Garcia should've known better before making remarks

By Rex HoggardMay 22, 2013, 4:21 pm

FORT WORTH, Texas – He should have known better.

Contempt toward a co-worker is one thing, but racial insensitivity is where a vaguely entertaining feud lurches into a much darker place.

Among the words in modern lexicon that don’t wash off is “racist.” Whether Sergio Garcia deserves that label is a question of individual sensitivities, whether he should have known better is not.

During a black-tie gala on Tuesday in London, Garcia was asked by Golf Channel’s Steve Sands, who was emceeing the event, if he planned to invite Tiger Woods over for dinner during next month’s U.S. Open.

“We will have him round every night. We will serve fried chicken,” Garcia said.

The Spaniard quickly issued a statement regarding the comment that felt more like a non-apology: “I apologize for any offense that may have been caused by my comment on stage during the European Tour Players’ Awards dinner. I answered a question that was clearly made towards me as a joke with a silly remark, but in no way was the comment meant in a racist manner.”

For those who thought the war of words between Garcia and Woods reached its apex at The Players Championship, the world No. 1 pulled no punches with his response to Garcia’s comments, if not his sterile mea culpa.

“The comment that was made wasn’t silly. It was wrong, hurtful and clearly inappropriate,” Woods tweeted early Wednesday. “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.”

Almost always emotional and honest, Garcia seemed much more contrite on Wednesday during a press conference at the BMW PGA Championship. Know this about the Spaniard, he has no editing equipment during the best of circumstances. Put him under the lights with the world watching and there is no such thing as an unspoken thought.

Garcia said he knew immediately that he’d crossed the line with his comments and that he had tried to reach out to Woods to apologize personally via his manager, Mark Steinberg.

“It wasn’t meant that way (racist). I was caught off guard by what seemed to be a funny question. I cannot apologize enough times,” Garcia said. “As soon as I left the dinner I started to get a sick feeling in my body. I didn’t sleep very well. I’ve had this sick feeling all day.”

By most accounts Garcia’s apology appeared from the heart and genuine, not that words could ever absolve him of culpability. But it’s Garcia’s inability to acknowledge the fact that, in 2013, he should have known better that is the most baffling.

As one player figured early Wednesday at Colonial, “Of course he knew (his comments were offensive), Fuzzy (Zoeller) made that crystal clear a long time ago.”

Zoeller made his comments following Woods’ historic 1997 Masters victory and never fully recovered, either financially or with the fans. When asked to compare his situation to Zoeller’s, however, Garcia seemed strangely unfamiliar with the episode that rocked the golf world and beyond.

“I didn’t know about that. I was made aware of it today. I was 17 years old and really didn’t know about it,” Garcia said.

While the notion that many 17 year olds are indifferent to life’s realities is plausible, Garcia was no normal 17 year old. Two years after Zoeller’s remarks, the young Spaniard went head-to-head with Woods at the PGA Championship and was quickly labeled Tiger’s next great challenger.

Maybe he didn’t know about Zoeller’s comments, but he should have.

Following that moment at Medinah, Woods and Garcia’s relationship, what little there was of it, began to deteriorate until coming to a head two weeks ago at The Players when Woods pulled the head cover off a fairway wood in the trees adjacent the second fairway and the lid off a smoldering hatred that now seems to have gone well beyond a simple personality conflict.

The he said/he said give and take between the two since Saturday at TPC Sawgrass seemed harmless enough until Garcia’s utter distaste of the world No. 1 became ugly and inexcusable.

“I didn’t mean to offend anyone. I was caught off guard by the question. I can’t say sorry enough,” he said.

No, he can’t apologize enough for what he said or for the fact that he should have known better.

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Key stats from Woods' historic win at East Lake

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 23, 2018, 10:47 pm

Tiger Woods won his 80th career PGA Tour title on Sunday with a two-stroke victory at the Tour Championship. Here are the key stats from the final round at East Lake.

