Before we go too far and in the interest of full disclosure I am not a Tiger Woods fan nor am I a Tiger Woods hater. Ask anyone that knows me and they will confirm that. To that end I have the same feelings about Sergio Garcia as well. But from the outside looking in this stuff is just getting ridiculous.
During the third round of the 2013 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass another Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia issue reared its head. The issue in question this time occurred on the par five second hole after Tiger Woods had put his drive in the left side trees. While attempting to prepare for his second shot, Woods pulled a club from the bag which generated a crowd reaction. Unfortunately Garcia was over his second shot when the noise occurred. An important point is that he was over his second shot and not in the middle of the swing. Garcia hit a bad shot that led to a bogey. Some verbal sparring ensued after play was suspended and here are some of the high points.
YouTube Video Courtesy of ESPN
Reporters spoke with the pair after the round and there appears to be some dispute over what occurred in the second hole. Tiger Woods told reporters:
“Obviously, he doesn’t know all the facts, the marshals told me he had already hit. I pulled the club and played my shot. Then I hear his comments afterward. Not really surprising that he’s complaining about something.”
There is some logic to what Woods said. With the crowds that were following the pair around the course it would have been relatively impossible for Woods to see Garcia’s shot. He would have relied on the marshals to inform him when he was up. Given the “all clear,” Woods would have pulled the club and began his pre-shot routine. This is not how Garcia saw the events unfolding. When speaking to reports Garcia claimed:
“That’s fine. At least I’m true to myself. I know what I’m doing, and he can do whatever he wants.”
Garcia’s statements are not shocking. In fact they are expected. These two have had their share of issues over the years. For those that do not remember there was a made-for-TV event that pitted Woods against Garcia. It was a match play format and Garcia beat Woods. Sergio acted as if he just won the US Open and that never sat well with Tiger. Of course everyone is entitled to react as they see fit.
After a 19 year old Sergio Garcia put on a show finishing second to Tiger Woods at the 1999 PGA Championship, Garcia has always been a “second fiddle” compared to Woods and has never reached his full potential.
Throughout their careers Sergio and Tiger have been paired together 19 times. Of those 19 times Tiger has bested Sergio’s round on 12 different occasions. Meanwhile, the two have shot the same score four times. Garcia has only bested Tiger on three occasions. This is something that obviously eats at the insides of Garcia. This carried over to the incident this weekend.
We all know Tiger can be a bit of a baby on the course and is as likely to hit it stiff as he is to slam a club in disgust while requiring TV to bleep out his phrase but this is a product of a competitive gear that most people do not have. What you don’t see Woods do is interfere with other players during their own shot routines. After watching the footage a few times it appears Tiger had no vantage point to see Garcia. He would have, as he said, been relying on the course marshal to let him know when he was up.
To me this is just another case of Garcia and his “woe is me” personality. It is unfortunate because he has all the talent needed to win on tour a lot. He just needs to get that space between the ears right. Just last year after a third round 75 at the Masters, Garcia spoke to the Spanish media.
“I’m not good enough … I don’t have the thing I need to have. In 13 years I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to play for second or third place.”
Comments like this, obviously not in jest, are unfortunate indicators of a players mental game. When things are going well he is a machine but if one thing goes slightly wrong he can collapse. Sergio has proven time and time again he does not have the mental game to handle tour pressure. He is in his 30s now and he should be there by now if he was ever going to be there.
Garcia always seems more concerned with putting himself down and what the rest of the players are doing, than buckling up and trying to win. I am sick of hearing about him not being good enough. I am sick of hearing about distractions that caused him to hit a bad shot. I am sick of the whining that seems almost as prevalent as his pension for hitting a big drive. Take ownership for your game. Take ownership for the bad shot. Put your head down and grind out the bad round. Garcia is an adult blessed with all the talent in the world. Use it and win. But if you have a bad day or a bad shot take ownership and move on. If lesser talents can do it so can you.