AUGUSTA, Ga. – Tiger Woods seems to believe there’s no deficit he can’t make up at the Masters.
Sergio Garcia can make you believe there’s no advantage he can’t squander in the event.
Woods and Garcia have been at odds in more than how they view Augusta National, and that will add some spice to Saturday’s pairings with these two scheduled to play together in the third round at 1:15 p.m. ET.
The pairing marks just the second time they’ve played together since their already contentious relationship was inflamed by a racial remark Garcia made at a European Tour awards dinner in May of 2013. Asked by an emcee about Woods at the function, Garcia said: “We will have him ‘round every night. We will serve fried chicken.” The remark created a furor for which Garcia apologized.
“I feel sick about it,” Garcia said in his apology. “I’m truly, truly sorry. And I hope we can kind of settle things down and hopefully move on.”
Woods accepted the apology, saying he was “confident that there was real regret that the remark was made.”
That controversy erupted 10 days after Woods and Garcia were paired at The Players Championship, where Garcia complained that Woods intentionally caused a stir in the gallery when Garcia was hitting a shot. The conflict exacerbated tensions that had built over the years.
In the middle of that tense period, Garcia was asked about the nature of his relationship with Woods.
“I mean, you can't like everybody,” Garcia said. “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 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.”
Woods shot a 71 in that Players Championship pairing two years ago to Garcia’s 72. They were paired again later in the year at the BMW Championship during the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Woods shot 66 to Garcia’s 69.
Saturday’s Masters pairing will mark the 22nd time that Woods and Garcia have played in the same group. Woods is 14-3-4 in those matchups.
Woods has won the Masters four times. Garcia has never won it, and has complained that the golf course doesn’t suit him.
Friday night, Garcia took to Twitter to make light of the pairing:
It was gonna happen at some point sooner or later! Paired with @TigerWoods tomorrow but don't you worry guys, I'm sure we'll both be fine— Sergio Garcia (@TheSergioGarcia) April 11, 2015