In first interview since Players, Sergio says Tiger 'doesn't make a difference to my life'

Sergio Garcia, Tiger Woods
TANNEN MAURY / EPA
Garcia and Woods played together during a contentious third round at the Players Championship.

VIRIGINIA WATER, England -- The verbal spat that erupted between Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods at the Players Championship shows no sign of finding a happy ending.

"He called me a whiner. He's probably right," Garcia said Monday at Wentworth, England, at the start of the week of the BMW PGA Championship. "But that's also probably the first thing he's told you guys that's true in 15 years. I know what he's like. You guys are finding out."

Garcia was speaking at an event hosted by his sponsor, TaylorMade-Adidas. Earlier on Monday, Woods held a press conference to promote the AT&T National, which benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation, where he was asked if he would call Garcia to clear the air. His resounding one-word answer spoke volumes. "No." Garcia's response on hearing this was equally as icy. "That doesn't surprise me. That's what he's like."

So would Sergio take the moral high ground and call Tiger? Not a bit of it.

"First of all, I don't have his number. And secondly, I did nothing wrong and don't have anything to say to him. And he wouldn't pick up the phone anyway. But that's OK; I don't need him as a friend. I don't need him in my life to be happy and that's fine. It's as simple as that. Like I have always said, I try to be as truthful as possible," Garcia said. "That's why I think sometimes most of the people love me and some hate me. I understand that but I'm not going to change. That's what makes me who I am and that's what makes me happy. And that's what makes the people I care about happy because they know they can trust me. Tiger doesn't make a difference to my life. And I know that I don't make a difference to his life."

The spat at Sawgrass, when Sergio accused Tiger of disrespect after Woods pulled a club as Garcia was about to hit a shot from across the fairway, is just the latest in a career of fallouts.

These guys have history.

A teenage Garcia irritated Woods at the 1999 PGA Championship by pointing across the course at Tiger as if to challenge him. Sergio tweaked Tiger's nose again shortly afterward by beating him in a made-for-TV match and celebrating too much for Woods's tastes. Then there was the 2006 Open Championship at Hoylake when Tiger went out in the final group along with Sergio who was dressed all in yellow. Tiger won and reportedly texted friends: "I just bludgeoned Tweety Bird."

Clearly there will be a lack of olive branches when these two rivals next meet on the first tee. Neither cares what the other thinks, but for spectators the animosity certainly adds spice. Sport thrives on rivalries and there are all too few in golf. "This is not just one thing; this has been going on for a long time," Garcia said. "It's happened in other tournaments. The problem is I'm one of the guys that just has to say something. A lot of people think about it, but don't want to say anything. Tiger can and will beat me a lot of times in tournaments but he's not going to step on top of me. I'm not afraid of him."

 

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