Garcia-Woods story continues to grow

By Rex HoggardMay 15, 2013, 5:46 pm

Let’s give the last word in this Mount Rushmore edition of he said/he said to Tiger Woods. It seems Sergio Garcia didn’t know all the facts.

It turns out Woods did hear a marshal say that El Nino had already hit his second shot at the par-5 second hole early on Day 3 at The Players Championship.

It also seems virtually certain that Woods could not see Garcia in the fairway when he pulled a club from his bag and approached his golf ball that was in the trees left of the second fairway.

“From where (Woods) was there is no way he could have seen Sergio,” marshal John North told GolfChannel.com on Tuesday.

We’ve seen the split-screen footage of this episode more times than the Zapruder film – Woods eying his lie and the trees ahead, Garcia poised over his ball, Woods slipping a head cover off a fairway wood which caused the crowd to react.

The timing is all right there in HD quality. What has been open to viral, and sometimes vicious, debate for five days is what happened next.

When Round 3 was suspended by Saturday’s storm, Garcia told Golf Channel’s Steve Sands: “I think he must have pulled a 5-wood or 3-wood out and obviously everybody started screaming, so that didn’t help very much. It was unfortunate. 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.”

Woods responded when play ultimately ended in twilight on Saturday: “He doesn’t know all the facts. The marshal said he’d already hit and I pulled the club . . . I heard his comments afterwards. It’s not surprising he’s complaining about something.”

But it was North – the chief marshal for the first, second and third holes at TPC Sawgrass last week – who turned the episode into a bona fide controversy, however unwittingly.

“Nothing was said to us and we certainly said nothing to (Woods),” North told Sports Illustrated. “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.”

On Tuesday night, however, North was not as certain that no marshal had advised Woods that Garcia had already played. Although he said he wasn’t misquoted by Sports Illustrated he did say his quotes were taken “slightly” out of context.

“I didn’t want to impugn the character of Tiger Woods or the Sports Illustrated writer. I was just answering a hypothetical question,” said North, who has been a marshal at The Players for 30 years. “I cannot unequivocally say nothing was said (to Woods).”

Less than 12 hours later, Brian Nedrich could equivocally say that Woods received the “all clear” from a marshal. “I was the one Tiger heard say that Sergio had hit,” Nedrich told the Florida Times-Union.

While the timing remains somewhat unclear, Nedrich – who said he was 10 to 12 feet away from Woods – informed a fellow marshal that Garcia had played his second shot.

“There was a lot going on, as usual, when Tiger plays,” he 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.”

At the risk of playing both judge and jury, the witness may step down, the case is dismissed.

If this doesn’t clear up at least this portion of the controversy for the conspiracy theorist then nothing will. Although the timing is suspect, Woods heard the marshal say Garcia had already played.

We’ve learned from this ugly episode that, in this case, it seems it is the marshals who needed a “Quiet, please” sign; and that the smallest amount of contrition could have gone a long way.

Woods supporters say he did nothing wrong, therefore he had nothing to apologize for. While that may follow the letter of the law it does little to promote good will within the ropes and stretches the boundaries of courtesy.

In this case, Woods accidently and inadvertently pulled a club while Garcia was preparing to hit and caused a distraction. Regardless of intent or culpability, a quick apology as the two headed up the second fairway may well have cut short a needless controversy.

That, however, was never option. Not with this two-ball.

“We didn’t do a lot of talking,” Woods said on Saturday when asked if he and Garcia discussed the incident.

Woods and Garcia don’t like each other. In related news, the sun will set in the west. Still, would this issue not have faded like Saturday’s sunset had both players shown a modicum of civility?

But then it’s hard to blame Woods for going lock-jaw considering Garcia’s take on the row on Sunday, some 24 hours after the fact.

“I'm not going to lie, he's not my favorite guy to play with,” Garcia told Sky Sports. “He's not the nicest guy on Tour.”

Passion is one thing, petulance is an entirely different animal.

Competing personalities butt heads in all walks of life, but on Sunday, on Mother’s Day, the Spaniard violated a central theme of civilized society – he had nothing nice to say, and yet he kept talking.

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


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Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

@tommyfleetwood_1

A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.