Tiger Woods was in the scorer’s trailer when Sergio Garcia put the last of three balls in the water down the stretch to fall out of contention for the 2013 Players Championship. Somehow, however, Garcia still managed to blame his nemesis for distracting him during Saturday’s third round.
"It sounds like I was the bad guy here," Garcia told reporters after posting a final-round 4-over 76 that included a quadruple-bogey 7 on the par-3 17th and a double on the last. "I was the victim. I don’t have any regrets about anything."
None? Hard to imagine, after Garcia, with the title on the line and in a tie with Woods for the lead with two to go, coughed it up in spectacular fashion.
The 2008 Players champion began Sunday’s final round sharing first place with Woods and rookie David Lingmerth of Sweden. After a birdie at the par-5 16th, Garcia seemed poised to overtake the bane of his existence, or at least reprise their Saturday outing in a playoff, after Tiger, leading by two with five holes to play, drenched his own tee shot on 14 and fell into a four-way tie at the top.
The two were neck and neck as Garcia stood on the 17th tee and then it all fell apart for the eight-time tour winner. Sergio heard hoots and hollers from the crowd after he pumped his second shot into the lake, but Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee said the brash Spaniard reaped what he had sown.
"Sergio brings this on himself," Chamblee said. "They erupted, they clapped, they cheered....All that is coming on the heels of his comments yesterday on the second hole."
It was a less-than-dramatic finish to a tense weekend that began when the two adversaries went head-to-head on Saturday and their mutual dislike went very public.
Garcia got the ball rolling by accusing Woods, in a TV interview during a weather delay, of causing his errant shot on the second hole. As Garcia was making his swing, the gallery surrounding Woods, some 50 yards away and in the trees, cheered loudly when their man plucked a club from his bag, signaling his intent to go for the green.
Woods, whose antipathy for Garcia dates back to a 2000 made-for-TV exhibition between the two, shot back at his would-be rival later on Saturday.
"Not real surprising that he's complaining about something," Woods said, eliciting another riposte from Garcia. Woods, he said, was "not the nicest guy on tour."
Still sore about the incident Sunday night, Sergio was like a dog with a bone. Woods, however, was the winner with a trophy.
"No, we just go out there and play," Woods said in his post-victory presser about whether he was especially satisfied to beat Garcia after what had transpired over the weekend. "I had an opportunity to win a golf tournament. I was tied for the lead today and I thought I handled the situation well and really played well today when I really needed to."