Tiger Woods has winning next month’s U.S. Open on his mind and said Wednesday that his years-long spat with Sergio Garcia was history.
“It’s already done with,” Woods told reporters gathered at Muirfield Golf Club for this week's Memorial Tournament about the silly-turned-ugly squabble that took center course at The Players Championship and devolved into a racially tinged row in the intervening days. “It’s time to move on.”
The Tiger-Sergio feud was years in the making, and with the pair’s war of words intensifying after Garcia and his defenders compounded one racist comment with another, it is difficult to imagine any thawing of the cold war the golfers have waged since 1999. Indeed, Woods has shown less tolerance for Garcia’s racially charged jibe than for others various people have lobbed his way.
Woods has historically eschewed public talk of racial intolerance throughout his career. The then-21-year-old offered no comment about Fuzzy Zoeller calling him a “little boy” at the 1997 Masters, gave Golf Channel’s Kelly Tilghman a pass when she joked in 2008 that his opponents should "lynch him in a back alley" to gain competitive advantage, and cut Steve Williams some slack after his ex-caddie’s coarse celebration (“I wanted to shove it up that black a***hole”) of his new boss’ 2011 Bridgestone Invitational win.
More than in the past, Woods went on the offensive last week in a stinging rebuke over social media of Garcia’s “fried chicken” comment, and he addressed the situation again on Wednesday. He preferred, however, to discuss preparations for the defense of his 2012 Memorial title and the conditions at Merion Country Club rather than racial politics inside or outside the ropes.
“I live it. It’s happened my entire life, and it’s happened my entire career, so that [Sergio’s ill-advised attempt at a joke] doesn’t surprise me,” said Woods, who called Garcia out for his “wrong, hurtful and clearly inappropriate” words last week via Twitter. “It exists all around the world, not just in the sport of golf.”