US Open Championship 2017
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Press ConferenceBETH MAJOR: Good morning. We'd like to welcome Sergio
Garcia into the interview room at the 117th Seoul here at Erin Hills, Wisconsin.
We are very pleased to welcome this morning Masters champion, Sergio Garcia.
He earned his first major victory two months ago in a thrilling victory at
Augusta National. Currently ranked No. 7 in the world. He's playing in his
18th U.S. Open this week. His five top-10 finishes, tie for 5th last year at
Can you take us through the last two months since your victory
SERGIO GARCIA: It's been fun. Obviously it's been very
overwhelming and very busy. But it's been a great experience to be able to call
myself Masters Champion, it's something, it's a dream come true and something
that I'm extremely proud of.
But like I said after that, after Augusta,
you know, it's a different week, and that is not going to give me any advantage
when we get on the first tee. You still have to focus hard and trust yourself,
believe in your ability, commit to your shots and your thoughts and then
hopefully have another good week here.
BETH MAJOR: I know you said you
just arrived yesterday and have not actually seen the golf course yet. Can you
talk a little bit about your preparations for the next few days.
GARCIA: Hopefully I'll be able to play 18 today and 18 tomorrow, get a couple
nice looks at the course, weather permitted, obviously. It looks like it's a
big golf course and it's -- I'm excited to see it. It's going to be playing a
lot softer, a lot longer and not as fast as it was probably maybe yesterday or a
couple days ago. But we can't control Mother Nature and we'll deal with it the
best way possible.
Q. Talk about the differences to coming into
a major championship, knowing that you've done it. Is there a difference coming
in knowing that you've done it before?
SERGIO GARCIA: To be totally
honest, I don't think so. I think that the pressure of trying to do well and
give yourself a chance is still the same. I guess inside of you there is a
little spot where you've accomplished it already. But it doesn't mean that if I
play well and I have a chance on Sunday it's going to be easier. Every
tournament is tough, is tough to win and majors is even tougher. And U.S. Open
we all know how difficult they are. I'm sure it's going to be a great challenge
again, like it is every year.
Q. Congratulations. First time
we speak since you won your first major, well done, congratulations. The last
six majors have produced first-time winners, you're one of those six, why do you
think we're seeing this trend continue and continue?
SERGIO GARCIA: I
don't know. It's difficult to say. I think it's just one of those things that
happen, one of the those rolls that just -- it just happened in the last six
majors. But I'm sure it's going to finish at some point. My goal, obviously,
is to make it stop this week and hopefully get a second one. But it is also
nice to see some of those first-time major winners that maybe deserved it for a
while and are getting their own.
Q. Just as a quick follow-up,
if you could pick two words that will be key to going into this week's U.S.
Open, Henrik Stenson yesterday used par and patience, what would be your two
words that are key here?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, one, for sure, is patience,
so I'm going to take that one from Henrik. The other one for me would be
Q. You are wearing different shades of green most
of the time these days?
SERGIO GARCIA: No reason. It's some of the
clothes I have, so I have to wear them.
Q. This course has a
very linksy feel, and with your Open record, do you think it's going to suit you
more than most?
SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. Hopefully. That would be
nice. Like I said, just a minute ago it's going to be playing much softer than
maybe we expected it after the big storms we had yesterday and this morning.
But it is kind of linksy. I'm excited to go out there later on and take a good
look at it, get a feel for it and see how the course plays. So we'll see.
Hopefully we'll be able to get some good vibes and have a great
Q. You're the only guy that can win the Grand Slam this
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I mean, I guess the guy that wins
the Masters every year has the potential of doing that. It is something nice to
have the possibility of doing, but we all know how difficult it is. I just want
to go one little tournament at a time and give my best this week and hopefully
by Sunday night we can keep having that talk.
Q. Now you've won
a major. Do you think Hideki Matsuyama has a chance to win a major this week or
in the future?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, for sure, Hideki is a wonderful
player. He's young. He's got a lot of game, he's shown that. I don't have a
doubt that he's going to win at least one major. And it would be nice to see a
Japanese player doing it. So hopefully Hideki can do that sometime
Q. As a high school golfer sometimes when the weather is
bad I just wish that the meet would get canceled. On a day like today do you
sometimes feel like not golfing?
