Garcia-Woods story continues to grow

By May 15, 2013, 8:15 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.

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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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Garcia 2 back in storm-halted Andalucia Masters

By Associated PressOctober 18, 2018, 7:08 pm

SOTOGRANDE, Spain  -- Ashley Chesters was leading on 5-under 66 at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters when play was suspended because of darkness with 60 golfers yet to complete their weather-hit first rounds on Thursday.

More than four hours was lost as play was twice suspended because of stormy conditions and the threat of lightning at the Real Club Valderrama in southern Spain.


Full-field scores from the Andalucia Valderrama Masters


English journeyman Chesters collected six birdies and one bogey to take a one-shot lead over Gregory Bourdy of France. Tournament host and defending champion Sergio Garcia was on 68 along with fellow Spaniards Alvaro Quiros and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, and Australia's Jason Scrivener.

''It's a shame I can't keep going because the last few holes were the best I played all day. Considering all the delays and everything, I'm very happy with 5 under,'' Chesters said. ''The forecast for the rest of the week is not very good either so I thought I'll just make as many birdies as I can and get in.''

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Caddies drop lawsuit; Tour increases healthcare stipend

By Rex HoggardOctober 18, 2018, 3:33 pm

After nearly four years of litigation, a group of PGA Tour caddies have dropped their lawsuit against the circuit.

The lawsuit, which was filed in California in early 2015, centered on the bibs caddies wear during tournaments and ongoing attempts by the caddies to improve their healthcare and retirement options.

The caddies lost their class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court and an appeal this year.

Separately, the Association of Professional Tour Caddies, which was not involved in the lawsuit but represents the caddies to the Tour, began negotiating with the circuit last year.

“I told the guys, if we really want a healthy working relationship with the Tour, we need to fix this and open the lines of communication,” said Scott Sajtinac, the president of the APTC.

In January 2017, Jay Monahan took over as commissioner of the Tour and began working with the APTC to find a solution to the healthcare issue. Sajtinac said the Tour has agreed to increase the stipend it gives caddies for healthcare beginning next year.

“It took a year and a half, but it turned out to be a good result,” Sajtinac said. “Our goal is to close that window for the guys because healthcare is such a massive chunk of our income.”

The Tour did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the agreement or the end to the lawsuit.

Caddies have received a stipend from the Tour for healthcare for some time, and although Sajtinac wouldn’t give the exact increase, he said it was over 300 percent. Along with the APTC’s ability to now negotiate healthcare plans as a group, the new stipend should dramatically reduce healthcare costs for caddies.

“It’s been really good,” said Sajtinac, who did add that there are currently no talks with the Tour to created a retirement program for caddies. “Everybody is really excited about this.”

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PGA Tour Latinoamérica moving season finale to Doral

By Nick MentaOctober 18, 2018, 2:36 pm

PGA Tour Latinoamérica announced Wednesday that it will play its season finale, the Latinoamérica Tour Championship-Shell Championship, at Trump National Doral from Nov. 29-Dec. 2.

The limited-field event will feature the top 60 players on the circuit's money list competing on Doral's Golden Palm Course.

“We are very happy that we will continue playing the Latinoamérica Tour Championship-Shell Championship in South Florida, and Doral is a tremendous community that we know will open its arms to our players and this tournament,” PGA Tour Latinoamérica president Jack Warfield said in a statement.

The PGA Tour ended its more than 50-year relationship with Doral and the resort's Blue Monster course back in 2016, when Cadillac's title sponsorship of the World Golf Championship lapsed as then-candidate Donald Trump was mounting his bid for the presidency.

“We continue to stand by our earlier statement, and the statement of other golf organizations, that Mr. Trump's comments are inconsistent with our strong commitment to an inclusive and welcoming environment in the game of golf,” then-PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said in December 2015, referring to Trump's campaign rhetoric concerning Mexicans and Muslims.

The event was moved to Mexico City in 2017 and renamed the WGC-Mexico Championship.

The Latinoamérica Tour Championship was staged the last two years at Melreese Country Club in Miami, where David Beckham is currently attempting to build a stadium for his Major League Soccer expansion club, Inter Miami.

PGA Tour Latinoamérica's release states that the move to Doral "keeps the event in this part of the Sunshine State and allows the tournament to maintain its ties to The First Tee of Miami as a charitable recipient and sponsor." Melreese, the city's only public golf course, is home to the First Tee of Miami, which naturally opposes Beckham's efforts to close the facility and repurpose the land.

A November referendum will ask voters to decide if the city should negotiate a no-bid lease with Beckham's ownership group, which seeks to create a $1 billion dollar complex comprising of the proposed stadium, youth soccer fields, a park, commercial and retail space, and a hotel.

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Im wins Web.com Player and Rookie of the Year awards

By Nick MentaOctober 18, 2018, 1:22 pm

Sungjae Im on Thursday was named the Web.com Tour's 2018 Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year.

Im won twice on the Web.com this year, taking the season opener in January, The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic, and the season finale in August, the WinCo Foods Portland Open, to become the first player in history lead the circuit's money list wire-to-wire.

Im is the first Korean-born player to win the Web's POY award and, at 20 years old, its youngest recipient.

In a player vote, Im bested Anders Albertson, Sam Burns, Kramer Hickok and Martin Trainer, 2018's only other two-time winner, for POY honors, and Burns, Hickock, Trainer and Cameron Champ for ROY honors.

“My first year on the Web.com Tour was an incredibly happy time for me,” Im said, “and it’s pretty surreal that I was able to win the first and last tournament of the season. I honestly thought I would spend about two to three years on the Web.com Tour before making it to the PGA Tour, so I’m happy to have achieved my goal so soon. I’m grateful to have earned the Player of the Year honors and I hope to finish the remainder of the PGA Tour season on a good note.”

In his first PGA Tour start, Im tied for fourth at the Safeway Open, earning $241,280, a little less than half of the $534,326 he amassed in 25 starts as the Web's regular-season money winner.

Playing this week's CJ Cup in his native South Korea, Im opened with a 1-over 73 Thursday.