Sports Commentary 5/23/13
The feud of Tiger and Sergio..
The feud between Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods didn’t start over Tiger pulling a fairway wood out of his bag while Sergio was in the middle of the downswing on an approach shot in the third round of the Players Championship, this goes back nearly a decade and a half. The Hatfields and McCoys had nothing on the Garcias and Woods’. The ugly turn it’s taken has brought the bad blood to a boil and Garcia stepped over a line this week. At a European Tour awards dinner a media wag jokingly asked Sergio, in light of recent events, if he would invite Tiger to dinner during next month’s U.S. Open. Sergio, attempting to be something he’s not, naturally funny and endearing, cracked about having Tiger over for dinner every night and serving him chicken. On the surface, a racially insensitive remark, but there’s something the public needs to understand about Sergio Garcia, he’s not the loveable character a number of commercials tried to portray him to be. He’s an idiot. And he’s not a very nice person. Once, with a number of players still having to complete the round behind him, Sergio missed a birdie putt. His response, after eventually pulling his ball from the hole, was to spit into the cup. Ask the players behind him who had to then reach into the cup about what an entertaining character Sergio is. The thing with Tiger goes back to the last century, Sergio staring down Tiger after a birdie in the final round of the 1999 PGA Championship to take a lead in a major eventually won by Woods. A year later Sergio beat Tiger in the made for television “Battle of Big Horn” and acted like he’d sunk the winning birdie putt on 18 on Sunday at the Masters. Tiger’s hands aren’t clean in this and, in some fairness to Sergio, anyone who gets into a personality conflict with Tiger will only get the worst of it. The adoring media will rally around Tiger and, while a spotlight shines on Sergio’s every boneheaded statement or idiotic stunt, much of what Tiger contributes goes under-reported, if reported at all. At the 2006 U.S. Open Tiger went to the final round with a one stroke lead over Sergio, who showed up dressed in yellow. After Tiger won the championship he cracked that he had “Just bludgeoned Tweety Bird.” It’s not a pretty situation for the PGA Tour to have to endure, but it’s not up to the Tour to mediate personal disputes. It’s up to the players to deal with their issues with each other and keep them out of the public purview. In this case the situation escalated when Woods pulled his club out of the bag while Sergio was swinging in the third round of the Players, evoking a loud reaction from the crowd. Neither player handled it well, Sergio, upset about the resulting mishit and saying so publicly while commenting about how unliked Tiger is on Tour, Tiger deflecting the blame to the marshalls, with whom he reportedly never has any interaction while on the course, claiming it was that interaction that led to the interference with Sergio’s game. Tiger is no saint, this year alone he’s been involved in no fewer than three “drop” controversies, and any relationships with fellow pros are kept to a minimum, but there is no excuse for the line Sergio crossed this week, which, in this case, was much more a line of stupidity than racism. It might be a good time for Sergio to take a break from the Tour and get his head, and his relationships with his sponsors, straight. He’s clearly demonstrted he has yet to learn how to handle the combined pressure of competitive golf and the spotlight of controversy, something Tiger’s lived with, and handled, his entire career. With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.