Sergio Garcia is making his first appearance at the Safeway Open and the Silverado Resort in Napa. Garcia took time to talk with the media on Wednesday! Following are excerpts from the press conference.
MARK WILLIAMS: We would like to welcome Sergio Garcia, 10-time PGA TOUR winner, to the Safeway Open. Sergio, welcome. This is your first appearance here, so I guess we’ll start with what are your first impressions of the Safeway Open and particularly the Silverado Country Club golf course?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, Mark, like you said, it’s my first time here. Always wanted to come and play here at Silverado in Napa and unfortunately — and obviously my wife wanted me to come and play and obviously bring her, but unfortunately the time of the year, this year kind of changes a little bit, but during the past usually we’re in Europe, playing Europe, so it’s not easy. I’ve obviously watched a little bit on TV in the past and I saw it today. Really nice golf course, just great visuals off the tees, kind of a little bit different, but it kind of reminds me a little bit kind of like Torrey Pines or Riviera, those kind of looks on the tees and stuff. Beautiful trees, beautiful high trees, really amazing oaks and cypresses and pine trees and stuff. It’s a very pretty course and it’s in very good shape.
MARK WILLIAMS: Obviously it’s been a really strange season for a lot of reasons, scheduling, et cetera. I know you missed the Playoffs for just a second time in your career since the FedExCup has been instigated. Coming here, was there a decision in that because of missing the Playoffs and wanting to get the season under way again and how important is it — it probably doesn’t even feel like a new season for you, but how important is it to get the season under way with a good performance here?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, it definitely would be nice to get some good mojo going. I feel like my game, it feels pretty good. It’s just a matter of kind of getting things going in the right direction, getting the ball rolling nicely and kind of riding that good wave. But obviously not being able to make the Playoffs made my decision easier to come here. If I would have at least played a couple of the Playoffs, then probably I would have taken a couple weeks off getting ready for the U.S. Open, but I didn’t want to go into the U.S. Open without playing for four weeks. So at least get a little bit of competition energy going, competition like fluids coming into your body, you know. Just like I said earlier, hopefully some good feelings playing well and get some good confidence going into Winged Foot.
Q. How do you describe the sky outside today? I’m just curious if you’ve ever seen anything like that.
SERGIO GARCIA: Similar. I think when we played in Australia, Australian Open at the end of last year, they also had some fires close to where we were there near Sydney. It’s very similar to that. I guess it was a little bit dark throughout the day today, but it’s kind of like a combination of clouds and smoke and, you know, a little bit of ash and stuff. But, you know, they’re saying that the winds are supposed to kind of change, start from the south and it should blow all of these away and then it will be fine. But today was definitely a little bit cooler than it’s been and a little bit darker throughout the practice round.
Q. What do you need to take away from this week to feel good about Winged Foot and what do you remember about playing there in ’06?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I think, like I said earlier, just kind of keep working on the things that I’ve been doing, trying to make sure that it feels like I’m moving forward, that I’m getting a little more confident and a little more comfortable with everything that I’m doing. That doesn’t mean that I need to win or I need to finish top-5 or something. Obviously it would be great to have an amazing week and hopefully have a great chance at winning, but at least if I see that I’m doing some good things and I’m able to do them throughout the week, it can be a good build-up for next week where obviously it’s a tough golf course from what I remember. I’ve heard that it’s in great shape and I heard that if the weather stays good like it’s been in New York for the past week or so, couple of weeks, it could be playing quite tough. So I’ve always enjoyed those kind of conditions.
Q. You mentioned earlier that your wife was very excited about coming out here. Was it about the restaurant scene or the wineries or the spas? What’s she all excited about?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, a little bit of everything, but for sure just a little bit of wine tasting, seeing some of the wineries, maybe a little bit of the food. It’s a beautiful part of the country, so I think we’re taking advantage of it because we haven’t been here together. I think I’ve been here once in, I don’t know, maybe 20 or 20-something years. It’s nice to be able to go to a couple wineries that, you know, friends own and kind of get little tastings here and there. We were able to do that yesterday and we’ll do a little bit today. It’s nice to enjoy that with your loved ones.
Q. Sergio, thanks. Kind of along those lines, you’re kind of able to enjoy Napa a little bit, but seeing these conditions, does it kind of spoil things a bit coming to a place that’s so beautiful but now so dark and gray and gloomy?
SERGIO GARCIA: A little bit, but it only spoils it if you want it to. I think at the end of the day you can still really enjoy what Napa has to offer. So obviously the views are not what you usually see, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do many other things that can bring you lots of joy and beauty. We’re just trying to make sure to do that. Hopefully, as we said earlier, hopefully the wind switches and it clears up and then we can have the whole package.
Q. With all that smoke, i If the winds don’t blow and it’s just so smoky, how does that kind of affect you if you’re a better part of a week in just conditions like this? Do you ever notice any kind of symptoms from it?
SERGIO GARCIA: You kind of feel a little bit in the eyes, your eyes get a little itchy, a little — you know, yeah, I mean a little itchy, maybe a little tired in a way. I think that the most important thing is drinking a lot of water while you’re out there on the course, making sure that when you shower and stuff you kind of clean up nicely your nostrils and things like that. That’s all you can pretty much do. The good thing is that even though it’s a little bit ashy, a little bit smoky, it doesn’t smell super — like in Australia it smelled, you could smell the burned a lot more than here. I heard that like 92 percent of fires are under control and stuff, so that’s always a positive. It’s just looks a little bit different than you’re used to, but it’s not the worst thing.