An entertaining first round at the 2007 British Open saw Sergio Garcia tame Carnoustie Golf Links to the tune of a 65 to take the lead heading into Round 2, while Tiger Woods shot a 69 to stay in the hunt for his third consecutive British Open title.
Paul McGinley was one shot back of Garcia, while U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera continued his stellar play in majors, as his 68 left him just three shots off the lead. Here's what Garcia and Woods had to say about their rounds.
Q: Give us your feelings after that round, now you're leading The Open at the present time.
SERGIO GARCIA: Most improved, I guess. Pretty happy. I definitely didn't have the best of practice sessions on the range. I felt quite uncomfortable with the left-to-right wind. I got off to a great start. I hit two really solid shots on the first and a wonderful putt. I got my round going from there.
I managed to hit a good amount of fairways, a good amount of greens, and on the back nine I started hitting it a little closer, rolling the putts in and managed to play those last four holes on even par, which is always very nice.
Q. How happy are you about your improvement here?
SERGIO GARCIA: I really didn't think about it. I mentioned it once on the first hole to Glenn [Murray], to my caddie, when I rolled the birdie putt in. I looked at him and said, well, that's four better than last time (laughter). From then on, I didn't really think about it at all.
Like I told you at the beginning of the week, it's not about revenge for me. I just want to play solid. I just want to play a little bit like I did today, give myself good looks at birdies, not suffer too much out there on the course and put myself in a position where I can do something on Sunday.
This is a good start. It's definitely what the doctor ordered. I just hope that I can keep putting these two or three more solid rounds and have a good chance on Sunday and see where I can take it.
Q. The belly putter, was that the first time out last week for those of us who are on the American side of the pond?
SERGIO GARCIA: Yes.
Q. Give us a play-by-play on how you arrived at using a belly putter.
SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, it worked nicely today. I pretty much decided on it right after the U.S. Open. There's nothing I hate more than not being able to start the putt on line. To me, of course, making putts is great, but at least feeling like you're hitting good putts, even if you have a round where you don't make pretty much any, but at least you know you're hitting good putts and they're burning the edge and you know that you have a chance. That keeps you going.
When you start hitting the putt and as soon as you hit it, you know it doesn't have a chance of going in, it's pretty frustrating. I started putting with the belly just the week after the U.S. Open. It felt good. I felt comfortable with it.
I felt like I was rolling the ball nicely. I've been just trying to get the best routine for it to see where it feels most comfortable. And it looks like I'm starting to get it.
And I putted pretty nicely last week. I didn't really make many putts on Sunday. But at least I hit a lot of good putts. And that's the least you can ask for yourself.
Q. Before today did you think 65 was a possible score on this course?
SERGIO GARCIA: It was possible. More than anything because it rained. The course is -- I said it yesterday, I think, I think it's the best shaped links course I've ever seen. I've never seen a links course where the fairways are so pure and the greens are so good.
Q. Was it hard giving in to the belly putter, and why didn't you do it sooner than last week or just after the U.S. Open?
SERGIO GARCIA: Was it hard? I wouldn't say it was hard. It was just a matter of, like I said before, just kind of getting used to it and finding a good routine with it. But, no, it didn't feel hard at all. Why didn't I do it? I don't know.
Vijay (Singh) has been telling me for like a year or two to do it and I haven't been listening to him. Mainly because I felt, when I was feeling comfortable with the short putter, I feel really good with it. But with the short putter it seems to be very highs and lows. So I wanted to be a bit more of a flat line. I wanted to be a bit more consistent. It still feels like I can make a lot of putts with the belly.
Q. How about the conditions?
TIGER WOODS: Starting out the guys before us certainly got the worse of the weather. It was rainy, it was windy, especially when they were warming up. But it basically died down and the wind still stayed up, but it basically wasn't raining, but it also warmed up a little more.
Q. Does the course compare to '99?
TIGER WOODS: No, it doesn't compare to '99. The golf course is hard, but it's fair. I think all the players can attest to that who played in '99. I think it's a fantastic test.
Q. Tell us about the drop you took at the 10th.
TIGER WOODS: It was a weird drop. I was as surprised as anybody. Usually TV cables are movable, but they deemed it immovable. They couldn't move them out of there. So I've never seen that ruling before.
Q. Did you ask for it?
TIGER WOODS: I didn't ask for it. The guy told me I could. I've never seen a ruling like that. For a rules official to tell me they're immovable, I've never seen it before.
Q. Will you have a different strategy tomorrow after your round today?
TIGER WOODS: I don't know, it all depends on the wind. After my three practice rounds here on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and they had three different winds, today was slightly different than the other three days I played. You have to adjust to the winds and play numbers and where your ball needs to be.
Q. Gary Player made some strong implications yesterday.
TIGER WOODS: Gary who? What did he say?
Q. That he knows of one or two players firsthand that are taking steroids.
TIGER WOODS: I haven't seen anything, I haven't seen anything. This is the first I've heard of it.
Transcripts provided by ASAP Sports
July 20, 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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