MORE INTERVIEWS: Northern Trust Open transcripts archive
CHRIS REIMER: Sergio, great round today, 6 under par, maybe some opening comments about the start, three straight birdies coming out at this event.
SERGIO GARCÍA: Obviously very happy with it, and first tournament in the U.S. this year, it was nice to start like that with three nice birdies. Then I managed to play quite good, not extremely well. I hit my drivers pretty good, obviously some drives here and there that I would like to hit a little bit better.
It was good. Overall I managed to hit some nice chips and hit some nice putts here and there. So very pleased with the round overall.
Q. What was the toughest of the opening three birdies?
SERGIO GARCÍA: 12, without a doubt. 10 I hit a good tee shot just over the green and great chip to about two feet.
Then on the next, I hit a decent tee shot, too. It was a little bit done wind, so we were on in two. Hit a 3 wood in the right bunker, hit a very good bunker shot to about four feet at the most. Then on the next I pulled it a little bit with driver but I pulled a 7 iron to probably 15 feet or so and rolled that putt in.
Q. Is there anything specific about this courses that makes you so comfortable? Last year the final round you shot 7 under, you come out, don't hit it super great, and you're 6 under par. What is it; do you have a comfort factor?
SERGIO GARCÍA: Well, I like the course to start with. That's always something quite important. So I guess that helps a lot.
You know, it's the kind of golf course that if you play well, you can shoot a decent score, but if you are not on, you can struggle quite a bit.
So it's a great test to start the year for me, and it's not an easy golf course. So that those are the kind of courses that I enjoy playing.
Q. The more difficult course, the better you play, usually, or that you like to play, anyway?
SERGIO GARCÍA: Yeah, I guess the tougher the course, then you know, the more you can rely on your long game and everything, even though my short game is still working pretty good.
Yeah, these kind of courses are the ones that I feel most comfortable, where you have to shoot 7 or 8 under par every day to keep track.
Q. Whereabouts were you on the golf course when it went from beautiful sunshine, blue skies, to fog coming in? And was it anything you did to cause that? (Laughter)
SERGIO GARCÍA: Yeah, must have been my fault. (Laughter).
We were on the 7th tee. So it was nice all day. You could feel on the 5th tee that it was already starting to get a little chilly. I put my jersey back on.
And then that marine layer or fog or whatever you want to call it, came in very quickly. I was thinking if we were able to keep going, some spots, it looked some spots here and there, it was tough to see the pin and stuff.
Q. That bad?
SERGIO GARCÍA: A little bit, yeah. I don't know how it was on 5, 6, but definitely on 8, the second shot on 8, it got to a spot where it was hard to see. The tee shot on 9, we couldn't see the ball land.
Q. What irons did you hit on 8 and 9?
SERGIO GARCÍA: I hit 9 iron and 8 iron.
Q. You have many friends in the tennis world and some of the stars on that tour are calling for more drug testing to make sure that their sport remains clean. How comfortable are you that golf is as clean as it can be?
SERGIO GARCÍA: Well, I can't talk for anybody else, but I'm very comfortable with myself. So I've got
CHRIS REIMER: (Squeezing Sergio's upper arm, checking for bulging biceps) (laughter).
SERGIO GARCÍA: I've had testing and passed them all. Obviously you can't control everyone, but I feel like golf has always been in a good state when it comes down to that. It's not the kind of sport that needs much when it comes to enhancing drugs or whatever you want to call it, performance enhancing drugs.
I think obviously golf is great. We haven't really had anything going on. So we'll see, we started testing, what was it, 2008 I think, and nothing has really come around. So I think that speaks for itself.
Q. A quick follow; what differentiates golf from tennis? What makes you feel confident that its clean?
SERGIO GARCÍA: Well, I mean, tennis is so much harder on the body than golf. I think obviously golf, it's more of an endurance kind of sport because you can play for many more years.
But tennis, I mean, I have the pleasure of playing tennis, obviously not professionally, but even like that, if I play two or three times in a week, I can feel it. I can feel in my body that it does take it obviously takes a little on the shoulders and the arms and a little bit on the legs and the knees, like it obviously happens to Rafa.
So it's much harder than golf overall. You can kind of see it.
Q. Having had a little break prior to this event, are you at all surprised about the way you started today?
SERGIO GARCÍA: I had one week off. I mean, that's not too big a break, is it? (Laughter).
Q. And true to the marine layer, I know it was only the last couple holes, did you notice a change in distances?
SERGIO GARCÍA: Definitely as it got colder, you could feel the ball was not going quite as far. So it obviously made a difference. The good thing was that the last three holes we played, we were playing downwind. 9 was down off the left. But the other two were pretty much straight downwind. So kind of made up for it. But it definitely made a difference.
Q. One of your playing partners today was Charl, who has been in tremendous form globally in recent months. Just wonder if you see anything different in his game this season, based on today?
SERGIO GARCÍA: He played very nicely today. Obviously he didn't get the most out of his round. The greens were tough in the afternoon. It was difficult to make some putts.
But yeah, he looks really, really nice. He looks like he's swinging it very nicely. His putting stroke looks really good, even some of the putts he didn't make.
So he's obviously been in great form, and it's nice to see. He's a friend of mine and I always enjoy seeing my friends play well.
Q. How do you feel about your form? You've played very well today; you drove the ball in the bunker on 15; you drove the ball in the bunker on 17, the two bunkers that you should probably miss, still shoot 6 under par?
SERGIO GARCÍA: You should try to hit on every fairway. That's what I tried to do
Q. What I'm saying, your form looks good, it's very strong.
SERGIO GARCÍA: No, I feel like I'm playing quite well. I feel more comfortable with my irons than I feel with my driver. It doesn't mean that I'm driving the ball badly. But I'm not quite as confident with it.
Those are things that happen. I guess I'm trying to hit the right shot. I'm trying to hit the right tee shot, and I'm not going to stand there and think, don't hit in that bunker and hit it 60 yards left.
So both tee shots were actually pretty good tee shots, and both tee shots just got in the bunker. If the tee shot on 15 goes a couple yards to the left, it probably stays in the fairway. If the tee shot on 17 goes three yards farther left, it's beautiful down the middle. So I guess it's something that happens.
Q. Do you feel good about your form right now?
SERGIO GARCÍA: I feel pretty good, yeah. Obviously I can keep getting better. But like I said, I feel very, very comfortable with my irons. With my driver, I can still improve a little bit more.
Q. Do you think most guys look forward to next week?
SERGIO GARCÍA: Well, I think the guys that go next week, they probably do (laughter).
Yeah, I think it's a different kind of tournament. It's nice to play match play here and there. We don't get to play it too often throughout the year. So yeah, I look forward to it. I'm pretty sure that I don't know if all of them, but most of them, I'm pretty sure they do. But I can't, you know, I can't answer for 63 guys.
CHRIS REIMER: Sergio, thanks for coming in. Good luck the rest of the week.