• 80th career PGA Tour win; first since 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

• Two wins behind Sam Snead for most in PGA Tour history

• Snead was 47 years old when he won his 80th career PGA Tour title (Woods is 42)

• 43-for-45 converting outright 54-hole leads in PGA Tour career

• 24-for-24 converting 54-hole leads of three or more shots

• First win in 1,876 days; 118 players won on PGA Tour between Woods' wins

• Third career Tour Championship victory (most all-time)

• Has won Tour Championship in three different decades (1999, 2007, 2018)

• Fifth PGA Tour event won in three different decades (1990s, 2000s, 2010s)

• Projected to move to 13th in World Ranking with victory

• Was ranked 1,199 before beginning of 2017 Hero World Challenge

• Snead won 11 times after turning 43 (Woods turns 43 in December)

• Eighth PGA Tour win in Georgia; fourth-most of any state (Fla., Calif., Ohio)

• Extended lead to four strokes with birdie on first hole of round

• Second in field in strokes gained: putting this week

• First in field in scrambling this week (17-for-24)

• Finished second in FedExCup; was making first Tour Championship start since 2013

• Led field in one-putt percentage this week (51.4%)

• Finishes season first on PGA Tour in strokes gained: approach

(Stats provided by the Golf Channel editorial research unit.)

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Social media explodes over Tiger's 80th win

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 23, 2018, 10:45 pm

After a five-year hiatus, Tiger Woods made his triumphant return to the winner's circle on Sunday at the Tour Championship.

As evidenced by a quick look at social media, Woods' win set the golf world on fire, with everyone from Jack Nicklaus to Michelle Wie sending their congratulations to the 42-year-old.

Here are the best reactions from a wild Sunday at East Lake, where Woods claimed PGA Tour victory No. 80:

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Rose captures FedExCup, $10 million

By Mercer BaggsSeptember 23, 2018, 10:45 pm

ATLANTA – Like the “Price is Right” big wheel, $10 million spun around and around on Sunday, waiting to land on someone. It rolled past Dustin Johnson, looked like it was going to settle on Tiger Woods, and then made a final tick to rest on an ecstatic Justin Rose.

Rose won the FedExCup title on Sunday at the Tour Championship, two-putting for birdie on the par-5 18th to secure the big bonus. Woods, who won the tournament, finished second, with Bryson DeChambeau third.

Rose entered the final round as the projected winner, tied for second in the event, three shots back of Woods. However, it was a struggle from the start for the – now former – world No. 1. Rose made four bogeys and one birdie over his first 15 holes, and when he bogeyed the par-4 16th, the scenario became clear: Play the last two in 1 under or lose the cup.

Final FedExCup results and payout breakdown

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Johnson had an outside shot at claiming the $10 million, but parred the last. He finished in solo third place, four back of Woods.

Woods, meanwhile, was in command of the tournament from the start on Sunday. He played steadily, for the most part, and no one provided a challenge. In order to win the cup, he needed to win the event – which was close to a lock all day – and Rose needed to finish in a three-way tie for fifth or worse.

So, here he was, Rose, tied for SIXTH place on the 18th hole. A birdie and he’d jump into a three-way tie for fourth – as well as into a mountain of cash.

Rose hit the par-5 18th in two and successfully two-putted to clinch the cup. He didn’t win a playoff event, but his MC-2-2-T4 results were good enough, points wise, to capture the season-long race.

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Highlights: Tiger's final round at East Lake

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 23, 2018, 10:40 pm

Tiger Woods won the Tour Championship on Sunday by two strokes. Here are the highlights from the final round.

Woods got off to a great start with a birdie on No. 1.

He then made eight straight pars to close out the front nine in 1 under par. Woods started the back nine with a bogey at 10, but he rebounded with this birdie at No. 13.

Woods leaked some oil coming in with bogeys at 15 and 16, but this par putt on 17 gave him a crucial two-stroke lead heading to 18.

For the fourth straight day, Woods smoked his drive on 18.

A huge gallery followed Woods up the 18th hole.

Woods missed his birdie putt on 18, but it was an easy par for a two-stroke victory and win No. 80.