Category: Sergio Garcia

November 12, 2013

Sergio Garcia says outrage over his 'fried chicken' comment was a learning experience

Posted at 5:05 PM by Mike Walker

The 2012 golf season had many highlights to choose from -- Adam Scott at the Masters, Phil Mickelson at Muirfield, Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer sharing a laugh at Bay Hill after Tiger reclaimed the No. 1 ranking-- but the lowlight of the season is pretty clear: Sergio Garcia making a "fried chicken" joke at Woods' expense after the two longtime rivals had a spat the Players Championship.

Garcia has apologized repeatedly since making the remark. In a new interview with CNN Living Golf's Shane O'Donoghue [above], Garcia talks about being in the center of a media storm following Garcia saying he wanted to invite Woods to dinner and "serve fried chicken."

"It was horrible, but what's done is done. Everybody knows how I feel about it, so I think they should be fine with it and if not, it's kind of their problem," he said. "The most important thing is learning from all those things.

"I'm making sure that all those experiences make you stronger, a better person and things like that. I think that I've learned from those things and I just need to keep getting better at it, and hopefully keep making people happy."


June 15, 2013

Sergio Garcia makes a 10, still getting heckled at Merion

Posted at 4:29 PM by Jeff Ritter

ARDMORE, Pa. -- In case you haven't noticed, Sergio Garcia isn't having a swell week here at Merion.

Garcia has apologized in press conferences, and he's left Tiger Woods a note and shaken his hand, but fans are not yet ready to let the Spaniard live down the offensive fried-chicken remark he directed at Woods at a dinner on May 21. On Saturday afternoon, the 33-year-old was heckled with "fried chicken" on his opening tee shot at the par-4 11th. You can see that one here:

He took the catcall in stride and plodded along, making a couple of bogeys in his first four holes, when disaster struck at the par-4 15th. That hole is tricky -- there's out-of-bounds just left of the fairway, along with a narrow path for spectators to line up along the ropes and get a good long look at the players. Garcia made a quadruple-bogey 8 there on Thursday. On Saturday, he snapped three straight tee shots O.B. and made a big, ugly 10.

This week the fans haven't been quite as rough as those who attended the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black, when Garcia was fighting a bad case of the waggles and the crowd let him have it. I caught up with the member of the local police force who's tagging along with Garcia inside the ropes this week. It was reported Thursday that Garcia was given the chance to have hecklers ejected from the course, but Garcia declined. On Saturday afternoon, after the latest chicken-insult and the 10 that brought some more grief, I found the officer and asked if any fans had been booted for taunting Sergio. "No," he said flatly. It was a nice talk.

Things didn't get much easier for Garcia. After the 10, he appeared to mope for a bit, but two holes later he was smiling and chatting with his playing partners, Rickie Fowler and Robert Karlsson. On Merion's famed 18th hole, the one with Ben Hogan's plaque in the center of the fairway, fans can line the ropes from tee to green, and there's a big, bright concession stand just a few steps away. This week they're selling Budweiser for $6.50. (For the refined fan, there's Beringer wine for one extra dollar.) As Sergio trudged up the fairway, one fan clutching a cup of beer hollered, "Sergio! Como estas?" A few moments later, another cracked, "Sergio! You're nothing!" That guy had a beer in his hand, too. Sergio didn't break stride.

As Garcia lined up a long birdie putt on the 18th green, just a short chip shot away Phil Mickelson teed off on No. 1 in front a boisterous crowd that roared its adoration and support. Garcia glanced in Mickelson's direction before missing his putt. The throng of happy Mickelson fans were out of earshot by the time Garcia tapped in for par, dropped his head and marched on to his next shot.

June 13, 2013

Few boos for Sergio Garcia on first tee at Merion

Posted at 9:57 AM by Mike Walker
Sergio Garcia hits his tee shot on the par-3 13th at Merion on Thursday morning (Getty Images).

Philadelphia's famously tough fans have booed hall of famers and even Santa Claus -- hey, Santa had it coming -- but the fans at the U.S. Open were easy on Sergio Garcia on Thursday morning at Merion following Garcia's well-publicized dustup with Tiger Woods.

Garcia is even through three holes, although he hooked his tee shot O.B. on the 14th hole before play was suspended due to heavy rain. Garcia and playing partners Padraig Harrington and Stewart Cink started play on the 11th hole.

June 10, 2013

Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia shake hands on Merion driving range

Posted at 5:29 PM by Mike Walker

Tiger_Serge_600Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia [right] at the Merion practice range Monday (Getty Images).

Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia shared a brief handshake on the driving range at Merion Golf Club on Monday, the first time the two have talked since Garcia made a racist joke about Woods at a European Tour dinner last month. According to ESPN, Woods declined to discuss the handshake on Monday:

Asked about their brief exchange after a practice round Monday, Woods politely said "I'm not going there" and simply made reference to a Tuesday news conference in advance of the U.S. Open at Merion.

