Garcia to Talk with Tiger at U.S. Open


After completing the final round of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club in England, Sergio Garcia faced a series of questions about his recent verbal spats with Tiger Woods.

Never close friends to begin with, Garcia and Woods came to loggerheads during the second round of the Players Championship on May 10, when - in Garcia's mid-swing as he was on the other side of the fairway - Woods pulled a 5-wood from his bag that elicited a loud cheer from the gallery surrounding him that Garcia said caused him to miss the green and led to a bogey on the par-5.

Then last Tuesday during a players' dinner prior to the start of the BMW PGA, Garcia was asked about getting together with Woods at the U.S. Open. "We'll have him 'round every night. We will serve fried chicken," Garcia said.

The statement was eerily like a remark made at the 1997 Masters by Fuzzy Zoeller in response to a question about what Woods' menu would be for the Champions Dinner the following year.

"So you know what you guys do when he gets in here?" Zoeller said to reporters. "Pat him on the back, say congratulations, enjoy it. And tell him not to serve fried chicken next year - or collared greens or whatever the hell they serve."

Zoeller received a lot of heat then and lost some endorsements, but he was not sanctioned by the PGA Tour. Nor was Garcia, who met the day after the dinner with PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and European Tour CEO George O'Grady, who were both in attendance at the players' dinner and heard Garcia's remarks. Garcia met with the executives the following morning, apologizing to both.

On Sunday in England, Garcia said the media attention he's attracted has been burdensome and noted it affected his play. He closed with a 72 and finished tied for 19th at 5-under 283, five strokes out of a sudden-death playoff won by Italy's Matteo Manassero.

"Yeah, well, wasn't really on my best game today, but you know, I guess it's been a long week, very - how do you say, a lot of emotions going on, and today I find of felt it a little bit," Garcia said. "But you know, I tried with what I had. It wasn't my best game but I still tried - I would (have) loved to do a little bit better but I can't ask myself for much more."

The 33-year-old Spaniard isn't playing in this week's Memorial - where Woods is the defending champion. He's taking the week off, but will be on hand, along with Woods, for the U.S. Open in two weeks at Merion.

Garcia noted his team attempted to contact Woods through Woods' manager, Mark Steinberg and iron things out. "We talked to his manager," said Garcia. "We asked him if he wanted us to call Tiger, obviously if he gives us the number or wait for Merion and do it there face-to-face, and they said they would rather do it there. So, you know, there's nothing else we can do, so we'll wait until we get there and we'll talk."

The Spaniard sounded tired as he discussed competing with all the extracurricular stuff going on. "I guess so," Garcia noted. "I guess for some parts of the week, I played pretty good. Some others, I struggled a little bit. But you know, like you said, there were so many things going on that it was difficult sometimes to concentrate, but it was like I said, I tried (to give) everything I had."

When asked whether the distractions will continue at the U.S. Open, Garcia noted, "It is what it is. Can't change that. We'll see what happens."


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