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Two marshals come to Tiger's defense

The SportsXchange

A day after two marshals disputed Tiger Woods' version of events from a controversy with Sergio Garcia at the Players Championship, two others came to the defense of the world's No. 1-ranked golfer.

The issue stems from the second hole Saturday, with Garcia claiming Woods created a distraction by removing a club from his bag during Garcia's second shot, resulting in a poor shot that ultimately led to a bogey. Woods asserted he had been given the go-ahead that Garcia had already played his shot, but two marshals told Sports Illustrated on Monday that nothing had been said to Woods.

On Tuesday, two other marshals said there had indeed been communication.

"It is not true and definitely unfair to Tiger," marshal Brian Nedrich told the Florida Times-Union. "That's because I was the one Tiger heard say that Sergio had hit."

According to Nedrich, he could barely see Garcia but saw a glimpse of him swinging followed by the ball in the air. Fellow marshal Lance Paczkowski couldn't see Garcia and told fans he had yet to hit. Nedrich said Woods had already taken his club out of his bag, but that the marshals did indeed tell him Garcia had played his shot.

It's yet another version of the sequence of events, with Woods saying he was told Garcia had played his shot and then removed his club.

"There was a lot going on, as usual, when Tiger plays," Nedrich told the paper. "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. It was an unfortunate incident, and I don't think either player is to blame."

"Tiger Woods did not lie," Paczkowski told the Times-Union. "Was there a small mistake in what he remembered? Yes. But I don't think it rises to the level of lying."

The drama began when Woods pulled a 5-wood from his bag, iliciting applause from the crowd - and Garcia said the commotion resulted in his poor shot. SI.com reported that Garcia turned and glared in Woods' direction, and he later told NBC, "It's very simple. You have to pay attention to what's going on because the other guy is hitting. You do something when you're in the crowd, and the crowd is going to respond."

On Monday, John North, the chief marshal for the first three holes, told SI.com: "Nothing was said to us, and we certainly said nothing to him. 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."

Countered Nedrich: "It's disingenuous to suggest that Tiger is a liar because he got a minor detail wrong."

"The comments from the marshals in today's (Times-Union) story definitively show that Tiger was telling the truth about being told Sergio had hit," said Mark Steinberg, Woods' agent, in a statement. "I hope this demonstrates to some reporters the importance of accuracy and not jumping to misplace conclusions."
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