Sergio Garcia, 2019 Emirates Australian Open, Wednesday 4 December
KATHIE SHEARER: Sergio, just absolutely terrific to have you back.
SERGIO GARCIA: Thank you.
KATHIE SHEARER: I believe that you’ve been here for a little while now. You were here last week or last weekend.
SERGIO GARCIA: We got here on Wednesday morning, yeah.
KATHIE SHEARER: Have you looked around Sydney?
SERGIO GARCIA: A little bit. We’ve done a little bit of sightseeing. Obviously, staying downtown, so we walked to the harbour, seen the bridge, the Opera House and a little bit of Sydney. We’ve gone to a couple of the beaches, Bondi and Manly. It’s been good fun.
KATHIE SHEARER: Today you’ve seen the course, do you like the look of it?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I do. I played last Friday and obviously today. Yeah, it looks really good. I love the type of golf course that it is. I’ve always liked golf courses with small greens, that’s why Valderrama is my favourite golf course in the world. So, I think it’s a really solid golf course, the kind of golf course that if the conditions are benign you can score, because it’s not terribly long, but if you get a little bit of wind, which usually you do here, those small greens then become very small targets and you have to be extremely precise to be able to hit them and have birdie chances and then if you start missing greens, then you can have some tricky chips. So, I think it’s a very good golf course.
Q. I’m intrigued obviously with what you do for a living. You go all over the world but you guys rarely get to see anything, but you’ve come here early to Sydney. I’m just wondering what your thinking was for that? Did you always want to see Sydney?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, it was much simpler than that. I played two weeks ago in Dubai and I had a week off in between, so I was kind of halfway here. I wasn’t going to go back to Spain, because that would add me an extra seven hours of flight and going to the States, it was also going to be a lot of flying. So, I thought I might as well go early to Australia. I remembered that I enjoyed Sydney when I was here in the early 2000s and why not? I’ve always said that I’ve always enjoyed Australia, I’ve always liked Australia, so why not come and spend a little bit of time here.
Q. Just one thing, you said you got to play the course last Friday, which is also unusual. Is that likely to help you this week, having had some extra time out here to see the course before the Tournament?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, because I only played it twice. It’s like if I would have played it Tuesday and Wednesday, but it was nice to play last Friday. It was a bit more relaxed and less players out there and you were able to take a couple of looks here and there.
Q. No shorts today?
SERGIO GARCIA: No.
Q. I just wanted to ask you, based on obviously what happened last week in Europe, with shorts being allowed all four rounds, whether that’s something you think should be universal, because I believe you have a general conversation with one of our officials yesterday on the range?
SERGIO GARCIA: Actually, because I’m used to, even in the US we practice in shorts, so I didn’t think of it. I thought obviously the same thing, so I came with shorts but it was a good thing that I wasn’t out playing or anything, I was just practising a little bit, so it just reminded me that I had to come with pants today.
But yeah, I would love to see that. I’ve said it many times – I think at the end of the day, having the possibility of playing with shorts, it only kind of brings us together to the amateurs, because when you go to a course, unless it’s winter and it’s really cold, if it’s spring or summer and the temperatures are nice, when you go to a normal course, 90 per cent of the people are wearing shorts, so I think the connection would feel even closer to the amateurs. But I want to say, it probably will happen but we don’t know exactly when.
Q. I believe you had a game at NSW Golf Club earlier in the week, is that right?
SERGIO GARCIA: I didn’t, no. It was a corporate day for Credit Suisse, one of my sponsors, so I played six holes 15 times. On probably 40 kph wind and that was fun, but it was a wonderful golf course. It looked stunning.
Q. You’ve mentioned Dubai was only two weeks ago and you’re back here playing again. I’m just wondering when your off season is. Do you have an off season?
SERGIO GARCIA: Sunday, Sunday night it starts.
Q. Obviously, the US Tour has already started, the European Tour has started for next year so when are you able to switch off?
SERGIO GARCIA: Usually, like I said, Sunday night and I would love to have a little bit more time, but I have five or six weeks off during Christmas and then get ready for Abu Dubai, that’s where I’ll start my year. So, it’s what it is. I think it’s tough to find a lot of moments of down golf, like maybe in the early days for my career, in the early 2000s or something like that where the year kind of finished at the end of October/very beginning of November and then you had until second week of January or something like that, there was nothing to play, PGA Tour or European Tour. You could come to Australia or Japan and play maybe one or two tournaments, but you could have a little bit of a longer gap. But playing both tours is a little bit tougher to do that.
