise our contract. I'm still playing the same equipment that I was playing before but I will probably start testing some new things and see what's out there that kind of drives me and feels good to me, and then at the end of the year, then we'll make a decision and move forward.

Q. Would you rather fight one elephant-sized duck or one hundred duck-sized elephants?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, that's like would you rather be three feet tall or nine-foot tall (chuckling). I don't know. I'd probably go for one-on-one, even if it's bigger. You know, fighting a hundred, I think the odds are worse. So you know, the bigger they are, the harder they fall I guess.

BRIONY CARLYON: Thank you very much, Sergio. Wish you all the best this week.

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