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An Interview with Sergio Garcia

September 15, 2004

JULIUS MASON: Sergio Garcia, ladies and gentlemen, participating in his third Ryder Cup Matches.

Sergio, welcome to Michigan. Some thoughts maybe about your practice round today and we'll go to Q&A.

SERGIO GARCIA: You know, it was a great practice round. We played a bit of four-balls and foursomes. But, you know, another beautiful day out there. The course is getting firmer. You can see the greens are drying up a little bit, getting a bit faster. So it's starting to take shape. We can't wait. We can't wait to start and get these things going.

JULIUS MASON: Questions, folks.

Q. Sergio, in the build-up to the Ryder Cup, we always talk about the rookies and the situation that they are in. You were a rookie in '99 and had a great Ryder Cup two years ago, the European rookies were unbeaten in the singles; Tom and Verplank had a good experience, as well. Do we overrate experience this week?

SERGIO GARCIA: I think experience is definitely important. But, you know, nowadays, everybody can play. You know, whoever gets in a team, he's in the team because it's a good player. And any given day, a good player can beat anybody else all over the world. So, you know, I think that that's something that the game has been getting better and better at and probably we don't give enough credit to that.

Q. You've spent a lot of time with Luke Donald lately. Do you look forward to possibly being paired with him, and what about your games mesh well?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, it would be great. But, I don't know, it's something that definitely Langer and the whole team will talk about and try to figure out what the best pairings are. You know, it will be great to play with somebody like Luke who is a friend of mine. But if it doesn't happen, it's going to be okay. I'm sure that Bernhard is going to set us up with whoever he thinks is the best match-up to try to get as many points as possible.

Q. Do you think anything about your game and his go especially well together; some say foursomes?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. I mean, he definitely is a great player. He's very straight, very consistent. I think he's a really good putter. So he's really the type of player that you wish you could play with in foursomes.

I think that the most important thing when you get to foursomes is really feel comfortable with each other, not so much the game. It's just being comfortable so you kind of loosen up a little bit and you let your game do the talking; instead of, you know, if you don't feel quite as comfortable with somebody, you may be a bit tighter and you don't play your game as easily.

So, you know, I feel like be nice and comfortable with your partner is definitely important.

Q. I'm curious how you and your teammates have been received by the crowd so far, and what do you expect this weekend when the competition actually starts?

SERGIO GARCIA: It's been great. Actually, I mean, the people, it's been unbelievable so far. I don't expect it to change at all. I think that the people here in Detroit, they really know about what's going on around golf and about the Ryder Cup. And, you know, I definitely expect for them to cheer hard for their team.

But I'm sure they are going to be as respectful as they can be. You know, they seem to know a lot.

Q. You have a fairly good Ryder Cup record in the last two years, and then if you look at your singles matches, you haven't won there. Do you put any extra importance on that or are you looking to break through there this week?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, you know, I'm trying to win as many points as I can for my team. You know, I'd rather lose my singles match and win the Ryder Cup than win it and lose the Ryder Cup. So whatever it takes.

But don't get me wrong, I'm trying to get as many points for my European Team and try to help as much as I can. But it's really not that important for me as much as it is just making sure that we win.

Q. You've gone up against Tiger Woods a couple of times, too, here. Is that something that you like, playing against him in the Ryder Cup, would you like to see that happen again this week?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, that would be nice. Yeah, why not? Definitely, I've always enjoyed playing against him. You know, it always -- I've always felt to me that playing against really good players makes me try a bit harder. It kind of raises my game a little bit. So, it will definitely be good. But you know he's not the only good player on that team.

So, you know, any guy, any American player you play against this week is going to be tough to beat and you've got to realize that. I think that if you take it that way, you have a to try to get that point or a half point for your team.

Q. The team is very comfortable presenting itself as the underdog and whatnot, but I'm just wondering where is that fine line between you guys are underdogs, but you certainly must have confidence that you can beat the United States teams, which you've done six of the last nine years; where does that fine line kind of go?

SERGIO GARCIA: I think that definitely being underdogs doesn't mean that we are going to lose. Being underdogs means that, you know, that they are on paper, they are better than us. You've just got to look at the World Rankings, and I think you have probably four guys of their team before you can find our first guys. So that definitely says something. But it doesn't mean that we don't have a chance of winning.

I think that we showed it in the past years and we know that we had to play as hard as we can to try to beat the American team.

So, you know, I think that we just realize that and we go from that. We manage to play our own game and play well. You know, we are going to have a chance of winning and it's just a matter of winning and hopefully taking it.

Q. Captain Langer described you as a young player with an old head on his shoulders, talking about experience. Can you just speak to what you think your responsibility is this week as far as your experience and maybe being one of the leaders?

