Showing composure and patience often missing throughout his career, Sergio Garcia shot a near-flawless 68 to build a three-shot lead heading into the final round at 2007 British Open at Carnoustie Golf Club.
American Steve Stricker shot a sizzling 64 to move into second at 6-under, with a logjam of players tied for third, a full six shots back of Garcia. Tiger Woods, looking to win his third consecutive Open title, enters the final round eight shots back. Here's what Garcia had to say after his round.
Q: Sergio, you've got a three-shot lead. How does that feel going into the final round The Open Championship?
SERGIO GARCIA: It feels good. I've got to give it to Steve Stricker, having that round today. It feels good to have a three-shot lead. It feels good to see the way I played today, taking away two shots, and overall it's just great.
I'm looking forward to tomorrow. It's going to be a hard day but hopefully one to remember. I can't wait to start.
Q. Will you something different this time?
SERGIO GARCIA: I'm not going to do anything different. I'm going to go out there and try to play my own game, just like I've been doing every single day and just believe in myself as much as possible. That's the only thing I can do. That's what I did on Friday -- that's what I did on Thursday, that's what I did most parts of Friday and that's what I did today. The only thing I can do is control myself and that's about it. So I think if I am in control, the way I'm hitting the ball it's right there for the taking. Hopefully it will be good enough.
Q. A lot of irons on a lot of tees on a lot of long holes. What was the thinking? Was that the game plan all week or the game plan today?
SERGIO GARCIA: No, it depends. It depends on the situation. 15 I hit driver on Thursday and 3-wood yesterday, yeah. 18, I've been hitting driver every day. But the wind was different. The wind was from the left, it was an uncomfortable wind, it wasn't hurting as much. I knew I could rely on my iron play. I could rely on a good, solid 2-iron off the tee and leave myself a 4- or 5-iron to the green, hit a solid shot. Even if I don't hit the green, hit it around the right bunker or maybe in the left trap, and from there I can make four, five at the worst.
What you don't want to do is start hitting to these bunkers and get in trouble. So I was very much relying on that. And I don't have any complaints about it.
Q. Are you superstitious? You were wearing the colors of Spain today. Will you be wearing them tomorrow?
SERGIO GARCIA: I'll be stinky tomorrow, then (laughter). Yeah, it's kind of the colors of Spain, not quite. It's orange more than it is yellow. But, no, no, I love my outfit today. I really liked it since the guys at Adidas set it up for me. It was just a shame it wasn't a little bit warmer so I could show the whole thing. I had to wear the rain pants all day.
Q. Just to follow up on that, can you think of a time you felt better about your total game than you feel right now?
SERGIO GARCIA: Definitely, yes, yeah, I definitely felt better about my game than what I felt the last three days. I have been striking the ball nicely, but there's some things I still need to get better at. That's for me, though.
Q. I wonder if you could tell us, the second shot at 17. What was the club and what happened and what did you see? It looked like you walked away from that guy to compose yourself or just to get away from it?
SERGIO GARCIA: I didn't walk away from him. He had plenty of people taking care of him, I didn't want to be on top of him. I hit a 4-iron, bad 4-iron, by the way, pulled it a little bit. When I got there, probably I was about 25, 30 yards short of it, and I saw that there was a person lying down. I knew right away that I hit him. It's never a good feeling. It's never nice. I don't recommend it to anybody.
The good thing is that when I got there I shook his hand. He told me he was fine. He said -- of course he was a little shaken off and a little bit laying down. I think I hit him on the back of the neck. But he said numerous times, he said, I'm fine, don't worry about me, I'm doing okay. I signed a glove and a ball to him and shook his hand again, and I said, are you sure you're okay. He said no, I'm perfect, just worry about yourself.
And that was really nice. That was really nice. The good thing, too, was that I didn't -- I don't think I cut him. So there wasn't any blood, which always kind of shocks a little bit more. So that helped. The rest, it was just a good up-and-down.
Q. Does the new putter have a greater effect on your confidence or on the actual application of it?
SERGIO GARCIA: I think it gives me confidence on my stroke knowing that most of the times I'm going to start it where I want to. It's just a matter of getting the right read. Today the putts I missed on 13, 14 and 18, they were good putts, I just didn't see the break and obviously missed. No, it feels good. I made a couple of really nice putts early on; the one on 1 to kind of settle yourself down; the par putt on 3 was great; the par putt on 5 was great; and the birdie putt on 8. I was hitting good putts.
I maybe wasn't quite as aggressive as maybe I was the first day, but I was pretty good. I felt pretty good about it. I don't really have any complaints.
Q. You've been getting great support out there, and it sounds a bit like Ryder Cup. Can you talk about how much energy it has to have so many people shouting for you?
SERGIO GARCIA:I've said it all week long, it's been great. This country, it's always been great to me. I guess, you know, I've given them a couple of things to cheer for or about. They've always supported me like if I was one of their own.
I've never had a complaint about it. They know so much about the game. They know so much about how to behave on the golf course. It's been great. So I just -- I wanted to make a birdie on 18 just for them and to hear the roar that would have been just out of this world, but unfortunately it broke a little right.
It's been great. I'm loving it and I always have, and I'm just glad that I have a great relationship with them.
Q. When you've struggled with your putting in the past have you ever put more pressure on your long game, and if so, has that been alleviated this week now that you've been putting better?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, I definitely put more pressure on myself when my putter is not working too well. But not only on myself, I think everybody does it. When you feel like you're putting well, you don't care about missing greens, you don't care about hitting the bunker or hitting it right of the green or left of the green because you know that the percentage of you getting up-and-down is huge. So that definitely helps freeing up your mind, freeing up your swing and knowing that even if you miss the green you probably are going to make par.
I mean, I think that's what Tiger does great. Every time he hits a bad shot, he seems to get it up-and-down over and over most of the time. So that's something that helps your whole game overall.
Q. As well as your love of watching sports, you also have a lot of famous sporting friends. Have any of them been in touch with you with messages of support?
SERGIO GARCIA: I don't know. To tell you the truth I haven't looked at my phone all week long. There's too many distractions. I'll take a look at it tomorrow afternoon and start replying to some of the messages I have. I don't know if they have. I'm sure they have, but I really can't tell you.
Transcripts provided by ASAP Sports
July 23, 2007
Coming off his thrilling British Open victory over Sergio Garcia in 2007, Padraig Harrington sat down to discuss his game and his chances at the 2008 U.S. Open. "I have spent my last 10 years trying to adapt my swing to play U.S. Open golf," Harrington said. "I'd say the last two years, that and the Masters have attracted my attention more than anything else."
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