Showing grit and a newly found putting ability, Sergio Garcia overcame a rough start to put together a solid second round of 71 to maintain his lead heading into the weekend at the 2007 British Open at Carnoustie Golf Club. Garcia hit an errant drive on his first hole, but using a new belly putter, made the putts he needed to maintain a two-shot lead over K.J. Choi.
Tiger Woods also started poorly, hitting his first shot of the day into the water, and the two-time defending champion never fully recovered, posting a 74 leaving him seven shots back of the lead. Here is what Garcia, Woods and Choi had to say afterward:
Q: Is that what you were looking for after yesterday?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, I was hoping for a little bit better than what I did. But that was not a bad round. Every time you shoot on a difficult course, on an Open Championship, you shoot an under-par round or an even-par round, you know you're not too far away. I'm happy with the result overall. It was more of a grinder's day today. But overall still pretty happy about it.
Q. It was a miracle recovery on the first?
SERGIO GARCIA: I hit a really good chip there. I wasn't really going to try to go that much at the pin, because I had quite a bad lie. So I was just thinking try and hit it 10, 12 feet right of the hole and see if you can start with a good, solid putt and make a good par. But the club just got tangled a little bit in the high grass and when I saw the way the ball came out I thought this could be really good. When I saw how it bounced I knew it was going to be close. It was a great save to start with.
Q. Obviously there's more golf to be played out there today, but if you are on the halfway lead, how comfortable are you with that and how do you feel you're suited to handle that?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, we'll see. I guess it's just a matter of waiting and see what happens. But I'd rather be leading than being eight shots back, that's for sure, because you don't feel like you have to push your game to the limit all the time. So I'm pretty happy the way I'm standing right now. Today, it was a nice day for me. I knew that everything -- all the eyes were looking at me. It was good to still post a good, solid round and keep myself up there.
Q. When are you going to win your first major? Is that a big issue?
SERGIO GARCIA: I'm always going to say the same thing. I'm not bothered. I don't really care. I'm trying, I can tell you that. I'm trying to win. I'm trying to win as many majors as I can. I'm trying to give myself good options and good looks at winning majors. That's all I can do. Sometimes you play well and you still don't win, and some of the times you don't play maybe as well and you manage to win. Last year I managed to shoot 23 under in the last two majors and didn't win. What can you do? Sometimes you just got to give it up for the guy that does it and there's nothing else you can do, just keep trying.
Q. Now that the ball is going in the hole more consistently, has it freed you up and taken pressure off all parts of your game and played more easily?
SERGIO GARCIA: I think it definitely does. Golf is a funny game and when you're struggling with your short game it does put a lot of pressure on your long game, because in the back of your mind you're thinking, you know, don't miss the green, because if you miss the green you're going to be trying to make bogey. So it does put extra pressure. When your short game is on it's easier to kind of loosen up. Even if you hit a loose shot here and there you're thinking, it's no problem, I'm going to get up-and-down and I'm just going to keep going the right way. So it does play a little bit in your head. It definitely helps if it's going the right way.
Q. That was fun, huh?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, that was certainly interesting. 1-over par for the tournament, but still not out of it.
Q. How do you think you played today?
TIGER WOODS: I didn't play all that great today, no. I hit a lot of poor shots, but hung in there. I could have easily shot myself right out of the tournament today but I kept myself right in there. With the weather coming in tomorrow I need to, obviously, get organized for tomorrow, because tomorrow more likely will probably be a pretty tough day.
Q. Your tee shot on the first obviously didn't help. Did it set a pattern for the way you played?
TIGER WOODS: Not at all. I just said basically -- yesterday I made three bogeys and shot 2-under par. So obviously I made two on the first hole. I've still got one yet. I can still shoot 2-under par for the day. It's not like you don't make bad swings in Major championships, that's part of the deal. The whole idea was not to make anything worse than six, and I didn't do that. I got one back the next hole. So it was all good.
Q. You had a smile on your face, didn't you?
TIGER WOODS: It was such a poor shot because the commitment wasn't there. If I hit a low one like I've been practicing on the range, for the first tee, I can run the ball in the right bunker. So then all of a sudden I throw this ball up in the air a little bit, I wasn't really committed to throw the ball up in the air, and didn't back up, I hit the shot and I hit a poor shot. So it was basically a lack of commitment on the golf shot and a poor result.
Q. Coming from behind, are you happy at all with the weather that's coming in?
TIGER WOODS: This golf course is not playing difficult -- I'm sorry, it is playing difficult. It's not going to be playing any easier this weekend, so you're just going to have to go out there and grind it out and try and stay away from big mistakes. We played on Monday and obviously in a pretty good gale and wind, and it was pretty hard. We'll see if it's anything like that on Monday.
Q: When you came to Carnoustie at the beginning of the week did you think at this stage you'd be in second place at the Open Championship?
K.J. CHOI: No, I didn't think I'd be in this spot today going into the weekend, but I did feel a lot more comfortable because I had come here back in '99. So knowing this course, it wasn't a first time, so I felt a little more comfortable and I just -- that's why I think I'm playing better this year.
Q. You made the turn today at even par and usually the early holes are when people do all their damage. I wonder what your frame of mind was coming out of the front nine and how you got yourself going on the most difficult side of the course?
K.J. CHOI: Making the turn, I think the 10th hole was a very difficult par, so I think that was a key point. Back nine, because I wasn't putting well on the front nine, I anticipated my putting was going to improve in the back nine. In the front nine, I hit a lot of good shots but I had to lay up. I had a few three-putts, but in the back nine I was -- I thought I would recover well and I think I shot better.
Q. Can you tell us a little bit your memories of Carnoustie in 1999, I think the third round when you played with Paul Lawrie?
K.J. CHOI: Back in 1999 my shots were very weak in the wind. So when I played with Paul I actually learned a lot with him playing with him because I saw how Paul used the ball -- used the wind to work for him. So I think it was a good lesson for me. Coming into this week I knew how to use the wind to my advantage.
Q. You played the course yesterday in very different conditions to what you did today. What sort of conditions will be you hoping for over the weekend?
K.J. CHOI: My caddie, Andy, always tells me that you never know what you're going to get with the Scottish weather. So he always advises that I prepare myself for any condition that may come. So whatever the weather is going to be I'll be prepared.
Q. With you having won three times in the past year now, do you look in the mirror and see a different player and did you in the past feel like you were ready to win a Major championship?
K.J. CHOI: No, I've never really thought of that. I believe that athletes, golfers, professional golfers, should always be striving to improve themselves. Golfers are like entertainers, they're out to entertain the fans, the gallery, and I think in order to display good shots, good performance, all I think about is just how I can improve myself.
Transcripts provided by ASAP Sports
July 21, 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."
... full article »