A Conversation with Sergio Garcia - COPIED

By Casey BiererJanuary 12, 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

Whan details LPGA changes for 2018 and beyond

By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 8:56 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – The Race to the CME Globe’s season-long series and its big-bang finish at the CME Group Tour Championship are secured for another six years.

Tour commissioner Mike Whan announced a contract extension with CME Group through 2023 in his annual state-of-the-tour address Friday at the Tour Championship at Tiburon Golf Club.

Whan also outlined changes to next year’s tournament schedule and detailed specifics of the revamp of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament, with a new Q-School Series devised as the final stage beginning next year.

Highlights from Whan’s address:

Extending the CME Race . . .

The Race to the CME Globe, a season-long competition for a $1 million jackpot, will be played at least six more years, with Whan announcing a contract extension through 2023.

“We’re pretty excited about that,” Whan said.

The LPGA is also close to finalizing details that will keep the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship at Tiburon Golf Club.

2018 schedule will include two new West Coast events . . .

The LPGA is likely going to lose three events next year, but it will gain three new ones, leaving the tour with 34 events, including the UL International Crown. That’s the same number of events being played this year. Total prize money is expected to reach $69 million, up from the record $65 million played for this season.


CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


The Manulife LPGA Classic in Canada is off next year’s schedule, and the Lorena Ochoa Match Play also is not expected to return. The McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open is not returning, but only because it is sliding off the schedule to move up early on the 2019 schedule.

Whan said two new West Coast events are being added, and they will be positioned on the calendar next to the Lotte Championship in Hawaii, to give players more reasons to stay out west.

Whan said there’s also a new international event being added to the schedule, but details of the new events won’t be released until the full schedule is released sometime after Thanksgiving.

“I hope you’ll agree that stability and predictability haven’t always been the calling card of the LPGA, but it has been the last few years,” Whan said. “I’m proud to tell you that the revenues of the LPGA in the last five or six years are up almost 90 percent. We have added 20 title sponsors and over 20 official marketing partners in the last five or six years. Don’t know too many sports that could claim that.”

Q-School officially overhauled . . .

Whan said the LPGA Qualifying Tournament will still be played in three stages next year, but the final stage will get a makeover as the Q-School Series.

The LPGA will continue to host first and second stages, but instead of a five-round final stage, there will be an eight-round finals series, with two four-round tournaments scheduled in back-to-back weeks in the same city, with cumulative scores used over eight rounds. The new Q-Series site will be announced early next year.

A field of 108 will make the Q-Series finals, with 40 to 50 LPGA tour cards up for grabs.

The Q-Series field will be filled by players finishing 101st to 150th on the LPGA money list, players finishing 31st to 50th on the Symetra Tour money list, with up to 10 players from among the top 75 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings who don’t have LPGA membership. Also, the field will include the top five in the Golfweek Sagarin College Rankings. The rest of the field will be filled by players advancing through Q-School’s second stage, which could be anywhere from 23 to 33 players, depending how many from the world rankings and college rankings choose to go to the Q-Series.

Ryu, S.H. Park among winners at Rolex awards

By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 5:51 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – The Rolex Player of the Year and Vare Trophy winners won’t be determined until Sunday’s finish of the CME Group Tour Championship, but seven other awards were presented Thursday during the LPGA’s Rolex Awards dinner at the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort.

The awards and winners:

William and Mousie Powell Award – Katherine Kirk won an award given to the player “whose behavior and deeds best exemplify the spirit, ideals and values of the LPGA.” Kirk won the Thornberry Classic this year, her third LPGA title. “Some people ask me if I feel obligated to give back to the game,” Kirk said. “I think it’s a privilege.”

Heather Farr Perseverance Award – Tiffany Joh, who had surgery to remove a malignant melanoma earlier this year, thanked the Farr family and all those who supported Joh through her diagnosis and recovery.

“I found a great quote from Ram Dass, `We are all just walking each other home,’” Joh said. “I’ve really come to understand the value of all my relationships, no matter how fleeting or profound they seem.”

The Commissioner’s Award – Roberta Bowman, outgoing chair of the LPGA Board of Directors, was honored for her service the last six years. LPGA commissioner Mike Whan called her “my friend, my boss and my hero.” Bowman deflected the praise for her back on to the tour, thanking Whan, LPGA staff, players, sponsors, fans and the media.

“The world needs more role models for little girls,” Bowman said. “And they don’t need to look much farther than the LPGA.”

Ellen Griffin Rolex Award and Nancy Lopez Golf Achievement Award – Sandy LaBauve, who founded the LPGA-USGA Girls’ Golf program, was honored as the first person to win both these awards.

The Griffin Award honors golf teachers and the Lopez Award honors an LPGA professional who emulates the values Lopez demonstrated. LaBauve is the daughter of Jack and Sherry Lumpkin, both teachers of the game.

“This program doesn’t belong to me,” LaBauve said of LPGA-Girls’ Golf. “I merely planted the seed. The fruit belongs to all of us.”

Rolex Annika Major Award – So Yeon Ryu won the award, named for Annika Sorenstam, for the best overall performance in women’s major championships this year. She won the ANA Inspiration and tied for third at the U.S. Women’s Open.

