Tiger Woods vs. Sergio Garcia Feud Tells a Tale of Two Careers

Michael FitzpatrickFeatured ColumnistMay 22, 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

If there was ever a perfect example of the differences between Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods, it is this current on-going feud between the two star golfers.

This entire ordeal began on the second hole during round three of the Players Championship.

Woods had pulled his tee shot into the left rough while Garcia had found the fairway. While Garcia was in the middle of his swing, Woods, who was more than 50 yards away and whose line of sight towards Garcia was completely blocked by the gallery, pulled out a club which then caused some members of the gallery to cheer during Garcia’s downswing.

The cheering apparently distracted Garcia who pushed his second shot on the par-five into the right rough and would eventually bogey the hole.

During a rain delay later that afternoon, Garcia would say “Well, obviously Tiger was on the left and it was my turn to hit. He moved all the crowd that he needed to move, I waited for that. You do have a feel when the other guy is going to hit and right as I was in the top of the back-swing, he must have pulled a wood and everybody started screaming. So that didn't help very much... I think that I try to respect everyone as much as possible out there. I try to be careful what I do to make sure it doesn't bother the other players.”

Following their round, Woods responded to Garcia’s accusations by saying “Well, the marshals, they told me he already hit, so I pulled a club and was getting ready to play my shot, and then I hear his comments afterwards and not real surprising that he's complaining about something.”

Garcia then immediately fired back at Woods by saying “That's fine.  At least I'm true to myself.  I know what I'm doing, and he can do whatever he wants.”

The next day, Woods would go out and win the Players Championship while Garcia, who was tied for the lead with Woods after 16 holes, pulled a Tin Cup by hitting two balls into the water on 17 and another into the water on 18, finishing his round off with a quadruple bogey followed by a double bogey.

Garcia’s finish at the Players Championship was arguably the most epic collapse in the 40 years history of this prestigious event.

Woods calmly accepted his trophy, spoke with the media and didn’t even really acknowledge Garcia’s existence after the round; while at the same time Garcia told the media that he was “the victim” in the this petty little feud.   

This is the first area where these two men differ greatly from one another.

Woods accepts responsibility for what he does on the golf course while Garcia constantly feels as if he is a victim and the world is out to get him.

Garcia even went as far as to blame the golf gods for his loss at the 2007 Open Championship at Carnoustie, which was half comical but at the same time shocking when it became evident that there was absolutely no comical twist to his absurd assertion that the golf gods were to blame for his playoff loss to Padraig Harrington.  

Winning a major championship is always a very difficult task, but it becomes just that much more difficult when a player enters the event with the mindset that everyone from the fans to the officials to the golf gods are somehow out to get him and he is just a tragic victim in it all.

Most thought that this childish feud between Woods and Garcia was over after the Tour left TPC Sawgrass two weeks ago.  My how we were wrong.

Garcia has continued to drag this thing on for two weeks now.

Yesterday at the BMW PGA Championship in Surrey, England, Garcia spoke for 10 minutes about the incident with Woods while saying “I think that there's people that you connect with and there's people that you don't.  You know, it's pretty much as simple as that.  I think that, you know, he doesn't need me in his life, I don't need him in mine, and let's move on and keep doing what we're doing.”

Garcia needed 295 words to address the incident while Woods addressed the whole ordeal with just one word - No.

Woods was asked by a reporter during Monday’s AT&T National Media Day whether he had ever given any thought of just contacting Sergio and saying, hey, let's chill, we don't need to be going back and forth like this anymore?

Woods reply was simple – “no” – and he moved on.  

This speaks very loudly to each player’s level of maturity.

Woods is no longer interested in the situation; he’s completely moved on and addressed the whole petty ordeal with a single word - No.

Garcia, meanwhile, is still beating a dead horse nearly two weeks after this issue, which should have never even been an issue to begin with. This was a small time accident that occurs nearly every week out on the PGA Tour.  Rarely, if ever, do players even really acknowledge incidents such as this, let alone carry on about it for weeks.  

But we all know Garcia by this point in his career so it was not overly surprising that he was still harping on this childish issue two weeks later. But, after getting his points across yet again during his Tuesday press conference, surely this thing would have been put to bed…right?

Well, wrong.

Garcia was not done just yet.

Last night at the European Tour Player’s Awards Dinner at Wentworth, Garcia jokingly answered a question about getting together with Woods at the U.S. Open by saying, "We'll have him 'round every night. We will serve fried chicken."

Needless to say, the backlash over Garcia’s comments, which could be construed as racist, has been quite severe.

As headlines about Garcia’s remarks began appearing around the world this morning, Garcia was forced to call an impromptu press conference to apologize for his remarks.

Garcia’s main sponsor TaylorMade-adidas was even forced to release the following statement:  

"Sergio Garcia's recent comment was offensive and in no way aligns with TaylorMade-adidas Golf's values and corporate culture. We have spoken with Sergio directly and he clearly has regret for his statement and we believe he is sincere. We discussed with Sergio that his comments are clearly out of bounds and we are continuing to review the matter."

Woods released the following statement through his Twitter account this morning:

“The comment that was made wasn’t silly. It was wrong, hurtful and clearly inappropriate. I’m confident that there is real regret that the remark was made. The Players ended nearly two weeks ago and it’s long past time to move on and talk about golf.”

So let’s recap.

Woods, who was 50 yards away from Garcia at the time and completely blacked out by the large gallery, pulled a golf club out of his bag which caused some fans to cheer.

Garcia hit a bad shot and blamed Woods for causing the fans to cheer.

Woods, aside from one comment essentially saying Garcia was a whiner, put the whole petty issue behind him and went out and won the Players Championship while Garcia Tin Cupped his way into the clubhouse on Sunday.

Two weeks later Garcia was still harping on the issue during a press conference while Woods addressed the issue with just one word – no.

Last night Garcia blurted out a racist remark about Woods which has caused a firestorm for Garcia and his sponsors and will likely result in permanent damage to Garcia's image (just ask Fuzzy Zoeller about that). Garcia has now also managed to completely overshadow the European Tour’s Flagship event this week at Wentworth, which of course the European Tour and the rest of the field would be none to happy about.

All of this over a badly timed cheer that occurs nearly every single day on the PGA Tour.  

Is it any wonder that Woods has won 14 major championships while Garcia has none?

Oh yeah, that’s right, the golf gods are working against Garcia…or is it the officials….or is it the media…or is it the fans…or is it the tournament organizers…or is it Woods? Heck, it’s difficult to keep track anymore.

Perhaps Garcia is still searching for his first major title and is viewed the way he is in the game because of nothing other than his childish and immature attitude both on and off the golf course.

Two weeks ago at TPC Sawgrass, Garcia said “at least I'm true to myself.  I know what I'm doing.”

By now we should all realize that Garcia is indeed true to himself, and what you have been seeing over the past two weeks is just who Sergio Garcia is and always has been.


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