Woods and Garcia have long had a chippy relationship, and, playing together in the third round of the Players Championship, their mutual disdain was clear. Garcia complained after the round that Woods was inconsiderate when he pulled a club out before Garcia hit, causing fans to cheer, which distracted Garcia. Asked about Garcia's comments, Woods said, "It's not real surprising that he's complaining about something."

Speaking at a European Tour dinner the following week, Garcia was asked if he would have dinner with Woods. Garcia responded, "We'll have him 'round every night," Garcia said. "We will serve fried chicken."

Garcia apologized for the comment and called it "totally stupid and out of place." He also said he called Woods' agent Mark Steinberg to try to apologize personally. Woods did not speak with Garcia, but accepted his apology via Twitter.

"The comment that was made wasn't silly," Woods asserted in a series of tweets. "It was wrong, hurtful and clearly inappropriate. I'm confident that there is real regret the remark was made. The Players ended nearly two weeks ago and it's long past time to move on and talk about golf."

Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia are both scheduled to address the media at Merion on Tuesday.

May 24, 2013

Daly to Tiger and Sergio: Please Kiss and Make Up

Posted at 10:37 AM by Josh Sens

Can’t you two just get along?

That plaintive plea for peace comes from country crooner and tender-souled two-time major champion, John Daly, who weighed in this week on the undying Sergio Garcia-Tiger Woods kerfuffle.

Taking to Twitter on Wednesday, Daly dispatched this imploring message:


Daly’s Kumbaya request came around the same time as another feel-good message, this one from former European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal, who referenced his own spat with Padraig Harrington as a model for what Sergio and Tiger might do. Olazabal and Harrington had a testy exchange 10 years ago over the repair of pitch marks on a green during the Seve Trophy match between Continental Europe and Britain/Ireland. Olazabal said the two men had put that matter in the past.

“I had my incident with Harrington at the Seve Trophy in Valencia,” Olazabal said. “We had some issues. Certain things hurt you but in time you tend to forget and you eventually put things in perspective. Nowadays there is no issue between Padraig and me and that’s the way it should be.”

It has now been nearly two weeks since things went sideways between Woods and Garcia during the third round at The Players Championship, and Woods, at least, appears to have moved on.

For Garcia, meanwhile, the matter has evolved into a kind of public therapy session, one that took an unfortunately twist this past week with his “fried chicken” comments at a European Tour function.

On his own Twitter feed, Woods called Garcia’s remark “hurtful” but said that it was “long past time to move on.”

Easier said than done. How can two men put a spat behind them when people keep reminding them that they don’t get along?

(Photo: David Walberg/Sports Illustrated)

May 23, 2013

Lee Westwood artfully dodges Tiger-Sergio questions

Posted at 12:55 PM by Coleman McDowell

Lee_300Lee Westwood just wants to talk about his beard [in embryonic state at right].

In his Wednesday press conference before the BMW PGA Championship, Westwood was peppered with questions regarding Sergio Garcia's comments about Tiger Woods made at a European Tour gala awards evening earlier this week.

Westwood initially said Tiger wouldn't be bothered by Sergio's comments. He followed by saying he didn't even know what Sergio said. The next logical question should have been: "How can you know Tiger won't be bothered then?" But it wasn't. It only led to a reporter trying to explain Sergio's comments while simultaneously interrupted by Westwood.

The former world's No. 1 player summed up his thoughts on the matter with: "It's just an awkward situation where they just obviously don't get on. You know, you guys all stoke it up as much you can and sometimes you don't need to. Not really any of my business. I fortunately get on well with both of them. But I have no interest in getting in the middle of that relationship, if there is one."

He was pressed to comment. "You didn't hear what I said then," Westwood said. "Said I had no interest in getting in the middle of that relationship. There is no follow‑up to that answer.  Can we move on to the beard?"

But no one wants to talk about the beard. We just need to know Westwood's thoughts on Sergio's fried chicken "joke."

"McGregor (Westwood's fitness coach) has not let me eat fried chicken for three or four years because it goes straight on my hips," Westwood said. "Now I'm 40, I have to now seriously think about what I'm eating."

Such a graceful side-step.

"I just said two answers ago -– quite sure I said I'm not getting in the middle of that relationship. It's got absolutely nothing to do with me because I get on well with both of them. Any golf questions?"

Better yet, any beard questions?

(Photo: Getty)

Euro Tour boss says Sergio has many 'colored' friends

Posted at 11:14 AM by

Ogrady_300Foot-in-mouth disease appears to be contagious on the European Tour.

A day after Sergio Garcia caused a major row by making a racially insensitive joke about Tiger Woods, European Tour chief executive George O'Grady used the dated and racially insensitive term "colored" while saying that the European Tour accepts Garcia's apology for saying that he'd serve Woods "fried chicken" for dinner at the U.S. Open.