Q. You talk about ending your season on Sunday, but Sunday also would mark the end of 20 years as a pro. When you look back on those 20 years, how do you look back on it? I was there when you won the Irish Open in ’99, you won the German Masters that year, you won a Major. Now going into the next decade of your career, how do you look back on those two earlier decades?
SERGIO GARCIA: It’s fun. I think what tells me, it’s quite simple. It shows me how lucky, how fortunate I’ve been to be able to do what I love for this long and do it at a fairly good level I would say. So, I’m just thankful for that. I’m very proud of some of the things that I’ve been able to achieve, not only professionally but personally and hopefully keep working hard on my game and see if I can have another good amount of years going forward.
Q. Just a quick follow up European Tour theme question. What’s your thoughts on Jon Rahm being named overnight and being honoured overnight with the European Golfer of the Year award?
SERGIO GARCIA: He’s had an amazing year. It’s great for me as a Spaniard, it’s great to see that. It was great to see him win the Race to Dubai because since Seve, unfortunately I was close a couple of times, two or three times, and unfortunately I didn’t manage to do it, but as a Spaniard to see another Spanish player on top of the European Tour, it’s great. It makes us all very proud of him. Obviously, he deserves that award because he played amazing all year.
Q. As a European, can you offer any advice to an International Team trying to avoid an eight straight loss to the US in the President’s Cup?
SERGIO GARCIA: It’s a lot tougher than you may think. Me, I don’t have the magic wand and they’re going to play amazing and win. Obviously, I’ve had some experiences as a Ryder Cup player but until you’re in that team room with those team mates and everything and you see how everything feels, it’s difficult to say.
The only thing I can do is wish them luck. Obviously, hopefully they play really, really well. Scotty and I were talking this morning at breakfast, if they can at least make it a tight match and see how the Americans respond, then they’re already achieving something and if they can make it a tight match, then obviously they will have their chances of winning.
So, I think that’s the most important thing for them at the moment, make sure that they’re all enjoying what they’re doing, they relax, they can play to the best of their abilities, rookies and veterans and hopefully have a chance at winning it. It’s as simple as that.
Q. How would you describe life after winning The Masters on and off the course, do you feel more satisfied than you thought you would or did it leave you wanting more out of your career?
SERGIO GARCIA: You feel both. You feel satisfied because it’s something that you wanted to do for so many years and probably Scotty can tell you the same thing. It was similar to him, it happened to him a little bit earlier than me. But at the same time, it doesn’t finish there. It’s not like after winning The Masters we stop practising and we’re like, let’s see what happens. We stay, we still practice hard.
Like I was saying, we’re still working hard, we’re still trying to improve. Obviously, we’re not 25 anymore but we know that there are some other things that we can get better at that can get us to a higher level and that’s what we try to do. So, we’re not “satisfied” with what we’ve done. Obviously, we are satisfied, but we want to keep achieving things. Just like what Scotty said earlier about winning the Australian Open, the Australian Masters and the PGA, it’s great, but he still wants to keep winning it more, the same way that I’ve been fortunate to win so many tournaments in Spain, every time I play in Spain I want to keep winning, even though I’ve done well there.
Q. Have you had an opportunity to look at the names on the trophy this week and is winning national Opens an important thing to you? I’m not sure which ones you’ve won. I think Bernie mentioned the Irish Open.
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I’ve been fortunate to win, I don’t know exactly how many, but obviously I won the Spanish Open, I won in Holland this year, the Dutch Open. I won several, fortunately for me. The names, I haven’t looked at all of them, but the names are very, very impressive. I know most of them. It just shows you the quality of this Tournament. Yes, it would be nice. It’s a shame that I haven’t played this Open before. It’s my debut as almost a 40 year old. It kind of sounds a little bit funny, but I’m excited to play well and give it a good run.
Q. Which beach did you enjoy more, Bondi or Manly?
SERGIO GARCIA: Different. I think Bondi was a little bit looser, a little bit more fun you may say. Manly was a little bit more relaxed, so it just depends on what you want to do. They were both fun. The water was quite cold I must say, but I love the sand, it’s very thin. It’s nice to walk in that sand. It feels good on your feet and stuff like that. But, they were both good fun.