A Conversation with Padraig Harrington - COPIED

By Casey BiererJanuary 20, 2009, 5:00 pm

Editors Note: Sergio Garcia started playing golf when he was three years old. The Spaniard won his club championship when he was twelve. His father, Victor, is his teacher and has played in eight career Champions Tour events. Sergio Garcia's first victory on the European Tour, the Catalonian Open Championship, came as an amateur. Sergio Garcia turned professional in 1999. Seven PGA TOUR victories, eleven international victories and a Ryder Cup impact matched by few others ' a 14-4-2 record, greatness in the young Spaniard has always been present. There have been doubters over the years - can Sergio win the big one - but never self-doubt. And now, after nine years as a professional, at twenty eight years of age, Sergio Garcia is THE PLAYERS champion.
 
Golf Channel business reporter Casey Bierer conducted this exclusive interview on Tuesday, April 29, 2008 at the Wachovia Championship.

 
Casey / Q:
Sergio, how would you define innovation in golf equipment?
 
Sergio / A:
I guess innovation comes with technology and obviously new things that you bring out that look good and that perform. And, I think that's one of the key aspects of TaylorMade-adidas Golf. You know, they're always trying to make new equipment that of course looks good and feels good, but, at the same time, that it works and helps you become a better player. So, that's always a very important thing.
 
Casey / Q:
When you think of the TaylorMade brand, what comes to mind?
 
Sergio / A:
I think different things come to mind. But, one of them is quality. And, as you said, innovation and technology. Those are things that come to mind. And, also the drive that everybody at the company has to try to keep getting better and better. TaylorMade never rests on what theyve done. They are always working hard to keep improving their products.
 
Casey / Q:
How do you feel as a player being part of this staff ' the TaylorMade-adidas Golf tour staff?
 
Sergio / A:
Oh, it's great for me. You know, I've been a part of this staff since 2002 and it's been a great thrill throughout my career. And, I think that every time you're involved with one of the best companies in your sport it's something that you should always be proud of.
 
Casey / Q:
Being with the company as long as you have, how have you seen things evolve and change?
 
Sergio / A:
I think it's changed, definitely, quite a bit. And for the good. You know we have always had great woods. I think they've done a lot of work of course trying to get those even better. But they have also worked so hard on their irons and on the wedges. And they have worked so hard on their putters as wellthey have the new Spider putter now. And the ball ' the new TP LDP ball is fantastic. And its not just TaylorMade. adidas also has improved a lot since early 2000. So, I think the whole package of the TaylorMade-adidas brand has evolved to a level that is making it hard to reach for everybody else.
 


 

Casey / Q:
You have been very vocal about being a big fan of TaylorMades metal woods. What do you like so much about them?
 
Sergio / A:
I think the package is great. They look good, they feel good, they play consistently well. And that consistency is so important. I always feel like I know where the ball is going. It doesnt always go exactly where I want it to but if it doesnt I know it is me and not the club. TaylorMade always comes with new ideas and things that can help you get better on your game. Not only us TOUR players, but, you know, also the amateurs. I think the feelthe feel that the TaylorMade metal woods have, it's just better. You can still work the ball which is always nice for a player like myself, but, I can still really bomb the ball as well. So, you know, I think that whole package of their metal wood line is just fantastic.
 
Casey / Q:
You were playing the SuperQuad for quite some time and you recently switched to the Tour Burner. How does the Tour Burner perform differently than the SuperQuad?
 
Sergio/ A:
The look is a little bit different. I like the look since they first showed it to me. I feel like, you know, I can work the ball a little easier than maybe some of the drivers Ive used in the past. The Tour Burner definitely doesn't spin the ball quite as much as maybe the SuperQuad that I used to play. So, overall I still manage to maneuver the ball without getting as much climb on my drives as I did before. And with that and the launch angle and everything else Im probably hitting the ball a little longer than I have been the last year or so. Im just driving it better with the Tour Burner.
 


 

Casey / Q:
Lets talk about the golf ball. You are liking Dean Snell right about now, arent you?
 
Sergio / A:
He's done a great job, really.
 
Casey / Q:
What are your thoughts on the new LDP ball?
 
Sergio / A:
Yeah, Dean Snell and the whole TaylorMade ball groupI think they've worked really hard in the past probably 3 or 4 years - extremely hard - to try to make a good consistent ball. I think it is without a doubt the best wind ball there is out here on TOUR. It performs really, really well in the wind. I feel like I can keep it low and usually hit it farther than the other guys into the wind, mainly with the irons. I think they've done a very good job there. Also, it performs very well around the greens. It's got a good, nice soft feel but it still goes a good distance and, you know, you can also get a nice ball speed off the driver as well. So, I think the TP Red LDPit's definitely a wonderful ball. I think for me it's the best one out there.
 


