Wednesday 25 April 2018

Garcia: I couldn't apologise to Tiger on course so I left him a note

Sergio Garcia
Sergio Garcia

Phil Casey

Sergio Garcia left a hand-written note on Tiger Woods' locker after being unable to apologise in person when the pair met on the practice range ahead of the US Open at Merion.

Garcia escaped punishment for what could be construed as a racist remark about Woods after offering an unreserved apology for his "stupid and out of place" comments at the European Tour's annual awards ceremony last month.

During a Q&A session involving the full Ryder Cup team, the 33-year-old was asked if he would invite Woods to dinner one night at Merion to end the feud between them, which resurfaced at the Players Championship.

"We will have him round every night," Garcia said. "We will serve fried chicken."

Garcia initially issued an apology overnight for his "silly remark" and then held a press conference the following afternoon to apologise again, but was asked by Woods' agent to wait until the US Open to speak to Woods in person.

That occurred on Monday with Woods accepting Garcia's offered handshake, but the world number one said a direct apology was not made.

"We have not had time for that," Woods said. "We did not discuss anything. He came up and said 'Hi' and that was it. It's already done. It's time for the US Open."

Garcia added: "We saw each other on the range. I felt it was not the appropriate place, out of respect to him and the other players to do it there, so I was hoping to meet him after the round but he was gone. This morning I was here early and I did not see him around.

"I did leave him a hand-written note and hopefully he can take a look at it. It's a big week and I understand that it's difficult to meet up. Hopefully we will be able to but if not, at least he can read the note and be happy with that.

"If he wants to show you (the media) the note he can, I don't have any problem with that. But I am not going to be the one showing."

Woods responded to Garcia's initial apologies via Twitter, writing: "The comment that was made wasn't silly. It was wrong, hurtful and clearly inappropriate.

"I'm confident that there is real regret that the remark was made. The Players ended nearly two weeks ago and it's long past time to move on and talk about golf."

He reiterated those sentiments at the Memorial Tournament a fortnight ago, where he shot the worst nine-hole score of his professional career with an outward 44 in the third round at Muirfield Village.

And Garcia added: "Like he said, he considers the matter closed. He has moved on and I am happy that he feels that way. I was a little bit nervous. With him taking the step forward and that he considers the matter closed means a lot to me."

It remains to be seen if the row will cost the Ryder Cup star financially, with Garcia's major sponsors TaylorMade-adidas describing his comment as "offensive" and adding that the matter was still under review.

"I have been very worried about the whole situation," Garcia added. "I felt terrible about it. TaylorMade is aware of my apology. I told them I want to be a respectful competitor to everyone.

"I know everything I say or do affects my sponsors."

Asked by a black journalist - who himself said he was offended by the remark - if he understood that his comment was offensive, Garcia added: "That's why I said sorry, because I can obviously see that I hurt a lot of people. And that doesn't make me feel good. I can tell you that.

"I wish I could go back in time and take back what I said, but unfortunately, I said it. You know, the only thing I can do is show you my respect from here moving forward. I tried to be as respectful as possible competing and hopefully what I do will show you how much I care about everybody."

Press Association

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