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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Rosaforte Report: A tale of two comebacks

By Tim RosaforteAugust 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Comeback (noun): A return by a well-known person, especially an entertainer or sports player, to the activity in which they have formerly been successful.

Even by definition, the word comeback is subjective.

There is no question that Brooks Koepka has completed his comeback. With two major championship victories that encompassed wins over Dustin Johnson and Tiger Woods, Player of the Year honors have already been locked up for the 2017-18 season.

But knowing Koepka, he wants more. A No. 1 ranking, topping his boy D.J., is a possibility. A Ryder Cup is awaiting. By all rights, Koepka could be Comeback Player of the Year and Player of the Year all in one, except the PGA Tour discontinued its Comeback award in 2012. Nonetheless, it’s fun to compare the cases of Koepka and Woods.

What Woods has recovered from is remarkable, but not complete. He hasn’t won yet. With triumphs in the U.S. Open and PGA Championship, Koepka has completed his comeback from a pair of wrist injuries that could have been equally as career-ending as the physical issues that Woods had to overcome just to contend in the last two majors.

“There was a question on whether or not I’d ever be the same,” Koepka said Sunday night in the media center at Bellerive, following his third major championship victory in six tries. “Whether I could do it pain-free, we had no idea.”



The wrist traumas occured five months apart, with the initial issue putting him in a soft cast with a partially torn tendon. That cost the reigning U.S. Open champion 15 weeks on the shelf (and couch), including a start in the Masters.

His treatment included injecting bone marrow and platelet-rich plasma. When he returned at the Zurich Classic in April, Koepka revealed the ligaments that hold the tendon in place were gone – thus a dislocation – and that every time he went to his doctor, “it seemed like it got worse and worse.”

Koepka’s second wrist injury of the season occurred on the practice grounds at The Players, when a cart pulled in front of Koepka just as he was accelerating into the ball with his 120-plus mph club-head speed. Abruptly stopping his swing, Koepka’s left wrist popped out. His physio relayed a story to PGA Tour radio in which he advised Koepka before he reset the wrist: “Sit on your hand and bite this towel, otherwise you’re going to punch me.”

Koepka admitted that he never dreamed such a scenario would threaten his career. He called it, “probably the most painful thing I’ve ever gone through, setting that bone back.” But, testament to Koepka's fortitude, four days later he made an albatross and tied a TPC Sawgrass course record, shooting 63.

Woods’ physical – and mental – recovery from back surgery and prescription drug abuse was painful and career threatening in its own way. As he said in his return to Augusta, “Those are some really, really dark times. I’m a walking miracle.”

As amazing as it has been, Woods, by definition, still hasn’t fully completed his comeback. While he’s threatened five times in 2018, he hasn’t won a tournament.

Yes, it’s a miracle that he’s gotten this far, swinging the club that fast, without any relapse in his back. As electric and high-energy as his second-place finish to Koepka was at the PGA, Woods has made this winning moment something to anticipate. As story lines go, it may be better this way.

Coming off a flat weekend at the WGC-Bridgestone, Woods was starting to sound like an old 42-year-old. But instead of ice baths and recovery time, the conversation was charged by what he did on Saturday and Sunday in the 100th PGA.

A day later, there was more good news. With Woods committing to three straight weeks of FedExCup Playoff golf, potentially followed by a week off and then the Tour Championship, that moment of victory may not be far away.

Scheduling – and certainly anticipating – four tournaments in five weeks, potentially followed by a playing role at the Ryder Cup, would indicate that Woods has returned to the activity in which he was formally successful.

There were times post-scandal and post-back issues, that Woods stuck by the lines made famous by LL Cool J:

Don’t call it a comeback
I’ve been here for years
I’m rocking my peers

Not this time. As he said Sunday before his walk-off 64 in St, Louis, “Oh, God. I didn’t even know if I was going to play again.”

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Actor/Comedian Kevin Nealon Joins "Feherty," Monday, Aug. 20 at 9 p.m. ET

By Golf Channel Public RelationsAugust 16, 2018, 1:15 pm

Actor/comedian Kevin Nealon (Saturday Night Live) will join David Feherty on his self-titled, Emmy-nominated series Feherty presented by Farmers Insurance®, Monday at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel.