SERGIO GARCIA: I guess we're used to it
after so many years but I do have to say that at least here in the U.S. when you
get storms it's just like usually thunderstorms and most of the times you can
play. But in the UK it's a little bit tougher because you get wind and rain and
cold and those days are tough to go through. They're very, very difficult, and
you can't even feel your hands sometimes. So those ones are a little tougher to
Here, fortunately for us, most of the time it's just
thunderstorms, so we can play. It's just a matter of waiting and getting ready
Q. How did you find the American fans treated you on
the Sunday of the Masters? How about since then? How do you find that they're
SERGIO GARCIA: I felt and I've always said that I felt
like everywhere in the world and here in the U.S. the fans have always treated
me amazingly well, even more for being a foreigner, from being from Spain. So
definitely throughout the whole Masters and on Sunday I felt even more supported
than in the past, if that's possible. And from the Masters onwards it's been
fun. It's been fun to be out there and see the people cheering even harder for
you than they did before, which, like I said, it wasn't easy because I've always
been very fortunate with the way they've treated me. But a lot of people, you
can see that a lot of people are happy about us getting finally a major victory
and congratulating us and all those things. So it's been a great
Q. What's the coolest thing you've done with the
Green Jacket in the last few months?
SERGIO GARCIA: Coolest? Just pretty
much wearing the jacket (laughter).
Q. You wore it at the Real
Madrid, didn't you?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I think I was wearing the jacket
then. There's been a lot of great little things that we've done with and
without the jacket. The honorary kickoff at the Clasico was an amazing
experience. So that's probably the coolest thing. But fortunately we've done a
lot of great things.
Q. Just interested to know with Cristiano
Ronaldo, how does he react to your achievements and winning the Masters?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I mean I've met him a couple of times, but very briefly.
I'm friendlier with some of the other players on the Real Madrid squad. He was,
you know, polite, he was obviously clapped for me and stuff. It was nice to
see. But they had a big game to play so it was difficult to get a lot more
emotional than that. But it's been great.
Q. You mentioned
your two key words, patience and commitment, could you elaborate on the
commitment part? And on the patience side of things, do you feel more
qualified, more able to fulfill that side of the bargain than ever
SERGIO GARCIA: Hopefully. Every week is different, so some weeks
you feel a bit calmer than others and your patience is better. Hopefully this
week will be one of those weeks where I feel calm and collected and my patience
level is way, way high. When it comes down to commitment it's just a matter of
believing. I think that at the Masters I did that very, very well with all
aspects of my game. The last three weeks players, Byron Nelson and Colonial, I
struggled a little bit with that. My commitment wasn't as sharp as it was at
the Masters. I don't know if it was because everything that's been going on
after the win there and stuff. But we have to kind of collect ourselves again
and make sure that when we get there on the first tee on Thursday that we're
fully committed, no matter what happens and have as much patience as
Q. Two questions, what are you most looking for when
you see a course for the first time? And, two, is there anything you're looking
forward to this week that's very Wisconsin-like when you experienced before when
you were at the straits?
SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. Obviously we
played at Whistling a couple of times. I think there's a lot of high grass out
around there that I'm not looking forward to seeing, so hopefully we'll stay
away from that. But it is different, it's a bit linksier, it's a bit more, not
the kind of golf course that you maybe see here in the U.S. as much. So I'm
excited to see how it plays. I'm excited to see the different options that it
gives you, not only off the tee but around the greens, things like that.
At the end of the day the only thing we try to do when we are out there
practicing is to get as good a feel as possible for the golf course, the way it
plays, and see what game plan feels most comfortable for you. So those are the
goals for the next couple of days.
Q. When you look back on the
Masters and particularly the last few holes on the Sunday afternoon can you
think of anything -- how would you describe Justin over those holes? Did
anything about his bearing strike you? Obviously he was playing very well. Did
he talk less than before? How did things change?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, not
really. I thought the whole round was pretty level on the way we treated each
other and the way we talked to each other, even when I was up, even when he was
up. We are good friends. We've gone through many, many things together when it
comes down to Ryder Cups and things around the golf course and stuff like that.
