Sport Golf

Friday 22 November 2019

Garcia wants to draw line under Tiger row

Sergio Garcia of Spain watches his tee shot on the third hole during a practice round ahead of the British Open golf championship at Muirfield
Sergio Garcia of Spain watches his tee shot on the third hole during a practice round ahead of the British Open golf championship at Muirfield

Carl Markham

Ryder Cup star Sergio Garcia insists a line has been drawn under his row with world number one Tiger Woods and both players have moved on.

The Spaniard became embroiled in controversy for making what could be construed as a racist remark about the American in May.


Despite a hand-written note and a handshake at last month's US Open the situation did not appear to have been fully resolved, with Woods claiming no direct apology had been forthcoming.


But Garcia believes the issue has been put behind them both now and he wants the focus to be on golf again, starting at The Open which begins tomorrow at Muirfield - a venue where Garcia has won before.


Asked whether he felt it had been dealt with conclusively, Garcia told Press Association Sport: "I don't know, I don't even want to talk about it.


"I think we have both moved on and that's it. I'd say a line has been drawn under it."


The controversy began when, after a falling-out at The Players Championship, Garcia was asked a couple of weeks later if he would invite Woods for dinner and he responded with an ill-advised comment about serving fried chicken.


He immediately offered an unreserved apology for his "stupid and out of place" remark and sought to rectify the situation at Merion a month ago, but it did not appear to have been done satisfactorily.


But on the eve of another major Garcia is now focused on finding his form.


He has fond memories of Muirfield as he won the Amateur Championship here in 1998 aged 18 and finished joint eighth in The Open's last visit to the Scottish links in 2002.


But Garcia does not expect those recollections to help him in any way when he tees off tomorrow alongside Lee Westwood and Charl Schwartzel.


"It brings good memories but that is it. What I did in 1998 or 2002 is not going to make any difference this week," he added.


"This week is different. I think the course is playing faster and firmer than I've ever played it but you still have to hit the shots.


"It changes the strategy a little bit, there are different clubs you have to use off the tees and you have to fiddle it around a little bit.


"And if the wind changes like it is supposed to on Friday or Saturday the course will play totally different so it's going to be a mental game."


Garcia is a favourite with the Open galleries and he hopes to be able to feed off their support, having been heckled at Meriod after his Woods comments.


"I feel fortunate that crowds have treated me well everywhere in the world but the British crowd have always carried me and that is amazing with me not being British," he said.


"To see the support I get from this crowd is unbelievable.


"I feel okay but I have to feel good when the tournament starts and as the week goes on and there are certain things that can happen so that can make a difference.


"I'll go round and see where it ends."

PA Media

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