Sergio Garcia was in New Jersey working on his game in preparation for the opening round of the FedEx Cup series, the Barclay’s Championship at Plainfield Country Club. He took time out Wednesday for a brief question-and-answer session with Sports Illustrated’s Gary Van Sickle.
Before we talk about your new shoes, I was just curious. Have you ever taken the spikes out of a pair of really good golf shoes and then worn them someplace like dress shoes, the way Kevin Costner’s character in “Tin Cup” did? I have.
Did you? No, I don’t think I have. I’ve thought about it but I don’t think I have.
At least you thought about it. I respect that. I hear that you’ve switched to some new Adidas golf shoes, the Tour360 ATV model. I know they use the low-profile spikes and are supposed to be unusually flexible yet very solid. What makes these new shoes special for you?
There’s obviously different things that make them special. I’ve been wearing the Tour 360s for a couple of years. These new ones have taken things to an extreme. I love the colors-they’re a little brighter, they have more energy. At same time, with the new soles and spikes, they give you even more traction than before. They are even more stable. They did a really good job with that. With any lie, you know you’re going to be fine with these. They’re always going to be low to the ground, you don’t have to think about slipping, you can just think about the shot itself.
Did you ever think you’d know this much about shoes?
Probably not when I turned pro. As you grow up and get involved in some things to work on, they ask you for your input as a golfer and, yes, you start learning more things. It’s been fun.
I’ve got a special pop quiz just for you. Let’s see if you can do better than Luke Donald did on the quiz I gave him. He couldn’t come up “Cool Hand Luke.”
Ha-ha, a quiz for me? OK.
First question, what country hosted the 1992 Summer Olympic Games?
What year was that, 1992? I think it was Spain, wasn’t it?
The Dream Team.
That’s right. This one is tougher. There is a best-selling line of children’s books about a lovable penguin who can’t swim. What’s his name?
A penguin who can’t swim?
Yes. It’s book for kids. He’s really adorable.
[Laughing] Gee, I have no idea. Is it an American penguin or a European penguin?
Probably a European penguin because he’s got a European name.
I don’t know.
His name is Sergio.
What? [Laughs] Really?
Really. There was a Brazilian musician in the mid-60s, his group was Brasil ’66, he’s still making music today. What’s his name?
Yeah. He’s way before your time, so you probably shouldn’t know this.
It’s not like Sergio Mendes or anyone like that, is it?
It is Sergio Mendes. You’re brilliant.
In the 1980s, what was the most popular name given to Russian male babies?
Sorry, it’s Alexander. Sergei was second.
I knew you’d catch on too quick so I had to trick you. Every answer can’t be Sergio. You’re too smart. I think you’ll know this next one, because I know you follow sports. Spanish footballer Fernando Torres and baseball player Hanley Ramirez share the same nickname. What is it?
Yes, very good. There’s a flavor of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream named after a late guitarist for the Grateful Dead. What’s it called?
Is that Cherry Garcia?
Yes. You’re right again. Unbelievable. Who was the last European to win a British Amateur championship at Muirfield?
Probably Sergio Garcia. In 1988.
Correct. Yeah, that was way too easy. Here’s the last one. What is the name of the home course of the University of South Florida’s golf team.
They’re in Tampa., Their course has an unusual name that will be near and dear to your heart when you hear it.
I don’t know, actually. I’m not going to say “Sergio Garcia.” I mean, that would be stupid. What is it?
Their course is called The Claw.
The Claw? I didn’t know that one.
I had to throw that in there since you’re putting with the claw. By the way, you look good the way you’re rolling it now.
Thank you. It’s getting better.
I’ve been using the claw for five years and I’m still improving. In fact, I just qualified for the U.S. Senior Amateur in a few weeks in Richmond.
Really? In Richmond?
So keep it up with the claw. It looks good on you.
Thank you. You too.