We have a new wrinkle in the Tiger Woods-Sergio Garcia drama from the third round at the Players Championship and it comes from neither of the players caught up in the war of words at TPC Sawgrass.
Garcia, who went out of his way to blame Tiger for a bad shot he hit early in his third round, might be justified for going after the eventual winner according to the marshals at Sawgrass.
Sergio said on Saturday that, "I wouldn't say (Tiger) didn't see that I was ready, but you do have a feel when the other guy is going to hit. Right as I was on top of the backswing, he pulled a 5-wood or 3-wood out of the rough and, obviously, everybody started screaming, so that didn't help very much."
Tiger responded, "The marshals, they told me he already hit, so I pulled a club and was getting ready to play my shot, and then I hear his comments afterward and it’s not real surprising that he’s complaining about something."
Sports Illustrated's Michael Bamberger talked to the marshals involved and, well, Tiger's story doesn't exactly check out.
Gary Anderson, one of the marshals in the group, told SI, "He didn’t ask us nothing, and we didn’t say nothing. We’re told not to talk to the players.”
That might be fairly condemning, but listen to what Anderson's boss said of Tiger after the round.
Anderson’s boss, John North, was the chief marshal for the first three holes. He stood over Woods’s ball to protect it from the throng and was five feet away when Woods played his shot. North has worked the tournament as a volunteer marshal for 30 years, he’s a graduate of the Naval Academy, he served in Vietnam, he’s a FedEx pilot and he donates his round on the Stadium course for being a volunteer to the Wounded Warriors project.
“Nothing was said to us and we certainly said nothing to him,” North said. “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.”
It does make more sense when you watch the video of what happened. Tiger pulled his fairway wood out of his bag and actually tried to quiet the crowd a little as Garcia was going after his second shot on the par-5. NBC did a great job at the time of showing a split-screen of Tiger pulling the club just as Garcia was about to hit his shot, so it's pretty clear that Garcia wasn't completely making the story up.
As for Tiger saying he asked the marshal? That sure seems like it didn't happen at this point when you read those quotes, and the gamesmanship legend of Woods on the golf course grows larger and larger.
If nothing else, Garcia's quote about Tiger not being, "my favorite guy to play with" sure seems to be a bit more legit at this point.
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