A Conversation with Sergio Garcia

By Casey BiererMay 14, 2008, 4:00 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

Rahm, Koepka both jump in OWGR after wins

By Will GrayNovember 20, 2017, 1:19 pm

Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka both made moves inside the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings following wins in Dubai and Japan, respectively.

Rahm captured the European Tour season finale, winning the DP World Tour Championship by a shot. It was his third worldwide victory of 2017 and it allowed the Spaniard to overtake Hideki Matsuyama at world No. 4. It also establishes a new career high in the rankings for Rahm, who started the year ranked No. 137.

Koepka cruised to a nine-shot victory while successfully defending his title at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix. The victory was his first since winning the U.S. Open and it helped Koepka jump three spots to No. 7 in the latest rankings. Reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele, who finished second behind Koepka in Japan, went from 30th to 24th.

After earning his maiden PGA Tour victory at the RSM Classic, Austin Cook vaulted from No. 302 to No. 144 in the world. Runner-up J.J. Spaun jumped 48 spots to No. 116, while a hole-out with his final approach helped Brian Gay rise 73 spots to No. 191 after finishing alone in third at Sea Island.

Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas with Rahm and Matsuyama now rounding out the top five. Justin Rose remains at No. 6, followed by Koepka, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson. Rory McIlroy slid two spots to No. 10 and is now in danger of falling out of the top 10 for the first time since May 2014.

With his return to competition now less than two weeks away, Tiger Woods fell four more spots to No. 1193 in the latest rankings.

Love to undergo hip replacement surgery

By Rex HoggardNovember 20, 2017, 1:08 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Two days removed from arguably the most hectic week of his year, Davis Love III will undergo replacement surgery on his left hip.

Love, who hosted and played in last week’s RSM Classic, said he tried to avoid the surgery, but the pain became too much and he will undergo the procedure on Tuesday at the Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center in Birmingham, Ala.

“I had a hip problem the last few years, and I had a hip resurfacing trying to avoid hip surgery because I’m a chicken, but after playing [the CIMB Classic and Sanderson Farms Championship] I realized it was an uphill battle,” Love said.


RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


Love said doctors have told him recovery from the procedure will take between three to four months, but he should be able to start work on his chipping and putting within a few weeks.

Love, who missed the cut at the RSM Classic, said earlier in the week that his goal is to become the oldest PGA Tour winner and that the only way to achieve that was by having the surgery.

“Now I’m excited that I’ve crossed that bridge,” said Love, who will turn 54 next April. “Once I get over that I can go right back to the Tour. I won after a spine fusion [2015 Wyndham Championship] and now I’d like to win with a new hip. That’s the reason I’m doing it so I can get back to golf and keep up.”

LPGA awards: Ryu, S.H. Park tie for POY

By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:56 am

NAPLES, Fla. – In the end, the CME Group Tour Championship played out a lot like the entire 2017 season did.

Parity reigned.

Nobody dominated the game’s big season-ending awards, though Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park came close.

Thompson walked away with the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot and the Vare Trophy for low scoring average. If she had made that last 2-foot putt at the 72nd hole Sunday, she might also have walked away with the Rolex Player of the Year Award and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

Park shared the Rolex Player of the Year Award with So Yeon Ryu. By doing so, Park joined Nancy Lopez as the only players in LPGA history to win the Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year titles in the same season. Lopez did it in 1978. Park also won the LPGA money-winning title.

Here’s a summary of the big prizes:

Rolex Player of the Year
Ryu and Park both ended up with 162 points in the points-based competition. Park started the week five points behind Ryu but made the up the difference with the five points she won for tying for sixth.

It marks the first time the award has been shared since its inception in 1966.

Ryu and Park join Inbee Park as the only South Koreans to win the award. Park won it in 2013.


Vare Trophy
Thompson won the award with a scoring average of 69.114. Sung Hyun Park finished second at 69.247. Park needed to finish at least nine shots ahead of Thompson at the CME Group Tour Championship to win the trophy.

There were a record 12 players with scoring averages under 70.0 this year, besting the previous record of five, set last year.


CME Globe $1 million prize
Thompson entered the week first in the CME points reset, but it played out as a two-woman race on the final day. Park needed to finish ahead of Thompson in the CME Group Tour Championship to overtake her for the big money haul. Thompson tied for second in the tournament while Park tied for sixth.

By winning the CME Group Tour Championship, Jutanugarn had a shot at the $1 million, but she needed Park to finish the tournament eighth or worse and Thompson to finish ninth or worse.


LPGA money-winning title
Park claimed the title with $2,335,883 in earnings. Ryu was second, with $1,981,593 in earnings.

The tour saw a tour-record 17 players win $1 million or more this season, two more than did so last year.

Ryu came into the week as the only player who could pass Park for the title, but Ryu needed to win to do so.


Rolex world No. 1 ranking
The top ranking was up for grabs at CME, with No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Sung Hyun Park and No. 3 So Yeon Ryu all within three hundredths of a ranking point. Even No. 4 Lexi Thompson had a chance to grab the top spot if she won, but in the end nobody could overtake Feng. Her reign will extend to a second straight week.


Rolex Rookie of the Year
Park ran away with the award with her U.S. Women’s Open and Canadian Pacific Women’s Open victories among her 11 top-10 finishes. She had the award locked up long before she arrived for the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.

Ko ends first winless season with T-16 at CME

By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:07 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Lydia Ko carved a hybrid 3-iron to 15 feet and ended the most intensely scrutinized year of her young career with a birdie Sunday at the CME Group Tour Championship.

“Nice to finish the season on a high note,” Ko said after posting a 3-under-par 69, good for a tie for 16th. “Obviously, not a top-10 finish, but I played really solid. I feel like I finished the season off pretty strong.”

Ko posted two second-place finishes, a third-place finish and a tie for fifth in her last eight starts.

“Ever since Indy [in early September], I played really good and put myself in good positions,” Ko said. “I felt like the confidence factor was definitely higher than during the middle of the year. I had some opportunities, looks for wins.”

Sunday marked the end of Ko’s first winless season since she began playing LPGA events at 15 years old.

Let the record show, she left with a smile, eager to travel to South Korea to spend the next month with family after playing a charity event in Bradenton, Fla., on Monday.


CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


Much was made of Ko beginning the year with sweeping changes, with new equipment (PXG), a new coach (Gary Gilchrist) and a new caddie (Peter Godfrey).

In the final summary, it wasn’t a Ko-like year, not by the crazy high standards she has set.

She saw her run of 85 consecutive weeks at No. 1 end in June. She arrived in Naples holding on to the No. 8 ranking. She ends the year 13th on the LPGA money list with $1,177,450 in earnings. It’s the first time she hasn’t finished among the top three in money in her four full years on tour. She did log 11 top-10 finishes overall, three second-place finishes.

How did she evaluate her season?

“I feel like it was a better year than everyone else thinks, like `Lydia is in a slump,’” Ko said. “I feel like I played solid.

“It's a season that, obviously, I learned a lot from ... the mental aspect of saying, `Hey, get over the bads and kind of move on.’”

Ko said she learned a lot watching Stacy Lewis deal with her run of second-place finishes after winning so much.

“Winning a championship is a huge deal, but, sometimes, it's overrated when you haven't won,” Ko said. “Like, you're still playing well, but just haven't won. I kind of feel like it's been that kind of year.

“I think everybody has little ups and downs.”