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Garcia Miffed at Woods
Two players who don't particularly have a great affinity for each came to loggerheads Saturday in the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.
It happened on the second hole. Tiger Woods had pulled his drive into the woods after Sergio Garcia found the fairway on the par-5. As Garcia was hitting his second shot from 275 yards, the Spaniard said Woods pulled out a 5-wood or 3-wood, eliciting cheers from the surrounding crowd, which distracted him.
Garcia hit his shot 40 yards right of the target, resulting in a bogey six and losing his lead. The 33-year-old was visibly irritated, and later told reporters that Woods should have been more "careful."
"Well, obviously, Tiger was on the left and it was my shot to hit," Garcia said on television during a two-hour delay caused by a storm that swept across the course in early afternoon. "He moved all of the crowd that he needed to move, I waited for that. I wouldn't say that he didn't see that I was ready, but you do have a feel when the other guy is going to hit and right as I was in the top of the backswing, I think he must have pulled like a 5-wood or a 3-wood and, obviously, everybody started screaming,
"So that didn't help very much. But it was unfortunate because - I mean I might have hit it there if nothing happens, you never know - but if I hit a good shot there and maybe make birdie, it gets my day started in a bit of a different way."
Later in the press center, Garcia said of the situation, ''It happens to me when I'm in Spain,'' he said of dealing with big, vocal galleries. ''Obviously, it happens to him everywhere he goes. He gets a lot of people following, and I think you have to be very careful because there's another guy playing. Sometimes you have to pay attention to what's going on because if the other guy's hitting and you do something when you're in the crowd, the crowd is going to respond and it's going to affect the other player.
"That was a little bit unfortunate . . . I think sometimes people have to be a little bit more careful."
Woods later defended himself, noting he'd been given the go-ahead to proceed by an official. "Obviously, he doesn't know all the facts," Woods told reporters. "The marshal said (Garcia) already hit and I pulled the 5-wood and hit."
Woods, who birdied the hole, then threw out a dig. "It's not really surprising he was complaining about something." When asked if he talked about the situation with Garcia, Woods said, "We didn't do a lot of talking."
When told of Woods' remarks about it not being surprising that Garcia complained, Garcia responded, "That's fine. At least I'm true to myself. I know what I'm doing, and he can do whatever he wants."
The third round of this year's Players was the sixth time Woods and Garcia played together in a final group on the weekend. Woods won the five previous five tournaments.
Since the two still have four holes to play, it's uncertain whether Garcia and Woods will be paired on Sunday. However, if there's no change on the leaderboard after the two finish their third rounds in the morning, they'll be paired together and two Swedes - David Lingmerth and Henrik Stenson, will be in the last group.