An Interview With: SERGIO GARCIA
KELLY ELBIN: Making his sixth appearance on the European Ryder Cup Team, Sergio García is with us at the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club.
Sergio has an all time Ryder Cup record of 14 6 4. Sergio, strong play of late, including the win at the Wyndham Championship. I'm sure it means a lot to you to be back on The Ryder Cup Team.
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, definitely. Always very special to be a part of The Ryder Cup, the European Ryder Cup Team. Very excited, thrilled. We got a look at the course yesterday, so we are looking forward to it. And, you know, we'll see what happens.
Q. Wondering if the experience two years ago in Wales where you were just more of a spectator and sort of assistant than a player, if you gained a different perspective on The Ryder Cup on participation and playing and maybe what you learned about it.
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, it was definitely different. Obviously I wasn't able to hit a shot there. So it was a good experience. Difficult, but it was good. And we got the we achieved what we wanted to achieve that week. So it was very positive. But by the same time, I'd rather be on this side than on the other one.
Q. You've played on five Ryder Cup teams, you've been an assistant captain on one; could you reflect a little bit on the different styles of captaincy you've seen, what makes a winning captaincy? Attention to the big picture or the small details? What are the things that have struck you over the years?
SERGIO GARCIA: I think that there's no doubt that the captain has things to do and things that can make you feel better or more comfortable. But at the end of the day, it's like a football match; the players are the ones that win it or lose it.
The captain can only do so much. And you know, so far, José has been doing a great job of making us feel comfortable and giving us some thoughts here and there. But at the end of the day, if we don't perform, it doesn't matter what our captain can do. He can't hit any shots for us.
So it comes down to that, and, you know, hopefully we'll be able to play a little bit better than the Americans and get that win for José.
Q. Should having four of the world's top 5 on your team make a big difference?
SERGIO GARCIA: I hope so. (Laughs.) I don't know. I think at the end of the day, we all know what Ryder Cups are all about. You know, it's the moment; it's what happens out there, and any given day, anybody can beat anyone.
So you know, it's nice to have a strong team like the one we have, but you know, it just comes down to playing well, to some key moments in some matches, and trying to make a difference there.
Q. First time back since 2006; how many good memories and how much has the course changed since then?
SERGIO GARCIA: It has changed a little bit again. Personally I liked it better in '99. I thought it was a better course. But, I don't know, I guess this is kind of like the way it's going.
Obviously the course is playing different with pretty much no rough. So there's not a lot of thinking when you get on the tee. You can pretty much hit it nice and hard, and even if you miss, pretty much every time you'll have a shot.
You know, the greens are good. The greens are quite fast. They are quite slopey. So they can get some tough pin positions out there. We'll see how they set it up.
The course looks pretty good itself, for all the comments that we heard three or four weeks or a month ago where they were struggling with the fairways and stuff. They are not perfect, but the ball lies in well, and it should be fine.
KELLY ELBIN: Sergio was second here in Medinah at the 1999 PGA Championship and tied for third in 2006 in the PGA.
Q. Just wondering, your practice rounds so far and going around the club, have any of you had a sense of what the crowd is going to be like, or is everyone just being very polite and friendly so far?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, it's actually been quite quiet so far. But it's Tuesday, so we'll see.
I guess they will get going as the week goes on, and there's nothing wrong with that. I think that, I've always said it, you know, they can cheer as hard as they want for their team. That's perfectly fine, and I'll be surprised if they don't. But, you know, with the respect to all the players.
I think at the end of the day, we learned a good lesson in '99, and The Ryder Cup needs to be played with the right spirit. You cheer as hard as you want for your team, and then you respect the other team as much as possible. I think that if that happens, we'll all be able to play our best golf, and it will be a great match to watch.
Q. Your last Ryder Cup match was obviously the singles at Valhalla when you lost to Anthony Kim. Where would you say your game is now compared to then as a player?
SERGIO GARCIA: 2008? I barely remember; Alzheimer's. (Laughing.)
I think it's different. 2008 obviously was a great year for me. Unfortunately that Ryder Cup wasn't my best. The week before, I got sick and I was on antibiotics and stuff, so I wasn't feeling like my energy levels weren't great. This year it's different; I feel good. I feel pretty good about my game. Obviously there's still two days to go. But you know, we'll get going as the week goes on.
So I'm hoping to play well, help my team and my teammates as much as possible, and you know, just try to get as many points as I can so we can achieve the goal we came here to do.
Q. Davis Love's strategy is to put foursomes out again first on Friday morning, but your foursomes record is rather good; I think you may not have lost or lost only once in foursomes. What is it about the format or about your game or personality that fits that format and allows you to excel a little bit there?
SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know, I think it's quite simple. I just had great partners. They just carried me home. It's as simple as that (smiling).
No, I think that I don't know. I've managed to gel nicely with the partners I've had. We've played well together. We've been comfortable together. So you know, it's not a big secret about it I would say. I think it's just kind of that, and being able to play well at the right moments.
Foursomes is the toughest format we play, so you know, being comfortable with who you're playing there, I think it's key.
KELLY ELBIN: Sergio is 8 0 1 all time in foursomes.
Q. We have already seen with the golf bags how the players are paying tribute to Seve here. Just wondering how much of an inspiration do you think the Seve factor can be to you and to the rest of The European Team?
SERGIO GARCIA: There's no doubt that it is going to be an inspiration. It's the first Ryder Cup without Seve around. So it's very emotional, there's no doubt about that. We all know how much he meant, not only to the game of golf but to The Ryder Cup and to us.
So it's going to be great. There's pictures and things around the team room that we love looking at and where he's involved. It would be nice to, like I said before, to play nicely, and to manage a win to give it to dedicate it not only to our captain but also to Seve. Hopefully he'll be up there watching I know he'll be up there watching and probably cheering us on quite hard.
Q. Paul Lawrie was saying yesterday that at Celtic Manor, he was there as a commentator for SKY Sports and on the grounds, and he said it gave him a renewed appreciation for the scope of the competition, and also gave him a renewed hunger to get back to that competition level where he could play. Do you feel that it was a bit of the same for you being on the grounds, being part of the team but not being able to play?
SERGIO GARCIA: A little bit, I guess. It was definitely for me it was definitely, you know, I want to be back on that team. I definitely don't want to be back as a vice captain.
Yeah, it was definitely a little bit of an inspiration to see your teammates playing and you not really being able to do much. So it definitely helped. And, you know, I hope that it was one of the reasons why I'm here now.
Q. With many different nationalities on your team, do you have an English only rule for speaking, or with the few Spaniards there, or do you talk your own language in the room occasionally?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, it's a little bit of both. I think that mainly it's English. But if I'm talking to José, just him and I, we'll talk in Spanish, or if I'm talking to Miguel. Obviously if it's Lee, Justin, José and I, we are going to talk in English, but if it's one on one, then it probably changes a little bit.
KELLY ELBIN: Sergio García, back at The Ryder Cup.
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