SERGIO GARCIA: Well, it's great to get those comments from Bernhard. Hopefully he didn't mean it as, I have a young body and an old face. (Laughter.) But no, I think it's wonderful. I think Bernhard has been doing a great job, you know, trying to get the team together.

I really feel like we have a lot of experienced guys, like Monty and Westwood, also Clarke, Harrington. We have a lot of players that have played two or three Ryder Cups. Everybody kind of drives through them. You know, they try to get as much help from them as possible. I'm starting to become a "veteran" (raising fingers making quotes) more or less, but it's great to have the chance of being on the team and trying to help as much as you can your teammates. It's something that it's a nice feeling and it's nice to be looked up to.

Q. Not so long ago, you had gone through some equipment changes and had gone back and forth a little bit. How much of a distraction and adjustment, how difficult can that be for a player on the Tour?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't think it's that big of a deal. I really don't. I think that, you know, once you change it's because you feel -- you feel good with what you're playing with or what you're going to play with. So, you don't change from one week to the next. You've been trying it for a while and it just feels right to go ahead and do it. But I really don't think it's that big of a deal. At the end of the day, you've got to swing it and you've got to put a good swing on it. If it feels comfortable and it feels good, that's all there is for me.

Q. Does it amaze you a little bit that every year, it seems like, Monty, no matter how he's played, no matter what he's gone through, comes out in this format and smokes pretty much anybody the U.S. Team puts in front of him. Do you get a charge out of watching that guy? Is he as much a leader it seems he ought to be after all of these years?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, definitely. It's just great to see him around the Ryder Cup. He really, really gets behind everybody on the team room, trying to help as much as he can. So, you know, I've said it since I played in '99. One of best things that happened for me when I got the chance of playing in the Ryder Cup Team was to get to know the players and to get to know Monty. Really it really surprised me how different he is from what everybody thinks. He's really a great and funny guy to hang around with. You know, he just lives for the Ryder Cup. He just thrives on it and he really enjoys playing it.

You know, it just raises his level to try to help the European Team as much as he can.

Q. You said earlier that it was important to feel comfortable with your partner, playing partner in the foursomes. Who is your best mate on the team and is that who you would have as a partner?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know, I feel like I get along with everybody. There's no doubt that you have some favorites, but I've had a great times with Lee. I've always -- I've always felt like we got together nicely. We felt very comfortable with each other. Luke is another guy that I feel comfortable with. But any of them, any of them, I feel like I can have a great time with.

You know, that's something really important, at least for me, when it comes out to playing these kind of matches, feeling comfortable with your partner and knowing that he's going to be there for you no matter what.

Q. Given that you've had one loss and one Victory in the Ryder Cup, if Europe were to win here, would this be a bigger achievement to win on American soil than it was at The Belfry?

SERGIO GARCIA: I wouldn't say so. I think that no matter where you win, it's still a huge achievement. Of course, playing in Europe, you know, it might make it less tough, but not easier. So I think that no matter what, when you win a Ryder Cup, it doesn't matter where it is. It makes you feel really nice. Maybe winning on American soil, it might feel a bit nicer because it's just a little bit tougher, but it doesn't mean that winning in Europe is easy.

Q. Some of the Americans over the years have jumped on you a little bit for being outgoing and having a lot of fun and showing it on the golf course during this event. Do you think it might be a better event if everybody had a little bit more fun and didn't take it like it was life-and-death and just kind of went with the flow and had more fun? I know that's how you play best, but maybe if everybody else kind of got in that same spirit and it wasn't such a dire situation?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. I can only speak for myself. As I told you many times before, that's the way I enjoy playing golf. That's the way I feel like I have to play golf. Because, you know, if I don't enjoy it, then it's really, there's to point for me to play.

I really don't feel like -- to tell you the truth, playing with Lee and playing with Jesper, I felt like they had a great time. I felt like they were very outgoing. Jesper was jumping all over the place, too, and fist-pumping. And Lee was doing the same thing.

So I really feel like they really get into it. Maybe some of the guys feel like they can't play their best reacting that way, but I don't think there's a right or a wrong. I don't think you can say, you should play this way or you shouldn't play this way. I think that the Ryder Cup is huge the way it is. But if it could be better, if everybody was a bit more outgoing, maybe, maybe not. It's something that you are just guessing; so you never know what could come out of it.

Q. Does that criticism bother you, or do you feel that that's unfair to be criticized for playing the way you like to play, reacting the way you like to react?

SERGIO GARCIA: I don't think it bothers me. It concerns me a little bit, no doubt about it. But you know, I try to, of course, have fun and play my best. I try not to hurt anybody's feeling. If somebody feels like he gets hurt, I just think we're old enough to talk to each other. I really feel like, you know, we have a problem with me, you talk to me and that's, you know, we settle it. I don't think we need anybody else to talk about it, but you know, I don't know. That's what it is.

JULIUS MASON: Sergio Garcia, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much.

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