Verdi: Garcia's confidence coming around at just the right time

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Sergio Garcia has three top 10s this season and ranks 15th in the FedExCup standings.
September 05, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

CARMEL, Ind. -- Sergio Garcia, do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

"I do."

As you prepare for the BMW Championship here at Crooked Stick Golf Club starting Thursday, your body English seems better for the FedExCup. Or is it body Spanish?

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"My attitude is good. Obviously, winning the Wyndham at Greensboro and making the Ryder Cup team, was nice. But even when I didn't win at The Barclays, the first Playoff event, after having a chance to win on Sunday, I tried to keep the right frame of mind."

A month or so ago, you said you weren't too confident about being on Europe's Ryder Cup team.

"Well, I wasn't too excited about my game at the time. But after the PGA Championship, I made a little deal with a friend of mine. We should keep our heads up, no matter what happens."

A fellow golfer friend?

"No, a tennis player, Daniela Hantuchova. We have been friends for a while and see each other when we can. The idea was, when we are playing our sports, not to get too down when things don't go well."

You have been known to beat yourself up on occasion. What do you tell people who say that you don't look like you're enjoying golf?

"I can't know what people are thinking anymore than people can know what I am thinking. Just because I get angry about a bad shot and am not enjoying that moment, that doesn't mean I am not enjoying golf at all. I love playing golf. I don't love playing bad golf. That depends on what you mean by bad golf. Missing cuts, to me that's bad golf."

A couple years ago, when you weren't playing well, did you ever wonder whether you could play well again?

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Here are the top five players entering the BMW Championship:
1 Rory McIlroy
2 Nick Watney
3 Tiger Woods
4 Brandt Snedeker
5 Louis Oosthuizen

"We all struggle at one time or another. You lose confidence. You wonder, 'Will I ever be me again?' It's difficult, but you have to try to get through it."

Yet, at the Masters last April, you told a few Spanish reporters that you had realized you weren't good enough to win a major. Ever. Still feel that way?

"No, but I'm not going to take back what I said then because that's how I felt then. I don't feel that way now. What I am sure about now is only that I will not win a major this year." (laugh)

And because of that dry spell in 2009 and 2010, you did not make the Ryder Cup team.

"I probably didn't deserve to. I was a vice-captain for Colin Montgomerie, which was great. It was also difficult. You want to do everything you can to help, but you can't grab a club and hit a shot. You have to keep your hands in your pocket. That's hard."

If you hadn't played your way onto this year's team, do you think you would have been a captain's pick?

"I don't know. That is a question for Jose-Maria Olazabal. I had my hopes, that's for sure. But there were a lot of choices on both sides. You look at the two teams, United States and Europe. All 24 players are within the top 36 in the world rankings. That's amazing. Has that ever happened before? A lot of good players got left out."

You are 14-6-4 in five previous Ryder Cups. You've never lost in foursomes. Why do you love it so much?

"It's unique, in so many ways. You can have a great year, but if it's not a Ryder Cup year, you might not make the team the next year when it is a Ryder Cup year. So, it is very difficult to qualify. And there is lots of pressure if you do. And the team experience. It's not like anything else. Every match is like the last nine holes of a major."

Does the Ryder Cup mean more to Europeans than the Americans?

"I can't answer that. I don't know what it means to the Americans. They have other things, like the Presidents Cup. I only know what it means to us, which is a lot."

We always think of players in team events being worried about letting teammates down. Is that a fact?

"We don't look at it that way. I don't anyway. That's negative. I look at like, if I'm playing with Luke Donald, my closest friend out here, he is there for me, no matter what. If I hit a bad shot, if I miss the ball, he is still there for me. He is my No. 1 fan for that match, that day, that moment."

There's that picture of you. Scissor-kicking up the hill after swinging from the base of an oak tree on the 16th hole at Medinah during the 1999 PGA Championship.

"That tree is not there anymore, I guess. I hit a 6-iron. I have great memories of Medinah. I was treated very nicely in 1999 and again there at the PGA in 2006. I liked the course the way it was, the way I knew it. Now, it's not quite the same. It's like to you know someone, then they have a little surgery, and you maybe don't quite recognize them. But it will be fun going back there. Chicago is a big city very into sports. Boston in 1999, that was a little over the top. Chicago, I hope there will be mutual respect for the teams and the sport. They are very passionate about sports there, but I think it will be fine."

Who's your caddie this week?

"Wayne Richardson again. CBS is done with golf. We have a good time together. Then I'll go home to Spain for a week, eat some paella, and come back for two more big events. The TOUR Championship in Atlanta and the Ryder Cup. I spend a lot of time in the United States and the food is nice. But paella is paella. Unique. So are my friends and family."

This will be the first Ryder Cup since Seve Ballesteros passed away. Does that have significance to you?

"Absolutely. What he did for the Ryder Cup, how he got Europe going. My first Ryder Cup that I saw in person was 1995 at Rochester. I was on the junior Ryder Cup. I went to watch Seve. He knew me a little bit, he gave me a hug, we took a picture. I went to the international pavilion and saw all these people, singing, cheering for their teams, waving flags. Wow, this is something. I would like to be a part of this. Jose Maria has even more sense of Seve and his history than me. I am sure we will remember him in Chicago. There will probably be pictures of him in our room."

Europeans have to be thrilled that you are on the team. It wouldn't seem like a Ryder Cup without you.

"There have been many Ryder Cups without me and there will be many more Ryder Cups without me. Just not this one."

Would you like to be a European captain?

"I'm 32. Are you retiring me already?"

Bob Verdi is a freelance columnist for PGATOUR.COM. His views do not necessarily represent the views of the PGA TOUR.

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