Garcia blames Woods for distracting him during shot


PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The often-frosty relationship between Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia became even more so Saturday at The Players.

Playing his second shot from the right side of the second fairway, Garcia blocked his fairway-wood shot deep into the right trees on the par 5. Immediately after impact, however, he snapped his head to the left, where Woods was preparing to play his approach from the pine needles.

Apparently, fans had cheered as Garcia started his downswing because Woods had pulled a 5-wood from his bag. Garcia went on to bogey the hole, while Woods birdied and briefly took the outright lead.

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Later, in an NBC interview during the weather delay, Garcia blamed Woods for distracting him.

“I wouldn’t say that he didn’t see that I was ready, but you do have a feel when the other guy is going to hit,” Garcia said. “Right as I was in the top of the backswing, I think he must have pulled like a 5-wood or a 3-wood and obviously everybody started screaming.

“So that didn’t help very much. It’s unfortunate. If I hit a good shot there and maybe make birdie, it gets my day started in a bit of a different way.” 

Asked about how he deals with that kind of adversity on the course, Garcia replied, “There’s really not much you can do. 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.”

After play was suspended for the day because of darkness, Woods explained what he saw: “Well, the marshal told me (Sergio) already hit so I pulled a club and was ready to play my shot. Then I heard his comments afterward, and it’s not real surprising that he’s complaining about something.”

Told of Woods’ remarks only a few minutes later, Garcia replied, “That’s fine. At least I’m true to myself. I know what I’m doing, and he can do whatever he wants.”