The Spaniard has been in contention at the majors plenty of times, including last year's Open at Royal Liverpool. He played with Woods in the final group on Sunday, only to wilt in a garish yellow outfit, much like a ripened banana left out in the sun.
A final-round 73 dropped him into a tie for fifth further proof that Garcia has all the shots to contend with Woods but still hasn't learned to finish. Maybe this will be the one.
Woods provided another improbable shot for his majors collection, something to go with his chip-in at the 2005 Masters and the 4-iron he holed out from the fairway at Hoylake a year ago.
At the difficult 16th, Woods' tee shot barely made the front of the green. He was only trying to set up an easy two-putt when he sent the ball rolling toward the cup. It kept going and going and dropped in.
Woods threw both arms in the air, then shrugged his shoulders as he looked toward caddie Steve Williams.
"I was just trying to get it up there close," said Woods, seeking a fourth Open title overall and 13th major championship in his incessant pursuit of Jack Nicklaus' career record. "Lo and behold, it falls in."
As if Woods doesn't have enough talent, the Royal & Ancient was there to help him along.
When he tugged his tee shot into deep rough left of the 10th fairway, the ball settled on a strand of television cables. Rules official Alan Holmes gave Woods relief within one club length, claiming the cables couldn't be moved. But Mark Roe, a former European tour player now working for the BBC, moved them 3 feet.
The ruling enabled Woods to drop in trampled grass. He hit a long iron to just short of the green, followed with a nifty pitch and saved par with an 8-foot putt.
"I didn't ask for it," Woods insisted. "The guy just said I could."