Volunteers dispute account of Woods-Garcia controversy
After Sergio Garcia complained about Tiger Woods pulling a club before Garcia had played his shot on the par-5 second hole of the Players Championship on Saturday, Woods said that a marshal had told him Garcia had already played his shot. One marshal on the hole told Sports Illustrated that he did not tell Woods that Garcia had played the shot, but another marshal told the Florida Times-Union that he did talk to Woods about Garcia’s shot, although he talked to Woods after – not before – Garcia played his shot. From the Florida Times-Union:
Two Players Championship marshals who are part of the walking escort team for Tiger Woods are disputing an account in Sports Illustrated of the incident involving Woods and Sergio Garcia during the third round last Saturday.
Garcia claimed that Woods distracted him during his second shot at the second hole when Woods pulled a fairway metal out of his bag to hit out of the left trees, drawing a response from the crowd.
Woods said he was told by a marshal that Garcia, on the far right side of the fairway, about 50 yards away and obscured from Woods’ view, had already hit before he selected a club. Replays have since shown that the crowd made noise when Garcia was over his ball, but not in his backswing.
Two Players marshals, John North and Gary Anderson, were quoted by SI as saying that Woods didn’t ask any marshals about Garcia's status, and none was given.
But two volunteers -- marshal Brian Nedrich and escort Lance Paczkowski -- told the Times-Union that they did communicate with Woods about Garcia's shot.
Both said the claims there was no communication between Woods and volunteers are wrong and said that Woods was only mistaken about the sequence of events.
“It is not true and definitely unfair to Tiger,” said Nedrich, who was a marshal at the second hole. “That’s because I was the one Tiger heard say that Sergio had hit.”
While Woods was mistaken in his post-round comments about when he was told about Garcia's shot, Woods was not being intentionally misleading, the volunteers said.
“It’s disingenuous to suggest that Tiger is a liar because he got a minor detail wrong,” Nedrich said. “Basically, he told the truth.”
“Tiger Woods did not lie,” Paczkowski said. “Was there a small mistake in what he remembered? Yes. But I don't think it rises to the level of lying.”
"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."