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August 6, 2008

Sergio Garcia


KELLY ELBIN: Sergio García, ladies and gentlemen, joining us at Oakland Hills Country Club for the 90th PGA Championship. This will be Sergio's 10th PGA Championship, his best finish coming in his rookie year at the PGA Championship in 1999 at Medinah Country Club when he finished second.
Sergio, welcome back to Oakland Hills where you had a lot of success in 2004 at The Ryder Cup. General comments on what you see now versus maybe what you saw four years ago.
SERGIO GARCÍA: Yeah, well, obviously the look of the course is pretty much the same. It's a lot tougher than it was at The Ryder Cup. Obviously the rough is thicker. They have added some good length. Bunkers are a little bit deeper.
So it's definitely playing tougher than it was at The Ryder Cup. Great golf course, but you know, but probably the toughest PGA I've ever played I think.
KELLY ELBIN: Very good, thank you. Let's open up for questions.

Q. When you played your practice round, were you thinking back to the Ryder Cup and shots you hit then, and will you feed off the memories, the good memories when you tee off this week?
SERGIO GARCÍA: Yeah, definitely, definitely. But I mean, for example, yesterday morning, we played early and I pretty much almost wore out my 6-iron. You know, it seemed like I was hitting 6-iron almost on every hole, and that's not the way it was at The Ryder Cup obviously.
Some of the yardages they added, they made -- obviously they made the hole tougher, and now you're farther away from the green. If you miss a fairway, instead of hitting a 9-iron or 8-iron, you're hitting a 6-iron, and, you know, from this rough, it becomes a lot tougher.
You know, it's going to be important to be consistent, drive the ball well, hopefully hit a lot of greens, and have some good touch on the greens. The greens have a lot of movement and they can get very, very quick. I think it's going to be a very nice, but tough, PGA Championship.
KELLY ELBIN: For the record, Sergio won four and a half of a potential five points at the 2004 Ryder Cup.

Q. Working on a story on the 18th hole; can you talk about what makes that hole so difficult, and how do you approach that hole?
SERGIO GARCÍA: Well, first of all, it's not the easiest of drives. Obviously dogleg right, the fairway slopes a little bit from right-to-left. If it gets firm, you can probably hit a 3-wood off the tee and then you're going to have anything from -- yesterday we hit a 5-iron, hitting driver off the tee to maybe a 7-iron into a tough, tough green, a green that's got a lot of movement and has some tough pin positions. Obviously if they put the pin on the left, even though the green is wide, it's a very narrow spot to hit it there.
And around the greens, it's not very easy, so it's just overall, it's a very solid finishing hole.

Q. Has Nick Faldo asked you to give him a break this week by playing your way into the Top-10 this weekend?
SERGIO GARCÍA: Well, I haven't talked to him. But I don't know if he'll hope me to do well, but I'm hoping to do well myself and put myself in a good position to make the team. Obviously it's one of my goals, and I'm working on it to hopefully make it.

Q. What have you got planned before August 31; what else are you planning to play?
SERGIO GARCÍA: Well, I'm going to play Barclays and Boston, so those will be my two, my last two chances to get on to the team.
I hope that I don't have to get to those two, but you know, at least I still have two more, this one and two more chances to try to get in it.
KELLY ELBIN: For the record, Sergio is currently sixth on the World Points List for The European Team.

Q. Have you been taking a close interest in the tables? Are you one of the players who scrutinize what's going on or wait and see what happens?

Q. The qualification tables, do you take a close interest in them, or what will be, will be?
SERGIO GARCÍA: I do look. I do look to see how I am doing. I don't get, you know, in the way of saying, okay, if I finish third here, I'll get this many points and then if this guy finishes that -- no.
I like to see where I am standing and how close I am of making the team and I know if I have a good week, I'll get myself back in, and if I don't, I'll have to keep working. That's pretty much the only way I look at it.
KELLY ELBIN: In terms of the golf course, does the front nine play harder than the back nine? Does either one stand out?
SERGIO GARCÍA: I don't know, I think it's a good mix of holes. Probably the back nine, I'll say it will play a little bit tougher. I think the par 5 on the back nine is tougher to reach.
Of course, you have 18 that is playing tough. You have 17 that we hit a 5-wood yesterday into the par 3. You have 14; obviously 10 is not the easiest of holes. I would say probably overall, the back nine plays a little bit tougher, but pretty similar overall.

