'He's a very sore loser' - Padraig Harrington claims he and Sergio Garcia said hello through 'gritted teeth' at Augusta
Padraig Harrington claims Sergio Garcia was a 'very sore loser' during their major duels in 2007 and 2008 but was pleased to see the Spaniard celebrating on the 18th green on Sunday at Augusta.
Garcia ended a run of 73 major appearances without a win with a sudden-death playoff victory over Justin Rose on what should have been the 60th birthday of his idol Seve Ballesteros.
The bitter rivalry between Harrington and Garcia is believed to stem from a rules row between the Dubliner and Garcia's compatriot Jose Marie Olazabal at the Seve Trophy in 2003.
The Irishman edged out García on the final green of the PGA Championship at Oakland Hills in 2008 and defeated the Spaniard in a play-off to win the 2007 Open Championship at Carnoustie — an occasion remembered as much for the frostiness of their interaction as it was for the excellence of their golf.
Speaking on 2FM’s Game On programme, Harrington said that Garcia benefited from playing the final round with Rose and not someone he disliked.
"There would have been a danger, if we were playing each other, that we’d both pull each other down," he said.
"Myself and Sergio have been on tour pretty much as long as each other. We would have been opposites.
"His is a very flamboyant game, everything comes easy. There were periods when he never practiced.
"We were such opposites...I worked at it, grinded it out, got the best out of it.
"I’m very strong on the etiquette of the game, so I don’t tolerate people spitting in the hole, throwing their shoes or their golf clubs. That would be my attitude. That would be quite clear from where I came from.
"Then we would have went into the majors, and obviously I beat him. I gave him every out I possibly could have at the 2007 Open.
"I was as polite as I could and was as generous as I could be, but he was a very sore loser. And he continued to be a very sore loser.
"Clearly, after that, we have had a very sticky [relationship]."
Harrington did admit that he and Garcia were on better terms because of their association with the Ryder Cup but had said hello through "gritted teeth" at the Masters.
"The Ryder Cup improves it no end, but we say hello to each other every day we meet, but it’s with gritted teeth. There’s no doubt about it," he added
"It’s just one of those things...we’re rivals.
"I was delighted to see the emotion on the 18th green. Anybody watching that has got to feel for him. You could see in that moment in time that he has paid his dues."