Filmed at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles last month, the episode will focus on numerous topics, including:

  • Nealon discussing his start in comedy in Los Angeles, where he worked as a bartender and filled in for comics who failed to show up for their act.
  • Reminiscing about his appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1984.
  • Reflecting on his nine-year run as a cast member on Saturday Night Live.
  • Recounting the time when his golf ball struck Adam Sandler during a round they were playing with filming Happy Gilmore.
  • Recalling time spent with Arnold Palmer during the filming of a commercial a few years ago.

The following Monday (Aug. 27), Feherty will be joined by 20-time LPGA Tour winner Cristie Kerr at 9 p.m. ET, and then on Monday, Sept. 3 (9 p.m. ET), major champion Jimmy Walker will join as a guest for the series’ season finale.

A two-time Emmy-nominated host (Outstanding Sports Personality – Studio Host) Feherty has been described as “golf’s iconoclast,” by Rolling Stone, and “the last unscripted man on TV,” by Men’s Journal. His all-star lineup of golf-enthused and culturally relevant guests feature celebrities from across entertainment, sports and politics. To date, Feherty has sat down with four U.S. Presidents (Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump); sports legends Charles Barkley, Nick Saban, Stephen Curry and Bobby Knight; Hollywood icons Matthew McConaughey, Larry David and Samuel L. Jackson; World Golf of Fame members Nancy Lopez, Jack Nicklaus, Annika Sorenstam, Lee Trevino and Tom Watson; and a host of current golf superstars including Paula Creamer, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Michelle Wie. Feherty is produced by Golf Channel’s original productions group, which also oversees production for Driver vs. Driver, Golf Films as well as the network’s instruction platforms.

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Thomas talks Tiger, plays 'Facebreakers' on 'Tonight Show'

By Grill Room TeamAugust 16, 2018, 1:14 pm

Justin Thomas didn't successfully defend his title at last week's PGA Championship, but he did get a guest spot on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon."

Thomas appeared on the talk show Wednesday night and, of course, a primary topic was Tiger Woods' run at the Wanamaker Trophy.



Thomas also played a game of "Facebreakers" with host Fallon, in which both men tried to break panes of glass emblazoned with the other's face with golf shots. Thomas nearly took out the real Fallon on his first shot, and after several uncessful attempts by both men, massive cheating ensued.

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Bhatia loses U.S. Am match after caddie-cart incident

By Ryan LavnerAugust 16, 2018, 2:21 am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – One of the hottest players in amateur golf had his U.S. Amateur run end Wednesday under unusual circumstances.

Akshay Bhatia, the 16-year-old left-hander who has been dominating the junior golf circuit over the past year, squandered a late lead in his eventual 19-hole loss to Bradford Tilley in the Round of 64.

Bhatia was all square against Tilley as they played Pebble Beach’s par-5 14th hole. After knocking his second shot onto the green, Bhatia and his caddie, Chris Darnell, stopped to use the restroom. Bhatia walked up to the green afterward, but Darnell asked what he thought was a USGA official for a ride up to the green.

“The gentleman was wearing a USGA pullover,” Darnell explained afterward. “I asked if I could get a ride to the green to keep up pace, and he said yes. So I hopped on the back, got up to the green, hopped off and thought nothing of it.”

Conditions of the competition prohibit players and caddies from riding on any form of transportation during a stipulated round unless authorized.

It turns out that the cart that Darnell rode on was not driven by a USGA official. Rather, it was just a volunteer wearing USGA apparel. A rules official who was in the area spotted the infraction and assessed Bhatia an adjustment penalty, so instead of winning the hole with a birdie-4 to move 1 up, the match remained all square.


U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos


Even more interesting was what Darnell said happened earlier in the match.

“I had already seen the other caddie in our group do it on the ninth hole,” Darnell said. “Same thing – USGA pullover, drove him from the bathroom up to the fairway – so I assumed it was fine. I didn’t point it out at the time because everything seemed kosher. He had the USGA stuff on, and I didn’t think anything of it.”

Bhatia won the 15th hole to go 1 up, but lost the 17th and 19th holes with bogeys to lose the match. He didn’t blame the outcome on the cart incident.  

“What can you do? I’ll have plenty of opportunities to play in this tournament, so I’m not too upset about it,” he said. “It’s just frustrating because I deserved to win that match. That wasn’t the outcome I wanted, but I can’t do anything about it.”

Bhatia, of Wake Forest, N.C., has been a dominant force in the junior ranks, going back-to-back at the Junior PGA (including this dramatic hole-out), capturing the AJGA Polo, taking the Sage Valley Invitational and reaching the finals of the U.S. Junior.