Q & A WITH 2008 PLAYER SERGIO GARCIA
Here is the full text of the Q & A conducted by the media with THE PLAYERS’ winner Sergio Garcia shortly after his $1.7m victory at Ponte Vedra in Florida:
NELSON SILVERIO (representing the US PGA Tour): Welcome, 2008, PLAYERS Champion Sergio García to the media center. Congratulations, first off. Why don’t you get us started just talking about the day.
SERGIO GARCÍA: Awesome. Great day.
Really hard. Very, very hard day. Probably even harder than the last round at the British Open last year. I felt so good all week long with all part of my game. I feel like I was really coming along, and you know, just thrilled to be able to be the PLAYERS Champ and I’m just going to try to carry it as well as I can.
Q. Do you think this ends the criticism now, you talked about –
SERGIO GARCÍA: Well, that’s up to you guys. I don’t write in the newspapers.
Q. Obviously, you had chances to win majors, you didn’t, and then you come through and win this. And then Phil was kidding about, this is a major now. I just wonder your response to all that.
SERGIO GARCÍA: We definitely feel like it. I think everybody feels, not only because of the field, but you know, the course, everything around it, it feels like a major. And it tests you like a major, so unfortunately it’s not. Maybe sometime in the future, it might be. But you know, it definitely feels like it and I’m so thrilled to be here standing with the trophy.
Q. When Paul went into the water on 17, I’ve got to think that’s nothing to the pressure you feel hitting your next shot.
SERGIO GARCÍA: No, not at all. I could still feel it, because I could do exactly the same thing. I was just praying that I didn’t get any weird gusts or wind or anything like that, and I knew the shot I wanted to hit, and I thought, you know, I just hit it to that – just on the left edge of the bunker, a good, solid sand wedge, and you know, hopefully it will be good enough. I was thinking, if I manage to make 3, I’m probably going to – I should win this thing. So you know, that’s what I did.
Q. And secondly, the 18th hole, the putt there aside, you made a series of very big putts, some of them for par. Which one did you feel was any more important than the others, leading up to the 18th?
SERGIO GARCÍA: Probably 17. If you take away 18, probably 17 was the biggest, because I knew after missing the one on 16, 14 was huge. 11, 12, got me back into it.
But 17, I knew that you know, if I made 4, I still had a chance of getting into a playoff, and if I made 3, I could still win it. It was tough, and Paul still had 17 and 18 to play. He hit a great shot on 17, and I was just waiting to see.
But I think 17 gave me the chance of at least having an option.
Q. Are you talking about the 3-footer or the first one from the fringe from 60 feet?
SERGIO GARCÍA: Well, I didn’t make that one. (Laughter).
Yeah, it was the longest three feet I’ve ever seen.
Q. You made about nine miles worth of putts that you just alluded to some of them; what does finally getting the ball in the hole do for your confidence and winning? Can you get back into that Top-5 echelon using this as a springboard?
SERGIO GARCÍA: That’s the goal is to keep getting better, and the only thing this tells me is to keep working hard and to believe in myself, and when I do believe in myself, I think there’s not a lot of guys out there that can beat me.
So it’s just a matter of doing that, and knowing the capability that I have within myself and my game.
So, you know, it’s been a lot of work, but like everything when you work hard at it, and you work on the right things, they end up paying off. So I’m looking forward to keep going. I don’t want to get stuck here. I want to have a good year and keep giving myself chances of winning more events and having a major if I can. Other than that, it’s all great.
Q. Can you go back to 18, you’re 51 yards, you know you’ve probably got to get up-and-down for par there to have a chance, and you’ve been working with Stan for a couple of months – I mean, this is why you started working with him, I’m sure. Talk about executing those shots to get in the playoff.
SERGIO GARCÍA: Yeah, for a minute, I looked at my caddie and thought I made that third shot; it looked so good coming up the hill.
Actually when I looked from the fairway, it looked like it was two feet behind the hole, and then I looked at the screen and I could see the ball just kept running and running, and I’m like, oh, stop, please.
You know, I’ve seen that putt before. And it feels – it’s so weird. It feels like it wants to go right, and it doesn’t; it almost goes the other way, like Paul’s putt coming from the other side. It feels like you have the lake and everything, and you have the bunker and everything there, and it feels like it wants to go left, but it doesn’t.
So, the good thing about it was I knew that I was going to make that putt.
16, I didn’t feel that good about it, but 18, I actually had a little grin when I was going into the ball, because I was thinking, I felt so calm, and I was like, you know, I don’t know if this is going to be enough or not, but I’m going to make this putt, and I’m at least going to make Paul work a little bit. You know, I was so happy to see that putt go in.
Q. It felt out there today that it was just like a survival test. How exhausting was it and how satisfying is it to just survive this day?
SERGIO GARCÍA: It was very hard. You know, that’s what we were talking before; it’s not a major but it definitely feels like one.
And today, I told you, it was one of the hardest days of golf – and I was playing well, but it was so difficult. There were so many things you couldn’t control. I mean, I hit so many good shots that I thought were perfect, and I wasn’t even smelling the green. It’s like, Jesus, what could you do?
So, (sighing) it was hard, but I guess the harder they get, the sweeter they taste.
Q. The putt on 5, it went in, you gave three fist-pumps and came back and kicked your bag. Was that the catalyst you think for the rest of your round as far as your putting goes, and were you trying to get yourself up a little bit?
SERGIO GARCÍA: Well, I was a little pissed off because it happened on 1; I hit a great second shot and the wind switched and went straight down and went over the green and made bogey. 5, I hit a another great shot with the 8-iron, and same thing, it was down off the right but mainly off the right and it switched straight back from behind me, and I almost flew the green.
So it was a way of, you know, kind of getting myself pumped up and kind of releasing a little bit of pressure, and you know, it definitely got me going. So that was good.
Q. If Friday wasn’t your best driving round ever, what was?
SERGIO GARCÍA: Well, it’s not the first time I hit 14 fairways.
Q. You’ve done it six times.
SERGIO GARCÍA: But under the conditions, I think it was definitely my best – more than anything because it wasn’t all the driving. It’s that I was placing it where I wanted to. Most
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