Following his first major championship win at the Masters, Sergio Garcia sat down for the obligatory/mandatory press conference inside Augusta National’s new press room to take questions from the golf and sports media.
Here’s the full transcript via ASAP Sports – along with photos from Getty Images.
On The Winning Putt
QUESTION: Sergio, 72nd hole, we’ve seen you have that putt before. We’ve unfortunately seen you miss putts like that before. How was this different? How was your head different after missing that putt?
GARCIA: Well, a couple of reasons. First of all, I hit a great putt. I’ve hit that putt in the practice rounds. I’ve hit it‑‑ this week, I’ve hit it twice and both times it went left. So I was very comfortable with my read. I thought it was just a right‑edge putt, obviously very quick. Unfortunately it didn’t want to break.
But I knew I was playing well. I was very calm, much calmer than yesterday, much calmer than I’ve felt probably in any‑‑ in any major championship on Sunday.
So obviously Justin wasn’t making it easy. He was playing extremely well. But I knew what I was capable of doing, and I believed that I could do it. Thanks to that, I was able to do it.
On Seve Ballesteros
QUESTION: Sergio, congratulations, 2017 Masters Champion. Seve Ballesteros’s birthday today. How much were you thinking about him this week?
SERGIO GARCIA: It definitely popped in my mind a few times. There’s no doubt about it. Obviously today a couple of times here and there. And I’m sure he helped a little bit with some of those shots or some of those putts.
I’m thrilled to be standing here this late on Sunday afternoon, Sunday evening. It’s always a beautiful thing to have. So it’s been an amazing week, and I’m going to enjoy it for the rest of my life.
On Turning Point Point
QUESTION: Obviously in front of us over the years, you’ve had so many disappointments and so many close calls and you just talked about how you believed. Was there a turning point? At what point did you really believe that you could do this? Because there’s been so many times you’ve talked to us over the years that you’ve kind of conceded that you weren’t going to have‑‑ this moment wasn’t going to come.
GARCIA: Well, there’s always uncertainty. I don’t want to brag about it or anything. But from the drive this morning here to the course, I felt very calm. I felt very, you know, very at ease, more than yesterday. Even though yesterday I played well, I was a little bit more nervous. It was tough to control my emotions sometimes.
But today, I felt comfortable all day. Obviously 10 is not my favorite hole, but you know, I didn’t play that very well. But even after the two bogeys, I knew that I could still do‑‑ I mean, there were some holes there. There were some tough holes and I was playing well, and there were some holes that I could go after.
So I knew that unless Justin started making birdies left and right, I knew that I would probably have my chances.
You know, the par on 13 obviously was big. And more than anything, to make that putt, because I hit some decent putts earlier in the round and didn’t make them, and started kind of doubting my reads a little bit. But then made a great putt on 14 for birdie. Hit a great shot on 15. Made that eagle putt. Hit a terrible putt on the next, that wasn’t very nice.
But then 17 and 18, I played them very, very well. You know, under the gun with the pressure and everything, it’s not that easy to do. So that gave me‑‑ that gave me a lot of belief.
And for some reason, when I get into playoffs, usually now lately, you know, I’m quite comfortable. I feel like I’ve already had an amazing week no matter what happens, and you know, I can go out there and kind of freewheel it. Obviously hit two great shots and a wonderful putt to finish with.
On His Final-Round Mentality
QUESTION: If I asked you of what you are most proud this afternoon, would it be a shot or a hole or would it be a demonstration of your character?
GARCIA: Definitely demonstration of my character, and my mentality. You know, how positive I stayed even when things weren’t going that well on 10 and 11.
So even on 13, I didn’t hit that bad a drive. I’ve been hitting that drive every day like a high cut. This drive was probably going three yards left of the ones I’ve hit the other three days, and unfortunately it hit the tree and went in the bush. But even that, you know, in the past, I would have‑‑ I would have started going, you know, at my caddie, and oh, you know, why doesn’t it go through and whatever (laughter).
But you know, I was like, well, if that’s what is supposed to happen, let it happen. Let’s try to make a great 5 here and see if we can put a hell of a finish to have a chance. And if not, we’ll shake Justin’s hand and congratulate him for winning.
So I think that thatI’ve been doing very well throughout the whole week, and it’s something I need to keep improving and keep getting better at it.
On What It Means
QUESTION: I’d like to ask you, if you can put into words what this means to you, how much you wanted to win a major championship? And were there any moments during some difficult times in major championships over the last couple decades that you wondered, might I never win one?
GARCIA: To be totally honest, I mean, I’m very happy but I don’t feel any different. I’m obviously thrilled about what happened here today, but I’m still ‑‑ I’m still the same guy. I’m still the same goofy guy, so that’s not going to change.
But yeah, I mean, I think the problem is, because where my head was at sometimes, I did think about, am I ever going to win one. I’ve had so many good chances and either I lost them or someone has done something extraordinary to beat me. So it did cross my mind.
But lately, you know, I’ve been getting some good help and I’ve been thinking a little bit‑‑ a little bit different, a little bit more positive. And kind of accepting, too, that if it for whatever reason didn’t happen, my life is still going to go on. It’s not going to be a disaster. But it’s happened (smiling).
