Remorseful Garcia hopes spat with Woods is behind him

Sergio Garcia says he left a handwritten note of apology in Tiger Woods' locker at Merion on Tuesday.    YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
Sergio Garcia says he left a handwritten note of apology in Tiger Woods' locker at Merion on Tuesday.    YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
Posted: June 12, 2013

Sergio Garcia's Tuesday at Merion didn't begin with a putt or a drive, but by slipping a note into the locker of Tiger Woods.

"A handwritten note," Garcia said.

The note's exact wording is unknown, but assume it reflected some remorse, and maybe Garcia's agitated state since he followed up critical comments of Woods at the Players Championship with a joke at a European Tour dinner last month about serving Woods fried chicken this week.

Preparing for this week's U.S. Open, Garcia and Woods shook hands on the practice tee Monday, but Garcia said he didn't feel that was the right time for a discussion or apology.

"We didn't discuss anything," Woods said on Tuesday. "[He] just came up and said 'Hi' - that was it."

"I was hoping to meet him after [Monday's] round but he was already gone," Garcia said. "The weather obviously didn't help."

Woods said Garcia hadn't apologized, although it should be noted that Woods' noon news conference probably was before he got to his locker. They are teeing off six hours apart on Thursday and Friday and probably won't even see each other until the weekend at the earliest.

"It's already done," Woods said. "We've already gone through it all. It's time for the U.S. Open and we tee it up in two days."

Garcia couldn't get away with saying the same at his own press session a few hours later, although he did start off by saying "like Tiger said, he's considering the matter closed and hopefully we can all move forward and kind of start competing, and respectfully, and hopefully we can all have a great tournament."

Later in the news conference, Garcia was asked by an African American reporter if he understood that his comments "extend beyond Tiger Woods."

"I understand that," Garcia said. "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."

The only thing he can do, Garcia said, is "show my respect from here moving forward . . . I will show you how much I care about everybody. So only time will tell, I guess."

Garcia wore a TaylorMade hat at his press session. The equipment company had issued a statement noting that Garcia's comment had been offensive and in no way aligned with the company's values and corporate culture.

"We have spoken with Sergio directly and he clearly has regret for his statement and we believe he is sincere," the company said in the statement.

Garcia was asked if this would be too much of a distraction for him to contend this week. "I don't know," he said. "We'll see. It obviously doesn't help, but it is my own fault."

Tied with Woods going to the 17th hole of the Players Championship in May, Garcia hit three balls in the water over the last two holes. That breakdown has been overshadowed so much that the water balls didn't even come up at his news conference.

The day before at the Players, Garcia, playing with Woods, had complained that he had lost concentration when the crowd cheered as Woods took a fairway wood out of his bag - indicating he would go for the green on the par-5 hole - just as Garcia was swinging across the fairway.

"Not real surprising that he's complaining about something," Woods said later.

"At least I'm true to myself," Garcia shot back.

That was a different Garcia than the one who addressed a packed media conference at Merion.

"Hopefully, he can take a look at it," Garcia said of his note to Woods. "And, you know, it's a big week and I understand that it's difficult to meet up and stuff. So, hopefully, I'll be able to do it. If not, at least he has read the note and he's happy with that."

Sergio's Tee Times

Thursday at 7:44 a.m.

Friday at 1:14 p.m.

With Stewart Cink and

Padraig Harrington.

Contact Mike Jensen at

comments powered by Disqus