 

Casey / Q:
Lets shift gears and talk about adidas. What stands out to you most about the footwear?
 
Sergio / A:
adidas on the footwear side has always been very good. They've always made a innovative shoe. A comfortable shoe that made you feel good on the course that performed that when you finish a round you don't feel like your feet are killing you or anything like that which is always important. We walk so much playing golf and my feet never hurt. I think this year with the new Tour 360 Limited, I think they've done an amazing job in the way it looks. I think everything else about the shoeit's up to even higher standards than before with the original Tour 360. On comfort and being low to the ground and stability and traction. But, you know, I just love the look of the new shoe. I think it looks very, very cool. I think it's probably the best looking shoe adidas has ever made and, you know, I'm very happy to be able to wear them.
 


 

Casey / Q:
Talk about why its so important to be well grounded in your stance and how your power works from the ground up.
 
Sergio / A:
Yeah, definitely. I think the closer you are to the ground the better it is to control your strike and control your balance when you hit the ball. This becomes a lot more important than people might think. So, the closer to the ground you are the better your balance is, the better your strike is, and you know usually it's going to work better for you. Also, one thing I found out with this new Tour 360 Limited, is that when you walk on a cart path or out in the parking lot or on any paved surface, you don't feel the spikes going up through the sole of your feet. And that is important to me because I am always going from soft surfaces to hard surfaces and back and forth and the shoe always feels consistent and comfortable.
 
Casey / Q:
You also wear adidas apparel. Apparel has become an important part of your equipment arsenal, hasnt it?
 
Sergio / A:
You know, it definitely has. For me it has become just as important as any other piece of my equipment. The ClimaCool clothes make you feel comfortable and make you feel good. I think breathable clothes that adidas makes that keep you cool when its hot and warm in the coldeverything to keep your body at a good temperature and make sure that it doesn't go up and down too muchthis is very important. Also, with some of the new material coming out ' the new PowerWeb they are coming out with ' it actually helps you keep your posture nice and straight and keep a nice posture throughout the whole round of golf. And I think the new PowerWeb material might even help prevent some injuries because you are getting support from the material and you can control your body a little easier. So, for me, the adidas apparel has become very important. And lets face it, they make great looking stuff too so that doesnt hurt either.
 


 

Casey / Q:
Sergio, we talked some about the Tour Burner driver you are playing now. What do you like to see in a fairway wood?
 
Sergio / A:
I think in the fairway wood it is very important how it looks to me. Looks are very important to make sure that when you put a club down you like what you see. Then it's got a good feel to it when you're hitting the ballmake sure that you can feel the ball coming off the face and you can do more or less anything you want to do with the ball. Because I have to be able to work the ball effortlessly with the fairway wood. I need to hit big draws and big cuts at will and I need to be able to hit it out of the rough as well. So how it sets up on the ground is very important and I think TaylorMade does a great job with the design of their fairway woods. I hit them extremely well and I have a lot of confidence with them.
 
Casey / Q:
A lot of amateurs are still carrying long irons instead of rescue clubs. Should they be thinking of switching to rescue clubshybrid clubs?
 
Sergio / A:
You know, for usfor a TOUR playera 2-iron or a 3-iron or a 4-iron might not look too difficult to hit. But, even here on TOUR a lot of guys are carrying rescue clubs instead of maybe a 2-iron or a 3-iron. And you can imagine for an amateur how difficult it must be standing over a shot with a 2-iron or a 3-ironhow difficult it must be to hit off tight lies and maybe the rough and stuff like that. Those shots are even tough for TOUR players with long irons. So, for amateurs, even good amateurs, it must be very difficult. You know, the rescue clubs have a lower center of gravity and the weight is moved farther away from the face so it is easier to get the ball up in the air. They make it a little bit easier to hit out of those tight lies and maybe out of a bunker, maybe a little bit of rough, you know, mainly because it works a little bit more like a wood which gives you a little bit more of forgiveness. I think that's probably why some of the amateurs should go and try the rescues and maybe realize that everybody is trying to make the game a little bit easier ' certainly TaylorMade is - so the amateur shouldn't make the game any harder for themselves than it already is, right? Its a pretty tough game already. And the bottom line is that rescue clubs are easier to hit.
 


 

Casey / Q:
Sergio, thanks for your time.
 
Sergio / A:
Casey, my pleasure. Thank you.
 
Email your thoughts to Casey Bierer

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.