On His Reaction After Winning
QUESTION: After you had made the putt and met with Justin and at one point you crouched down and kind of banged your fist into the green, what were you thinking as the crowd is chanting your name and everything?
GARCIA: I don’t know, I was‑‑ it was just a lot of things going on through my mind. Obviously my people, my‑‑ everybody that supported me, my sponsors, my moments that unfortunately it didn’t go the way I wanted. So a lot of those things came through my mind, and some of the moments I’ve had here at Augusta that maybe I haven’t enjoyed as much and how stupid I really was trying to fight against something that you can’t fight; and how proud I was of accepting things.
And this week, I’ve done it better than I’ve ever had, and you know, because of that, I’ve looked at the course in a different way throughout the whole week.
I’m not going to lie; it’s not the golf course that I’m most comfortable in, because I’ve become more of a fader than a drawer of the ball, and this golf course is asking you to hit a lot of draws. But I knew that I could still work it around, you know, if I just accepted what was happening. So I’m very proud of that.
On Never Winning A Major
QUESTION: Justin kind of alluded to now that you were probably the best player before that had never won a major and now you don’t have to answer those questions. But what was it like since ’99 maybe or a little later when you had to deal with that on a weekly or monthly basis?
GARCIA: It’s okay. The way I tried to look at it was in a positive way. Obviously I like where I stand now better. But it’s always nice to be recognized or seen as the best player to not have won a major, because at least best player, there’s a good thing there (laughter). So that’s the way I looked at it.
Well, I don’t have to answer that anymore. Now I’ll have to answer, I don’t know if I’ll be the best player to have only won one major (laughter). But I can live with that (smiling).
On Jose Maria Olazabal’s Note
QUESTION: First of all, could you talk about the note that Olazabal gave you at the beginning of the week, and what that did to help you? And also, will you ask permission of the Club, and maybe Angela, if you can wear that jacket in the wedding?
GARCIA: (Chuckles) we were just talking about it. This one is a little bit too big (laughter). It would be nice, but no‑‑ I don’t know. We’ll get to the point when we get there.
Jose, I do have to say, it wasn’t only Jose Maria. Obviously a lot of great notes from family, friends, throughout the beginning of the week and a lot of cute and beautiful notes from my fiance were stuck in the mirror of the bathroom. All those things helped a lot.
I think that obviously Jose Maria’s was very special because he’s my idol. He’s one; him and Seve are both my golfing idols since I was very, very little. You know, what he said, he mentioned, you know, just you know what you have to do, just believe in yourself.
Obviously he did mention a couple of things that did kind of touched my heart a little bit. He said, “I’m not sharing my locker at the moment, and I hope that I get to do it with you.” So if you guys wouldn’t mind putting me with Jose, it would be great.
He’s a great man and we’ve had a great relationship for many, many years. To be able to join him and Seve as Masters champions from Spain, it’s unbelievable.
On Jon Rahm Taking The Spotlight
QUESTION: In the lead‑up to this week, Jon Rahm got an awful lot of attention. I was wondering how that was for you. Were you motivated by it? Were you happy to be sharing the spotlight? Did that come into play at all this week?
GARCIA: I was happy‑‑ I was happy for different reasons. I was happy to see another Spanish golfer doing well. I was happy to see Spain doing great. And every time a friend of mine is doing well, I’m happy.
So you know, I was very proud the way he’s been playing, and it’s nice to have‑‑ you know, when they told me that Jon, when he won in Torrey, he was‑‑ he joined Jose, Seve and myself as Spaniards to win on the PGA TOUR; I was so proud of that. Because the only thing it does is help. It helps the game; helps the game in Spain; helps the game everywhere. I was just very happy.
On Justin Rose
QUESTION: Could I just ask you about Justin’s role in the day. You’re obviously great friends and there was great sportsmanship shown out there; what Justin said to you and how much you enjoyed the duel between the two of you for the Masters?
GARCIA: It was very nice. We obviously gave each other a big hug and he said, you know, “Nobody deserved it more than you do.” So he was‑‑ he said, “I’m very happy for you. Enjoy it.”
It was a great battle. He played awesome. I played nicely, too. So you know, it was nice to be able to battle that out with him, you know, throughout the whole day.
On Most Important Shot
QUESTION: You had a lot of up‑and‑downs on the back nine today. What do you think was the most important shot that you hit on the Second Nine?
GARCIA: It’s difficult to pick one. I think that there were a lot of big shots out there for me. Obviously the par on 13 was big. But the birdie on 14; the shot on 15 was great.
So it is difficult to pick one. I think it was a combination of a lot of good things that I needed to do and I was able to do. I’m very proud that I was able to do that.
On His “Beautiful” Life
QUESTION: You told me in Austin you love horror movies. I wonder if you ever felt like you were starring in one; and it’s over now and it will be easier to win more majors in the future.
GARCIA: Not at all. Not in the least bit. Not at all. I have a beautiful life. Major or no major, I said it many, many times: I have an amazing life. I have so many people that care for me and love me and support me. I feel so nicely surrounded.
And obviously this is something I wanted to do for a long time but, you know, it never felt like a horror movie. It felt like a little bit of a drama maybe, but obviously with a happy ending.
Credit: Getty Images, ASAP Sports