I personally don't think it changed much at all and you could see that even on
14, 15, 16, 17, the holes coming in, as tense as it was we were still
congratulating each other for great shots and good putts and things like that.
So nothing changed at all.
Q. I think only two players have won
more than one major, having won their first one at age 37 or older. But do you
feel quite -- you're 37 in terms of you haven't had any major injuries, do you
feel that you've got a lot of majors in you?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I mean
that's the goal and that's where we want to go. I think that like I've been
saying for my career I've been fortunate with injuries. I haven't -- I've had
some minor injuries but nothing major which hasn't taken me away from the game
for too long. So I still feel in good shape and my game feels nice. I'm still
working hard on it.
I definitely hope that I can keep playing well and
win many, many more, now that we have our first one. But time will tell us.
Like I said, before the Masters, the only thing I can do is keep putting myself
in that situation as many times as possible and now I can maybe relay -- is that
right, relay -- on what I felt on Sunday at Augusta and hopefully it gives me a
little bit of an edge when it comes down to that situation.
Yesterday Jon Rahm said that you were someone that he's looked up to and
he said that your win at the Masters was pretty inspiring. Just curious, what's
your relationship like with him and what do you think of the season he's had so
far and what it means for Spanish golf?
SERGIO GARCIA: It's great. We
have a good relationship. Obviously he's a wonderful player and I've said it
even before he became a pro. To see a good, young player from Spain, it's
great. I'm thrilled about it. It's nice to see Spanish sports doing well
everywhere. And obviously golf it's nice to see another good young player
coming out from Spain. He's been having a great year. He's been up there in so
many tournaments. It's nice to see that happening and hopefully for many more
Q. I'm a native of Wisconsin, and from what I understand
you played a final round with Jordan Niebrugge at 2015 at the Old Course. And I
was wondering if you could provide a little enlightenment of what you thought of
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, obviously it's been a couple of years. But,
no, we had a good time. We enjoyed each other playing there. I don't know, is
he playing this year, here?
SERGIO GARCIA: All
right. So that's awesome. Hopefully he has another good week here. But, yeah,
wonderful player and hopefully he can keep playing well and have a good week
here and keep rising up and play the best he can do. So it's nice to see that
he's still doing well.
Q. Andy North told me when he was at his
first U.S. Open in 1978 for a couple of years after that he had a lull as far as
motivation goes. We've seen that with other major champions. What do you do to
deal with that low and keep your spark and passion?
SERGIO GARCIA: At the
end of the day I think that obviously we've achieved something that we've been
trying for for so long. And it's easy to kind of take a deep breath and relax
and -- but I'm still working out hard. I'm still working on my game as much as
I can and as hard as possible. To make sure that -- I've always said it, wins
are important but to me consistency is the most important thing. And I've been
fortunate to be consistent throughout my whole career. I want to keep being
consistent, keep playing well, keep giving myself chances at winning majors and
being in Ryder Cups and all those things.
So to me that's the best
motivation possible, to keep that consistency going. And if I want to do that I
have to keep working hard. And then if I do that then hopefully those lulls --
I'm sure that some lows will come, but hopefully they'll be short ones and we
can get over them as quickly as possible.
Q. Just following
what you said about injuries, Rory is obviously coming in here having had a very
disrupted season and preparation, do you think that significantly limits his
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, we know the qualities that Rory
possess and how good a player he is. But I'd be lying to you if I didn't tell
you that I think it probably -- it does hurt him a little bit because he hasn't
had much continuance on his playing. Obviously practicing and all that is
great, but you need competition golf. And you need to feel those juices that
you feel when you're with a chance of winning a tournament or you have to make a
putt to get a round going or make a cut or something like that.
probably doesn't help him. But at the same time, like I said, he's a wonderful
player. We all know how much quality he has and he'll probably try to overcome
all those things and feel as ready as he can feel for this week. At the end of
the day, like I said before, it all comes down to commitment. And when you're
playing a little bit more it's easier to commitment because you're in a
situation. But I'm sure he's had some good practices, and he'll be as ready as
he can be on Thursday.
BETH MAJOR: Sergio, thank you so much for joining
us today. It was a pleasure. We wish you well throughout the
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
#1 by #178 at 2017-06-13 15:34:00 GMT