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Garcia signs endorsement deal

Adidas-Salomon AG announced Tuesday that a multi-year agreement with Sergio Garcia. Dubbed El Niño ("The Kid") by European fans, the 19-year-old native of Spain recently tied for third place in the GTE Byron Nelson Classic held last month in Irving, Texas.

"He has a no-miss sign right on his forehead," veteran golfer Lee Trevino said about Sergio the day after the Byron Nelson. "There is no denying this kid."

Sergio will wear adidas performance golf apparel and footwear in competition. Adidas also plans to feature Garcia in an international golf marketing campaign later this year and in the spring of 2000. Sergio joins Ernie Els, currently fourth on the world rankings list, in endorsing adidas Golf products.

Reflecting on his familiarity with the adidas brand, Sergio says, "I have loved sport all of my life and played tennis and soccer in adidas footwear and apparel."

Sergio began golfing at the age of three. His father, Victor, was a golf pro at Mediterraneo Club de Golf in Spain, where he remains the club pro. By the age of eight, Sergio was hitting with adult clubs, and at age 12 he won the club championship.

At 13 he was a scratch golfer, and at 15, he emerged as the European Amateur Champion, French Amateur champion, British Boys champion and U.S. Amateur Semifinalist. Sergio's win at the British Amateur in 1997 qualified him for the 1999 Masters where he finished with a 73 and earned the silver cup for the Master's low amateur.

In his short but accomplished golf career, Sergio has won more than 70 amateur events and played in 30 pro events including a victory at the Catelonian Open in 1997 while still an amateur.

After a year ranked as the world's best amateur, Garcia turned professional at this year's Peugeot Open de España where he finished tied for 25th.