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August 12, 2009

Sergio Garcia


KELLY ELBIN: Making his 11th consecutive appearance at the PGA Championship, Sergio García joins us as Hazeltine National Golf Club. Sergio tied for 10th here in 2002, and comes off last year tied for second in the PGA Championship at Oakland Hills. Thoughts on your game going in, coming in here and on the golf course, please.
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, my game, I've been working hard on it. Still not where I like it to be, but last week, I didn't play too good, but I putted very nicely, which is a good thing. I'm looking forward.
You know, hopefully I can get it sorted out. And if I manage to hit the ball the way I know I can hit it, and my short game is in good shape, you know, we could have a good chance here. So we'll see how that goes.
KELLY ELBIN: Thank you. Sergio tied for 22nd at Bridgestone on Sunday.

Q. A lot of good shot values on this course, second shots plays to your strength. Can you talk about how you feel about the golf course, how it sets up for you.
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, it's really long. There's no doubt about that. At the moment it's not very firm, so it's playing even longer. But you know, the course looks good. The greens can get a little bumpy in the afternoon with the poa annua greens and everything.
But other than that, it looks fine. It's pretty much straightaway, a lot of drives. If you can manage to hit a good amount of fairways and your iron play has got to be in good shape, because you're going to be hitting some long irons into some of these greens.
The only downside I can see is the par 5s, maybe all of them are too long. It will be nice to have maybe one or two shorter ones that you can go for, because unless the course gets really, really firm, it's pretty much taking going for it in two out of play, other than, maybe, I don't know, the 11th I think is probably the shortest or something like that.
But other than that, it's fine.

Q. Ten years ago, you and Tiger had quite a battle at the PGA. What are your strongest memories from that tournament, and did you envision yourself and Tiger developing a rivalry that would last a long time after that?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I mean, I remember a lot of things about that week. I remember it was my second major as a professional, and the biggest tournament -- one of the biggest tournaments that I played here that year; and to be able to play the way I played, at just 19 and having a chance at winning the PGA Championship against a guy like Tiger, who we knew how good he was going to be, it was really a great experience.
But I don't know, I mean, if you look down at the numbers, unfortunately for us, I don't think Tiger's got a rival at the moment, and he's not letting it down. So he keeps playing really well. And you know, to be able to win an average of five, six or seven events a year is very, very impressive. It's not like he plays 35 or 40 tournaments a year, either. It's impressive to see what he does, yeah.

Q. Do the long golf courses bring you more possibilities to win the tournaments?
SERGIO GARCIA: I think that the length of the course, if I'm hitting the ball well, obviously it gives me a good chance, because I'm not a short hitter. So you know, where I'm hitting maybe a 5-iron or a 6-iron to the green, some of the guys are hitting 4 and 3-irons. So it's always a little bit easier to hold the green with that kind of club than with a longer one.
But at the same time, you have to be very straight, because if you miss on the fairways, you're not hitting wedges into the greens. So if you are trying to hit a 5 or a 6-iron out of this rough, unless you get a really good lie, it's going to be tough to do it. The rough is quite thick. So if I play well, it probably helps me.

Q. You said your game still isn't where you would like it to be; how close is it and what part of the game are you a little short at?
SERGIO GARCIA: Last week it was quite far away, unfortunately. I feel like I have some good practice rounds and some good practice at home and some decent rounds on the course. It's just a matter of being able to put it all together for four rounds.
So I seem to be struggling a little bit to do that, but I guess it's all a matter just keep gaining confidence, keep being more and more comfortable on the course, and if I manage to do that, then I'm sure we'll get better.
But you know, it's getting there. But I'd love to say that I will be 100 percent for this week, but I can't -- I can't guarantee that.

Q. How much did playing last week at Firestone this week? How comparable are the courses?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, it does. Firestone is not as long but it's a course that you have to be very accurate off the tee, good greens. You can get some really good pin positions there.
So I think it definitely does help. It's the kind of course that could -- I mean, it has held major championships and it could easily hold another one. So it definitely helps coming into this week.

