112 years is a long time to wait. Did you ever expect to see golf at the Olympic Games?
To be totally honest, I never thought growing up that golf would be in the Olympic Games. You kind of think it would be great to be an Olympian and be a part of the Olympic Games, but you think, “ok, what sport do I have to do to get in there?” So it’s such a great experience and something that I’m never ever going to forget. To be able to be a part of the Olympic Games and call myself an Olympian.
What motivated you to compete at these Olympic Games?
I think there are so many great things going on this week. The experience is second to none. It’s something that we don’t get to experience at all as golfers. Representing my country is always a number one thing for me. I do it every week but now I get to do it on an even bigger stage this week in Rio. Having the possibility of getting to know some of the other athletes and winning a medal, that is something that is amazing.
What do you hope these Olympic Games will do for the sport itself?
You never know. I think we’ll find that out as the years go by. Hopefully it will help the game to grow even stronger all around the world, and maybe in countries where it’s not as gettable or not as known as some other countries. So that would be nice. But at the end of the day, we’re here, we’re obviously trying to win tournaments and do the best we can. But I think one of the most important things, at least for me, I feel like, I want my game to be better when I leave it than when I started. That’s the goal.
Do you feel there’s more pressure with billions of people watching?
No, I don’t think so. I think the pressure is still the same. We all play Majors and Ryder Cups and stuff like that and there is so many people watching. The pressure is just what you want to achieve. I’m sure one the first day it’s going to be like any other tournament when you’re trying to do well, you want to do well, and you have a chance of doing something amazing. So the pressure is going to be just like pretty much any other tournament.
Is there any part of your game that you’ve been working on in the lead-up to Rio?
No, not really. At the end of the day, you have to work on every single aspect of your game because it does look like the course is a little bit wide on the tee. It’s more premium on second shots into the greens and around the greens and on the greens. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to drive at all well, because if you drive the ball badly then you’re making those shots to the green even tougher. So every part of the game is important and so that’s what I’m working on.
How does it feel to be here in Rio?
It’s my first time in Brazil, and obviously first time in Rio. It is a great experience. It is a little bit different but I’m enjoying every minute of it. I’m getting to see a little bit of what’s happening around here in Rio and around the country and also getting to see some of the other events and some of the other athletes compete live. Obviously I’ll watch some on TV, but to have the possibility of watching some live is amazing.
How is the atmosphere within the Spanish team? Have you spent much time together?
It’s been great in getting to know some of the guys from the Spanish team. Some I’ve watched on TV and some I didn’t know before. It is awesome to have the chance to know them and get to speak with them a little bit. And also, I found out that a lot of them are golf fans. So it’s quite cool.
Any particular events that you think Spain might do well in?
You never know but I think we’ve got a medal in swimming already and I think basketball has a chance if we play nicely. I’m really hoping we do something good in golf. Tennis maybe. And then you have some other athletes like track and field, maybe the long distance marathon or 10km runs, things like that. Hopefully we’ll be able to collect some nice medals.
The Ryder Cup is coming up later in the year. What are your expectations for that tournament?
I’m excited. The team is not finalised yet but it looks like I have a really good chance of making it if nothing extraordinary happens. But I’m excited about it. I love the Ryder Cup, everyone knows that. It’s always a pleasure to come back and join the European team. And to go for four in a row, I don’t think we’ve ever done it, but that would be great.
How do you like your new OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean?
It’s awesome. It’s a nice little present from OMEGA. Planet Ocean with my name engraved on the back and Rio 2016. It’s another one of those little things that is making this experience amazing and is going to make my memories of these Olympic Games even bigger.
What do you think of OMEGA HOUSE?
It looks awesome. It’s great. I think OMEGA has done an amazing job. The way it looks. The walls with all the parts of watches. It just looks really really sharp. Pretty much what you’d expect from OMEGA.
Close up: The Omega Golf Ball with Sergio Garcia is a big hit at Omega House in Rio
The Olympic Games celebrations continued at OMEGA HOUSE in Rio on Monday night as the iconic Swiss watchmaker hosted “The OMEGA Golf Ball”. With golf returning to the Olympic Games after an absence of 112 years, this was the perfect moment for OMEGA to reinforce its global connection with the sport as well as its role as Official Timekeeper of Rio 2016.
It was a night of sport as the doors were opened to special VIP guests including OMEGA ambassador Sergio Garcia. His appearance attracted a number of athletes and their families, Rio socialites and important VIPs including Brazilian actor Rodrigo Lombardi and PGA Chief Championships Officer, Kerry Haigh.
Just like four years ago in London, OMEGA HOUSE in Rio is becoming popular with victorious Olympians who are eager to celebrate their success in style. Sergio himself was keen to mix and posed for photos with a queue of fans.
The golf theme was in full swing throughout the night with a green carpet that lined the entrance hall. This led to the OMEGA HOUSE waterfall, always popular for selfies, where golden golf balls were scattered all around. A “19th hole” flag was also positioned at the bar to ensure that guests were well refreshed.
OMEGA’s passion for golf is a vital part of its brand identity and the famous watchmaker’s name is associated with some of the sport’s best events and players. There are also strong partnerships with the PGA of America and the Ladies European Tour.
Before he steps onto the greens this week, Sergio Garcia spoke about the importance of golf’s return to the Olympic Games and also his motivation to play in Rio. “One of the most important things, at least for me, is leaving the game better than when I started. Hopefully the Olympic Games will help the game grow even stronger all around the world. It’s also such a great experience and something that I’m never ever going to forget.”
Of course, the player primarily has victory in mind. “At the end of the day, we’re here to win a tournament and do the best we can. This is something that we don’t usually get to experience as golfers. So the possibility of winning a medal is amazing.”
The OMEGA Golf Ball at OMEGA HOUSE is a notable highlight on August’s celebration calendar. With golf returning to the Olympic Games for the first time since 1904, OMEGA has several brand ambassadors competing in the event. Along with Sergio Garcia, these include Stacy Lewis of the USA, ShanShan Feng of China and Charley Hull of Great Britain.
President and CEO of OMEGA, Raynald Aeschlimann, gave his thoughts while chatting alongside Sergio at the event. He said, “To be here at OMEGA HOUSE tonight, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate golf’s return to the Olympic Games. We’ve been helping to grow the game for a number of years and an event like this is truly special for us. I’m sure our brand ambassadors will be doing their best to claim a medal. I can’t wait to see them tee off.”
Sitting right by the sands of Ipanema Beach, OMEGA HOUSE is keeping crowds entertained long into the night on every day of these Olympic Games. The members-only club has been created around the pillars of the OMEGA brand and is proving to be one of the most unique and popular nightspots in the city.