The press won’t let it go away, and why should they? The story from the Players Championship should have been Tiger Woods victory, but the focus has been about an incident in which Tiger Woods called Sergio Garcia a “whiner”.
On May 11th, at the beginning of the third round of the Players, Woods and Garcia were paired. On the par 5 second hole, Woods hit his tee shot far left into the tree line. Garcia was ahead of Woods on the right, and in the fairway. A distance of at least 50 yards separated them. As Garcia prepared to hit his second shot, Woods was making a decision, deciding which club to use. As Garcia was finishing his swing, a loud murmuring occurred in the area where Woods was preparing for his second shot. He had taken a fairway wood out of his bag, signifying he would attempt a challenging shot. Garcia’s ball ended up to the right, and not as far as he had intended. He glanced in Woods’ direction with a look of disgust.
In post round interviews, each man had his say, and the enmity that has existed between the two stars has obviously not eased with time.
Garcia accused Woods of purposely inciting the gallery, and thereby ruining his second shot.
Woods called Garcia a whiner, and claimed that the tournament Marshalls had informed him that Garcia had completed his second shot when he selected his club.
At first, Woods’ claim was unconfirmed, but days later two Marshalls did confirm the situation.
Monday, in an interview at the Congressional Country Club to promote the upcoming AT&T National, which benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation, he was asked if he had “buried the hatchet” with Garcia. He gave a one word answer, “No”. Woods will defend his title the June 27-30.
After the press conference ended, he elaborated: “Obviously, the matter has been put behind me. The truth came out,” Woods told USA TODAY Sports about the incident with Garcia. “As I was saying the entire time, I told people what I had heard and what had happened.”
Garcia today in Wentworth, England, prior to the start of the BMW PGA Championship:
“He [Woods] called me a whiner. He’s probably right. But that’s also probably the first thing he’s told you guys that’s true in 15 years. I know what he’s like. You guys are finding out.”
The only way to be certain whether or not the incident affected either player, was to watch their play on the second hole, and the remaining 16. They ended up tied for the lead at the end of the day.
Fortunately, for both of them, the rules separated them on the final day. Woods was playing ahead of Garcia, who was in the final group. The round was competitive until Woods hit a ball into the water on the 15th, and reduced his lead to but a single shot.
Garcia watched Woods par the famous 3 par 17th at the TPC Sawgrass course. As Garcia selected his club of choice, he appeared, at least to me, uncertain. His shot was short of the green, and landed in the water. He didn’t like the “drop” area, so he hit again from the tee area. His ball landed in the water again, taking him out of contention.
The unpleasant relationship between Woods and Garcia began in 1999. I don’t believe there will be any improvement in the near future.
The Guardian Express