Q. If you take that ten-year period of '99 to 2009, where has the biggest change in your game taken place, when did you make that change, and is there anything that you did in '99 that you did better then than you do now?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I don't know. I think you kind of go around tweaking and fixing stuff. I feel like probably my game, my overall game is better now than it was in '99.
I think that the beauty of when I came out is you know, when you are a youngster, I don't know, you don't care about anything. You just play and hit it and find it and you don't worry about missing a fairway here or missing a green there. You just go along like nothing happened.
So that's the beauty of it. That's what we all try to get back. As you spend more and more time here, you start kind of seeing more things. But you know, I'm happy the way I've developed as a player. You know, I'm looking forward to keep getting better and keep giving myself good chances.

Q. What you did in 1999, was it almost counterproductive, because it seemed to raise maybe unrealistic expectations of you straightaway rather than that you have four or five years to find your feet and maybe work your way into contention that way.
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I wouldn't say that, David. I think that when we come out, we all are trying to do our best and we all are trying to win tournaments and trying to win majors and everything.
After '99, I didn't think -- you know, I didn't come home and said, oh, because of what I did at the PGA, I should win eight majors, you know, in the next six or seven years.
No, you try to play your best and give yourself chances and win as many as you can. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't. I had my chances. Unfortunately I haven't taken them, but you know, it's just a matter of keep going, keep going at it, and believing that you can do it.
KELLY ELBIN: For the record, Sergio has had three top three finishes in the PGA Championship.

Q. Harkening back to ten years ago, did you enjoy playing golf more than you do now? Is it almost more like work sometimes now?
SERGIO GARCIA: I wouldn't say so. I still love playing golf. Obviously I love it more when I play better. So I think like everybody else, you know, when things are going well at what you love doing, it's always easier to kind of do it.
But no, I don't consider -- I don't consider it a job. I've always loved and enjoyed what I do, and the good thing about it is that I enjoy doing other things, too. So it's not like I only have golf and that's my only thing. So that makes it a little bit easier to get back on the course and play and have fun with it.

Q. There's supposed to be an announcement, I think Thursday, about whether or not golf is going to be included in the Olympics in 2016. First of all, what would be your thoughts about golf in the Olympic stage? And secondly, as a guy who likes match-play golf, would you rather see a format that incorporated some sort of match play, as opposed to strictly a 72-hole tournament?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, to the first part of your question, I think that personally I would love to see golf in the Olympics. I've always loved watching the Olympics. So to be able to be a part of the Olympics will be something unbelievable.
Then I don't know what the best method or the best possibility would be for the Olympics. I don't know if it would be good to have match play and then you probably see -- I mean, you're only going to see a couple of guys, four guys on the last day, or you can have -- I don't know, in the tennis one, do they go just strictly head-on matches or do they do the Round Robins? Because I can't remember, I think it's just straightaway.
So I don't know. I definitely couldn't choose one at the moment, I think.

Q. Do you find as the years go on that you have to work harder to stay sort of among the top players? What about the sort of work ethic? And then can you just comment a little bit on The Race to Dubai, is that something that's in your mind at all?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, I think that as you get older, you have to work harder at every aspect of your game, and physically and everything to make sure you can keep up with the new up-and-comers. So it definitely becomes a little bit more -- a little bit harder to stay in the right level. But you know, it's still good fun to push yourself to the limit and try to become even better if you can.
About The Race to Dubai, yeah, I'm looking forward to it. I'm in a decent spot at the moment. So I think if I manage to play well here and have some good tournaments coming in towards the end of the year before the Dubai World Championship, it should be good fun. So we're looking forward to it.

Q. You talked about your opportunities in majors. What is missing on your game to finally catch this first major?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, what is missing, I don't know. I think if I were to aim a putt an inch farther right, nothing would have been missing in one of them.
I think that when I'm playing well, there's nothing missing. When I'm struggling, then obviously there's things that can be better. But it happens to everyone.
So like I said before, the only thing I can do is keep giving myself chances, and keep believing that I am capable of winning one, not only one, and I know that if I do that, it will happen sometime.
KELLY ELBIN: Sergio Garcia, thank you very much.

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