“It’s such an honor to win an award named after Annika Sorenstam,” Ryu told Sorenstam during the presentation. “It’s a special award for me.”

Rolex Rookie of the Year Award – Sung Hyun Park won the honor, telling the audience in a message translated from Korean that she was disappointed failing to win the KLPGA’s Rookie of the Year Award and was grateful for a dream come true getting the chance to win it on the LPGA.

Def. champ Fitzpatrick grabs lead at Euro finale

By Associated Press, Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 1:50 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Defending champion Matthew Fitzpatrick shot a second straight 5-under-par 67 to secure a one-stroke lead halfway through the European Tour's season-ending Tour Championship on Friday.

At 10 under after two rounds on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estate, Fitzpatrick leads English compatriot Tyrrell Hatton, whom he beat by one shot to win the title last year.

Hatton moved into contention with a brilliant 9-under 63, a round soured only by a closing bogey on the par-5 18th hole.

In the Race to Dubai, main protagonists Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose experienced contrasting emotions to their opening rounds. Fleetwood boosted his chances by rising into a tie for 11th at 6 under after a 65. Rose endured a three-putt bogey on the 18th to finish with a 70, and dropped on the leaderboard so he's just two shots ahead of Fleetwood.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Order of Merit, stayed in contention by adding a 69 to his opening 70 to be one shot behind Fleetwood.


DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship


Fleetwood needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

Fitzpatrick made two bogeys but eagled the 14th, and five birdies contributed to his 67.

Overnight leader Patrick Reed is now three back following an even-par 72. Reed is in the field thanks to a European Tour regulation that allows the Presidents Cup to count as an official event, thus allowing him to meet his quota of tournaments played.

Fitzpatrick was helped immensely also by the 18th, where Hatton, Rose, and Reed all made bogeys. Fitzpatrick birdied the hole for a second straight day with a 25-foot putt.

''I said to my caddie, we were putting really, really well all week so far,'' Fitzpatrick said.

''The thing is, you get so many fast putts around here, even uphill into the green, they are still running at 12, 13 (on the stimpmeter) even. You've just got to be really sort of careful. Every putt is effectively a two-putt. You've got to control your pace well and limit your mistakes, because it's easy to three-putt out here.''

Rose, hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey, was disappointed with his finish despite playing solid golf from tee to green.

''To make six (on 18) just ends the day on the wrong note, but other than that, I played really well on the back nine,'' Rose said.

''I was aware of the scores and who had done what today. But listen, halfway stage, I'd probably have signed up for that if somebody said on Wednesday you would be in this position after two rounds. It's a position you can build on the weekend.''

Fleetwood resurrected his chances of winning the Order of Merit with a 65, eight shots better than his opening round. His only bogey of the day came on the seventh after an errant drive, but that was the only mistake on a solid day that saw him make eight birdies.

Fleetwood spent hours on the putting green after his first round.

''I needed a low one today for (a tournament win and the Order of Merit),'' he said. ''Luckily, I got a good score.''

Closing eagle gives Kirk 1-shot lead in RSM

By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 12:16 am

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - Chris Kirk holed an 18-foot putt for eagle on his final hole for a 9-under 63 and a one-shot lead Thursday in the RSM Classic.

Kirk played the par 5s on the Plantation Course at Sea Island Golf Club in 5 under.

''I kind of hit my putter on the fringe a little bit and I wasn't sure it was going to get there, but that was just kind of the day that it was,'' Kirk said. ''Even when I thought it wasn't quite going to work out, it still went in the middle of the hole.''

The seven lowest scores of the opening round came on the Plantation Course during a picturesque afternoon on the Golden Isles. Sporting a University of Georgia hat Thursday, Kirk won at Sea Island four years ago for the second of his four PGA Tour victories.

''It's a big Georgia territory out here on St. Simons,'' Kirk said. ''Hopefully, my hat will bring me some luck the rest of the week.''

The tournament is the final PGA Tour event of the calendar year, and Kirk is sorting out equipment changes.

''I'm still trying to get it all worked out and figure out what I want to do going forward,'' Kirk said. ''But keep shooting 9 under, so I won't have to worry about it too much.'

Joel Dahmen had a 64.


RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


''I think it played a little easier today,'' Dahmen said. ''The wind was down, greens were a little softer over here on the Plantation side. But just kept the ball in front of me and made a bunch of 8- to 10-footers.

''I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

Sea Island resident Hudson Swafford was at 65 at the Plantation along with Jason Kokrak and Brian Gay.

''I feel like I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

He played alongside fellow former Georgia players Bubba Watson and Brian Harman.

''We are right in the heart of Dawgs' territory, mine and Harman's backyard, so it's kind of nice,'' Swafford said.

Though, his caddie wore an Auburn shirt.

''We don't need to talk about that,'' said Swafford, not needing to be reminded that Auburn beat Georgia in football last week.

Nick Watney and Brice Garnett each had a 5-under 65 on the Seaside Course, which will be used for the final two rounds.

Brandt Snedeker opened with a 67 in his first return from a sternum injury that sidelined him since the Travelers in June.

Harman shot 69, and Watson had a 71.