September 27, 2006
GORDON SIMPSON: Well, it's not quite Laurel and Hardy, but we have a fairly impressive duo here of Sergio and Luke. You guys seem to have been joined at the hip. We can't lose sight of both of you. Tell us about this week and The Grove first of all. Sergio, start us off.
SERGIO GARCIA: We had a little practise round today and it was pretty nice. The golf course is in very good shape. It was quite nice to get out there today, and it was a little bit windy so it was nice to see some of the holes the way they were playing. But unfortunately a little bit soft at the moment. Hopefully with some good weather the course will start firming up a little bit.
But it looks very nice. You know, some thick rough out there if you miss the fairways, so you have to be careful. We'll see how it goes this week.
GORDON SIMPSON: Luke, I think the general consensus is it could be low scoring.
LUKE DONALD: Yeah, this is my first round today playing here. I heard a few mixed suggestions that some people thought it was going to be tough ish and some people thought it was going to be easy. With the wind today, it wasn't that easy. Well, Howler and Poulter didn't find it too easy today.
GORDON SIMPSON: So you beat them obviously?
SERGIO GARCIA: It was the cheap green fees. We made them pay.
LUKE DONALD: But no, I think the fairways on the on the whole are reasonably generous, but if you do miss them you're in pretty thick rough. I think the course might separate the field a little bit with the guys who don't quite hit it very well are going to struggle; but for the people who hit it well, there are some birdie opportunities out there.
Q. You two look quite wide awake compared to most of the ones we've seen in here who played Ryder Cup. Are you feeling up for this?
SERGIO GARCIA: (Asleep and snoring.)
LUKE DONALD: Well, it's definitely going to be a little bit different to last week. Obviously the crowds and everything, the first tee, just the atmosphere was so unbelievable that there's nothing that can really compare.
This week will obviously be a little bit easier in comparison to that, but I'm looking forward to this week. It's still a big week, a lot of great players playing here, and as soon as I'm .01 ahead of Sergio, I've got to play hard; in the World Rankings.
SERGIO GARCIA: Thanks.
LUKE DONALD: Just to stay ahead of him.
SERGIO GARCIA: Thanks for reminding me. That's always nice.
Yeah, as Luke said, it is a big week, even bigger for me because I think if I finish probably top two, top three, I'll probably get into THE TOUR Championship, which is always nice; at the moment I'm not in. Hopefully we'll get up to it and play some good golf like we did last week.
As Luke said, it's going to be tough to get the blood flowing as much as it was last week because the people in Ireland were amazing. The cheers we were getting on the 1st hole, and 16th and 18th and stuff like that, it was just amazing. But at the end of the day, we're here to try to perform and to try to do the best we can and hopefully give ourselves a chance at winning the event.
I've got to play well so I can by Monday I'll be in front of him again in the World Rankings.
Q. Just wondered, Luke, how quickly after seeing the rankings did you manage to get hold of Sergio?
LUKE DONALD: Very quick. I did send him a text about five seconds after I saw it (laughter).
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, and I sent him one back because I didn't see it, and then he took until the next day.
Q. We've had two occasions where these World Golf Championships have been stacked behind major events. I think we'll be okay next year when the American golf championships start, but we still have Firestone right before the PGA. Is that something that in a perfect world should be moved do you think just to let it stand on itself instead of stacking these things together?
SERGIO GARCIA: I think we're playing so many events, there's so many events throughout the year. It's difficult to have every single one of them in a perfect spot, if you may. But I don't mind playing a couple or three big events in a row.
What doesn't look really good is in two years' time, what's going to happen with the four tournaments in a row and then the Ryder Cup the week after, that's I'm not too happy about that. But I don't mind playing a world tour event and a major in a row. It feels like they're two good weeks in a row, so it's fine.
Q. Can you see, I think there's one year in either 2008 or 2010 where you do the four in a row and then the Ryder Cup?
LUKE DONALD: That's what Sergio was saying. It's going to be tough to have those four weeks, and you really can't afford to take a week off, unless you win one early. To play that and then The TOUR Championship and then the Ryder Cup is going to be very tough for all of us.
I think the way a lot of us play these days and set up our schedules is we're not playing too many more than three in a row before having a week or two off, and to play five in a row, and the fifth one being the Ryder Cup where you need all your energy is going to be very tough.
Q. Were you getting any reaction today about the Ryder Cup from the galleries? Does it help having an event like this straight afterwards rather than maybe going to something that's
LUKE DONALD: The crowds were very good today, I thought, for a Wednesday out here, and probably a little bit of that was because of the Ryder Cup and having a lot of the guys playing here and getting some autographs from the Europeans and the U.S. guys.
Q. Did the chant follow you to this side or didn't you hear it today?
LUKE DONALD: I heard little whispers. It wasn't quite as loud as it was last week. It's nice to have my own chant (laughter).
Q. Sergio, your first really big introduction on the U.S. Tour was probably the Nelson in '99. There's some nice moments you've shared with Byron. I wonder if you could talk about his passing and any kind of favourite memories you might have of him.
SERGIO GARCIA: Yes. Definitely it's a sad moment. We found out yesterday. It's something that it was eventually going to happen because he was 94 years old, and I think he lived a great life. He gave so much to other people, and not only to the game of golf but with his charities and everything and his event. I think he was just an extraordinary man.
You know, fortunately for me, as you said, my first professional event as a pro in America was the Byron Nelson, where I managed to play well. And then I was fortunate enough to win that event a couple years ago, spend a champions dinner with him, listening to some of the stories he had to say. You know, at 92, 93 years old, it was still amazing to sit down and listen to him and see how clear the things were in his head and how he remembered so many of those stories. It was just an amazing feeling to be able to spend some time with him.
We knew that unfortunately we weren't going to be able to spend a whole lot, so I was very pleased to have the chance to have spent a little bit with Byron.
Q. Do you remember the first time that you met him or the first conversation you guys shared together?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I think it was in '99 when I played his event. Well, I remember he congratulated me for playing very nicely, and he kind of gave me a nice handshake and a little hug.
So it was quite impressive for me to see that from such an important man as he was, or he's been, and it was something that always stays in the back of your mind.
Q. Did he ever send you anything from his wood shop, anything that he made himself out of wood?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, I never got anything, no.
Q. Not everybody got something?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, I didn't deserve it.
Q. What will you do schedule wise from here to The TOUR Championship?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I'm going to take two weeks off after this, which I'm looking forward to. And then I'll play Mallorca; Valderrama, Volvo Masters there; and hopefully TOUR Championship if I play really well this week and I get ahead of Luke in the World Rankings (laughter).
And then I'm going to Japan for a week, and then I think I'm taking a couple weeks off and play Sun City.
Q. As it relates to The TOUR Championship, this is kind of your last crack at it?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yes.
End of FastScripts.