TPC Marshals Support Tiger Woods in Feud with Sergio Garcia

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistMay 15, 2013

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 11:  Tiger Woods of the USA and Sergio Garcia of Spain stand on the 11th tee during round three of THE PLAYERS Championship at THE PLAYERS Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 11, 2013 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

While last week's Players Championship should have been all about Tiger Woods' fourth victory of the young PGA Tour season, it has become about Woods' feud with Sergio Garcia more than anything.

Even more information came to light Wednesday, and it may very well exonerate Tiger from any wrongdoing.

Woods and Garcia have had a contentious relationship for quite some time, but things reached another level during the third round of the Players Championship. The two were paired together and Garcia hit a poor shot on the second hole. He later blamed it on Woods pulling a club out of his bag and eliciting a reaction from the fans.

Woods' integrity has been questioned as TPC marshals disputed his claim that he was told that Garcia had already hit his ball. Two additional marshals are now coming to Tiger's defense, however.

According to Garry Smits of The Florida Times-Union, Woods was indeed told by a marshal that Garcia had already hit his ball. The only thing Woods is guilty of, the marshals say, is mistaking the sequence of events.  

TPC marshal Brian Nedrich claims that he told Woods that Garcia had already hit his ball after fellow marshal Lance Paczkowski told fans to quiet down since Garcia had not played his ball yet.

"That’s when I yelled back at Lance, ‘No ... he’s already hit,’" Nedrich said. "Tiger had already taken his club, but we did tell him that Sergio had hit."

If what Nedrich said is true, Woods still committed the "transgression" of pulling the club out of his bag, but he didn't lie about being told that Garcia had taken his shot. Nedrich doesn't blame Woods for mixing up the details due to everything that was happening at the time.

There was a lot going on, as usual, when Tiger plays, Nedrich said. Then, he’s trying to have the concentration he needs to win a tournament. It’s easy to get small details out of whack when things happen so fast. It was an unfortunate incident and I don’t think either player is to blame.

This revelation comes on the heels of marshals John North and Gary Anderson definitively saying that they never told Woods that Garcia had taken his shot, according to Michael Bamberger of Sports Illustrated.

North was particularly critical of Woods as he called his character into question.

Nothing was said to us and we certainly said nothing to him, North said. I was disappointed to hear him make those remarks. We’re there to help the players and enhance the experience of the fans. He was saying what was good for him. It lacked character.

Many seemed quick to criticize Woods once North and Anderson spoke out, but now there is even more to consider. Nedrich did indeed tell Woods that Garcia had hit, but Woods had already executed the supposedly distracting act of taking his club out of his bag before that.

Observers will continue to argue about Woods' integrity regardless of what information comes out, but Woods seems happy to have won the second Players Championship of his career no matter what his detractors say.

Provided Garcia is able to bounce back from his collapse during the tournament's final two holes, perhaps this isn't the last that golf fans have seen of Woods and Garcia together on the course in 2013. 


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