Q. With the new rules on the grooves on clubs coming in in 2010, can you comment on how that will affect your game; presumably you hope it will play to your strengths?
SERGIO GARCÍA: Yeah, if I'm playing well, obviously it does. I think it's going to take a premium into driving the ball well. Maybe make you think a little bit more off the tee. Maybe decide to give a little bit of distance off the tee to make sure you hit the fairway. And then it's going to get quite interesting when you hit it in the rough. Probably the rough won't be quite as high. I mean, the flyer lies will be a lot easier. You'll get a lot more flyer lies and things like that with the change of the grooves.
It's going to come down to a lot of feel, a lot of kind of guessing game when you miss the fairway, which is good. It makes you think a little bit, and without having to make the rough really deep and really difficult, you still have to think your way around the course, which is good.

Q. You were talking about 17; how tough are the par 3s playing right now?
SERGIO GARCÍA: They are tough. Mainly, not only because of the length of the par 3s itself, obviously you are hitting probably 6-iron or 5-iron into 3. Yesterday from the back tee, I hit 5-wood just short of the green on 9; Camilo hit 3-wood just on the green. So that's always tough.
And then you are hitting probably anything between a 6-iron and 8-iron into 13, and probably anything between a 5-iron and a 5-wood into 17.
The most difficult thing about it is not -- like I was saying, not only the length, but the difficulty around the greens. You know, you're hitting the kind of clubs that you're going to miss some of those greens, and even hitting a good shot, you're going to miss some of those greens. Then it can get quite tricky around the greens; you have a lot of movement around the greens, a lot of slopes and chipping can be quite tricky around it, and even putting can be quite tricky around it.
Definitely they are some of the toughest par 3s I think we play all year.

Q. You talk about traditional courses like this, United States courses, compared to the courses that you grew up playing in Europe and play a lot in Europe. What's the difference? What do you have to look for, as opposed to, say, at the Open recently, and other events?
SERGIO GARCÍA: I don't think the courses we play in Europe are that much different, that much different to some of the courses we play here.
I've been playing on this TOUR for quite a while now, so I'm pretty much used to them. So there's not much difference.
Obviously it is different from our last major, from the Open, and even in the conditions that it played. Just working on my game, trying to get it as sharp as I can, and make sure that I'm ready tomorrow morning to tee it up and hopefully perform better the way I like to do.

Q. With the difficulty of the greens, how much of an advantage might you have over some guys that haven't played this course before with your experience back in 2004?
SERGIO GARCÍA: I don't think you will have that much of an advantage, because, you know, everybody's getting their two or three rounds of practice in it, and that's pretty much all you need to see what's going on.
With two or three good practice rounds, you can pretty much see everything that's going around, see more or less where the pins might be, and kind of figure it out.
So, you know, might be a little bit, but really not that much.

Q. Just to follow up on a question I asked you a second ago, what different skill does it take here?

Q. What different type of clubs do you have to hit here, as opposed to say you're playing with all of the wind that you had last week, the rough is different here, the bunkers are here, the undulated greens are different; what different type of skills does it take to play this tournament than, say, the one in the last major?
SERGIO GARCÍA: I think it's tougher to play a British Open than it is to play a U.S. Open or a PGA or something like that, mainly because the weather conditions can change dramatically, and you always have to be adjusting to that.
At the Open Championship, we are hitting 5-irons from 120 yards. That doesn't happen very often here in the U.S.
Obviously it's tough to play these kind of courses because they are very demanding, but the variety of shots that you have to hit at an Open Championship, it's greater than you might have to hit around here.
Shots around the greens here is more like just a big whack at it, try to get out of the rough and land softly; at the Open, you can bump-and-run it; you can flop it; you can do different stuff.
So it's still tough, but maybe the variety of shots is not as big.
KELLY ELBIN: Sergio García, thank you very much.

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