Last year's masterful achievements may be hard to top for 38-year-old Sergio Garcia. But with new clubs in his bag, a new wife, and a new baby on the way, 2018 is shaping up to be epic, indeed.
You had quite a year in 2017: a green jacket and a wedding. So far, what's been the best thing about being married?
Getting to spend pretty much every day of my life with [my wife, Angela]. She's a great woman. Obviously, she loves me very much, and I love her very much, too. But more than anything, she's just very smart and driven — and very good-looking — which makes me try a little bit harder as well.
You two are expecting your first child very soon. What has the anticipation been like?
Baby girl Garcia is coming in March, so it's a very exciting time for us — we're really looking forward to being parents. It's something we've both wanted for a long time, and now it's suddenly right around the corner. I'm sure it'll be an amazing experience.
Are you already picturing Angela carrying your little girl around the grounds of Augusta National?
Well, she's going to be born very close to Augusta week, so hopefully everything goes well and they can come out and watch me defend my title. But it'll probably be touch and go. As we get closer to the date, we'll know if they'll be able to come or not.
Sounds like it's going to be an exciting spring for the Garcia family.
Yeah, very much so. With the baby on the way, the start of the new season, and the preparation I have to do for Augusta, we've both been very busy. And of course it's a Ryder Cup year, too, so 2018 could turn out to be another really memorable year.
Another big change for 2018 involves the clubs in your bag. You've elected to play Callaway equipment after being on the TaylorMade staff for over a decade, a big chunk of your career. How has the transition gone so far?
I'm excited to join the Callaway family. Obviously, when you've been with another company for as long as I was, you're a little nervous about how it's going to go. But it's been really easy. The feeling and the feedback have been great, and the change — all 14 clubs at the moment — has been quite straightforward overall.
Some of the clubs have already been in the bag for a while, right?
I've been playing the Odyssey Toulon Garage putter, the Atlanta [Proto], for about three months now. I'm really happy with it and have been rolling the ball very nicely. I was able to win the Valderrama Andalucía Masters, my tournament in Spain, at the end of October with it, so that was exciting.
Take us through the rest of your bag.
We've got the Mack Daddy 4 wedges, with the C grind and the raw finish. I've been playing the 58-degree for a while now; I had it in Valderrama. I love the consistency, and not only on the fairway — you get a little bit more spin, which is really nice. I feel like my ability to chip out of the rough has improved so much. I can tell that the ball is coming out more consistently and a little bit more firmly than it was before — that used to be more of a guessing game.
How about the irons?
I have these really cool, good-looking Apex Musclebacks. I'm very happy with them. They look unbelievable, they feel great, and I'm finding that I can get a nice trajectory with them. Even when I'm hitting into the wind, I can still get the ball down nicely. And obviously I'm also very excited about the new Callaway Rogue woods coming out. Five-wood, 3-wood, driver — that's the setup I've had pretty much my whole career.
Did you learn anything specific as you were being tested for the new equipment?
I'm getting a little bit more ball speed, which is great, but at the same time the clubs are very forgiving. I'm really excited to get going and to put them in play. It's going to be a hell of a lot of fun.
Now that you've won the Masters, will you approach it differently this time around?
Honestly, I don't know. But I think I'll find out as soon as I get there — driving through the gates as a Masters champion will be different. I'm excited to see how that feels. I'm very proud of myself for being able to win there. It's been an honor, and I'll try to carry the title as well as I can.
I heard you shared a special moment with your father after your win at Augusta last year. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
Well, obviously, we were all very excited, and my dad especially because of all the work we've put in together for so many years. But maybe two or three weeks after the win, we were back in Spain — I was taking a little bit of time off to relax. It was our first day back practicing — we went to the range to hit some balls and to try to work a bit on my game. As I left the range and headed over to the putting green, I turned around, looked at him, and said, "Dad, we won the Masters." And I just started crying. It was a very touching moment. Obviously, he started crying, too. And he got so excited. "I'm sorry," he started saying. "I'm sorry I'm crying." And I was like, "No, no, no, it's totally fine. It's amazing. And we've worked so hard for it, so enjoy it." It's nice to see that kind of reaction from your dad.
That's a really human moment there, and special recognition for what your achievement means to the family.
I know how much my dad has always wanted me to not only do well in my golf career, but to really enjoy what I do. I know how much that means to him. This was one of those moments that just happened — and it felt really amazing.
ONE THING I KNOW FOR SURE: BEING MARRIED HAS ITS PERKS
When it comes to on-course performance, there's definitely something beneficial about settling down and being a newlywed. I think most people prefer not to be alone. It's nice to have someone you love next to you — to share things with and have a great time with. All these things help you relax and be more at ease with yourself.