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Sergio Seeking Two Straight Wins at Wyndham Championship
Sergio Garcia logged his eighth career title on the PGA Tour in last year's Wyndham Championship. After opening with rounds of 67 and 63, the Spaniard carded a pair of 66s over the weekend on the par-70 Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., to finish at 18-under 262, two shots ahead of South African Tim Clark.
Though only 33, Garcia feels like an elder statesman on both the PGA and European tours. "I have been out here for a while now, 15 seasons, but I feel like a veteran, but maybe not age-wise, but experience-wise probably I could say that I am," he told reporters. "And it's good. You know, as long as we can keep doing it for many more years, it'll be fine."
Garcia, a sometimes controversial and polarizing figure, has a big heart when it comes to kids. The First Tee of the (North Carolina) Triad is one of his charities, and he donates $1,000 for every birdie he makes and $2,000 for every eagle he makes at each Tour stop.
Here's what Garcia had to tell reporters during his Tuesday media session, two days before the start of the $5.3 million Wyndham Championship, one of his favorite events on Tour.
MODERATOR: I'd like to welcome our defending champion of the Wyndham Championship, Sergio Garcia. Sergio, it's been a year. If you wanted to kind of talk about your thoughts coming back to Greensboro and then we'll take a few questions.
SERGIO GARCIA: Sure. No, it's great. Obviously awesome to be back here in Greensboro, Sedgefield Country Club, and to be able to defend my title. So yeah, really excited about it. The course looks very nice. Obviously it's been raining a little bit, but the greens look really, really good like they did last year, fairways, too. A little but soft, but other than that, it looks amazing and hopefully it'll make for a great champion like it's always been.
MODERATOR: Okay. Thank you. Question right here.
Q. Sergio, whatever they called it, this champion has not had a repeat winner, someone successfully to defend the title since Sam Snead in the 1950s. Why do you think that is and does that change your approach at all entering this week?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, no. I wouldn't say so. I think that's just something that happens. You know, it's part of the tournament, I guess, to see the history of it, but I don't know what the actual cause of it is. Obviously I think that, you know, it's a very demanding golf course. You have to drive the ball well. You know, the greens, I think the greens now after they went to Bermudagrass, it's tougher to hit some of the spots like they were before. You know, they obviously run a lot faster and a bit firmer. But you know, hopefully it will be nice to change that bit of history. So the only thing I can do is go out there, hopefully play well like I know I can do and we'll see if that's food enough to repeat here.
Q. Do you believe you're the favorite?
SERGIO GARCIA: Do I believe I'm the favorite? I hope I'm one of them. But no, I wouldn't say I'm the favorite. I think that there's a great bunch of great players out here that can win. You know, the tournaments out here nowadays, anybody can pretty much win it. They all have, you know very good quality, great level. So you know, if I play well, I do have a good chance, but if I'm not on my game, then I probably have to do something extra to have a chance.
Q. Along those same lines, you've played well here, you finished one shot out of a playoff. What is it about the course that suits you?
SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. I've liked it since '98 when I played what was a Web.com Tour in that year. For whatever reason I feel great comfortable on it. I like the looks of the course. I like the way it plays. So you know, hopefully I'll be able to do something similar this week. You know, I feel comfortable out there, play well, give myself a chance on the weekend and see if we can do like last year or a couple of years ago when we had good chances, and obviously won last year. If not, you know, we'll still give it our best shot and see what we can do.
Q. Davis Love, III said he believed the greens were playing a lot tougher than they were last year, they're a lot firmer, they're a lot faster. Do you believe that's also the case, and if it is in fact harder to score, what do you think the winning score might be? Your winning score was 18 under last year. How much harder do you think it's going to be?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah. It depends. I think it depends a little bit on the weather. I don't know, if it pours like it did last year, everything gets softer. The greens, even if it rains quite a bit like it did last night for example, the greens don't get as soft as they were when they had bentgrass. So obviously the softer the course gets, the easier it is to score. But if we manage to get decent weather throughout the week, the course will get firm very quickly, the greens will get very, very firm. Obviously they're very fast. And a lot of those pin positions and a lot of those putts will become much tougher. So it depends on the weather. If the weather is really good and it gets firm, I don't know, probably somewhere around just off of double digits probably will win it. But if it rains, then might have a little bit of a better chance of shooting a lower score.
Q. I hear you were out there with kids The First Tee folks. When you first came here in 98, you were pretty much a kid too.
SERGIO GARCIA: Pretty much, yeah.
Q. Do you remember what was going through your mind, and how that's changed?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, yeah. I would say obviously it's been 15 years since '98. You do change a little bit. There's no doubt. I think we've all gone through that. But yeah, you know, it was great. I remember coming here, playing I played here and Cleveland. I played two Web.com Tour events. As an amateur it was a great experience. I played very, very well here. So you know, it's good fun. It's great to have those possibilities and as an 18 year old like I was, to be able to play here in the U. S. and play good professional tournaments it was something that not a lot of people get, and I was just trying to obviously play as well as I could and enjoy it as much as I could and kind of suck in as much experience as I could, which it definitely helped.
Q. Do you feel like an elder statesman now?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I have been out here for a while now, 15 seasons, but I feel like a veteran, but maybe not age-wise, but experience-wise probably I could say that I am. And it's good. You know, as long as we can keep doing it for many more years, it'll be fine.
Q. A friend of mine's husband said she saw you at Whole Foods last night.
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah.
Q. Do you get out in the community a lot when you go to tournaments?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, we were at a house, so we wanted to buy some food, make sure we had something in the fridge. We I do. I'm not I don't consider myself the kind of person that stays in the hotel or stays when you rent a house it's a little bit different because you can kind of cook yourself and stuff. But I like to go out for dinner once in a while throughout the week. I'm not a huge fan of room service and things like that. So I guess it's the way I've been brought up back in Spain. We go for dinners quite a bit, and I like to check out the community and the place where we are a little bit.
Q. Talking about the first tee program, why are you so active with the younger golfers?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I mean I think it's great to have the possibility of helping young kids. I know when I was young and I had the pleasure of meeting Seve and Olazabal and Greg Norman and Bernhard Langer and some of those guys, I knew how much of a thrill that was for me. And I guess what I'm hoping for them it's kind of similar. So we try to help as much as we can on that aspect and obviously with what we're doing with the birdies and eagles for The First Tee. It's another little way of trying to help a little bit. So every time we have a chance of putting a smile on a lot of those kids, it's very rewarding.
MODERATOR: Well, thanks for your time, Sergio, and best of luck this week.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.