The Daily Mail UK has the details:

O'Grady has sparked fresh anger with his comments on Sky Sports 1: "It's very unfortunate and we are in the middle of it, but we made a statement that both together with commissioner Tim Finchem from the PGA Tour we spoke to Sergio and after what was really a very full and frank discussion on the whole issue that we'd accept his really heartfelt apology and we were convinced that he was trying to be funny -- that it was a lighthearted remark."

"We know the connotation in the United States. We accept all races on the European Tour, we take it very strongly. Most of Sergio's friends are colored athletes in the United States and he is absolutely abject in his apology and we accepted it."

UPDATE: O'Grady has apologized for his remarks, according to the BBC: "I deeply regret using an inappropriate word in a live interview for Sky Sports for which I unreservedly apologize."  

Photo: Getty Images


May 20, 2013

Tiger won't make up with Sergio anytime soon

Posted at 2:06 PM by Coleman McDowell

Ae946adfa9ee4d848633046387e2ac25-0Tiger Woods didn't mince words when asked if he considered calling Sergio Garcia after "The Pulled 5-Wood Heard Around The World" at The Players Championship to finally make up, put their rivalry to bed and just "chill."

"No," Woods replied with a slight smile after a short pause (watch the video below).

The incident in question has been dissected since the Players ended with Woods claiming his fourth win this season. Sergio said the crowd noise after Tiger pulled a club from his bag caused Garcia's mishit on the par-5 2nd hole at TPC Sawgrass. Woods said a marshal told him Sergio had already hit. Two marshals said that never happened. Two different marshals spoke otherwise.

Whatever the truth is, Woods has his story. And he is sticking to it.

"Obviously, the matter has been put behind me. The truth came out. As I was saying the entire time, I told people what I had heard and what had happened," Woods told the USA Today's Steve DiMeglio after a press conference promoting the AT&T National on Monday.

You can watch video of Tiger's press conference below. We're eagerly awaiting Sergio's response.

(Photo: AP)


May 15, 2013

Volunteers dispute account of Woods-Garcia controversy

Posted at 3:54 PM by Mike Walker

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."


May 13, 2013

Marshal: I didn't say anything to Tiger about Sergio

Posted at 6:12 PM by Mike Walker

Woods_garcia_600Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods during the third round of the 2013 Players Championship.

Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia had a misunderstanding on the par-5 second hole at TPC Sawgrass on Saturday that reignited the two golfers' longtime feud. However, the marshal who was following the group said Woods's explanation for his actions on the hole was not true, according to Sports Illustrated's Michael Bamberger. [See update below.]

In the third round, on the 2nd hole, Woods hit a poor tee shot into the left trees. García hit a better tee shot, on the right side of the fairway. If the players had been communicating properly, García and Woods, or their caddies, would have established an order of play. But there was nothing like that. García, playing out of turn but not able to see Woods, was disrupted as he started his swing by a modest cheer from the woods, where a large group of spectators had surrounded Tiger, forming a human V around his ball. The cheers were a response to Woods’s pulling a five-wood out of his bag, meaning that he was going to attempt an absurdly difficult recovery shot. García, after fatting his shot, turned his round chin in Woods’s direction and glared.

“It’s very simple,” García said during an NBC interview. “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.”

Returning serve, Woods said, “The marshals, they told me he already hit, so I pulled a club and was getting ready to play my shot, and then I hear his comments afterward and it’s not real surprising that he’s complaining about something.”

Well, when they heard that remark from Woods, the marshals were surprised. One of them, Gary Anderson, said on Sunday, “He didn’t ask us nothing, and we didn’t say nothing. We’re told not to talk to the players.”

Anderson’s boss, John North, was the chief marshal for the first three holes. He stood over Woods’s ball to protect it from the throng and was five feet away when Woods played his shot. North has worked the tournament as a volunteer marshal for 30 years, he’s a graduate of the Naval Academy, he served in Vietnam, he’s a FedEx pilot and he donates his round on the Stadium course for being a volunteer to the Wounded Warriors project.

“Nothing was said to us and we certainly said nothing to him,” North said. “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.”

Hours later, his workweek done, North watched the tournament on TV in a military appreciation tent. “I hate to say it, but I was rooting for him,” North said of Woods. “It tears me apart. But when he’s winning..."


UPDATE: According to The Florida Times-Union, a different marshal at the second hole said that he told Woods that Garcia had hit after Garcia hit his shot. Brian Nedrich, a marshal at the second hole, said Woods was wrong about the time sequence -- Woods had already grabbed his club before the marshal told him Garcia had hit -- but that Woods did communicate with volunteers. “It is not true and definitely unfair to Tiger,” Nedrich said of claims that no marshal said anything to Woods about Garcia. “That’s because I was the one Tiger heard say that Sergio had hit.”

In a follow-up interview Wednesday morning, North said that, with an earpiece in one ear, it was possible that other officials had an exchange with Woods that he did not hear. He said he was beside Woods's ball as he prepared to play his shot but was as much as 20 feet away when Woods actually swung. He said his statement about "character" was based on his understanding that no marshal had said anything to Woods.

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