Tiger Woods never spoke with Players Championship course marshals as he said he did when he and rival Sergio Garcia became involved in a flap, Sports Illustrated reported on Tuesday.
Woods won the event on Sunday for the second time in his career, stretching his lead atop the world rankings and moving within four of matching Sam Snead’s career record of 82 USPGA Tour titles.
However, the 37-year-old US player’s account of a second-hole incident involving Spain’s Garcia was called into doubt by marshals, who told Sports Illustrated in a report on the magazine’s Web site that they never spoke to Woods.
Woods, in his 631st week atop the rankings, hit a poor tee shot on the second hole in Saturday’s third round and was in the trees, while Garcia was on the right side of the fairway.
With Garcia candid in saying he and Woods are not friends, the pairing was tense from the start and a lack of communication had Garcia preparing a shot out of turn, unable to see Woods in the trees.
Garcia’s swing was disrupted by a slight cheer from the crowd gathered around Woods. Spectators reacted to Woods pulling a five-wood from his bag, a sign he was about to attempt a risky shot rather than simply pitch out.
After Garcia botched his shot, he glared in the direction of Woods and after the round criticized him for not being aware that Garcia was playing.
“You have to pay attention to what’s going on because the other guy is hitting,” Garcia said. “You do something when you’re in the crowd, and the crowd is going to respond.”
In response, Woods said, “The marshals, they told me he already hit, so I pulled a club and was getting ready to play my shot, and then I hear his comments afterward and it’s not real surprising that he’s complaining about something.”
However, marshal Gary Anderson told Sports Illustrated there were no comments exchanged between Woods and marshals in that moment.
“He didn’t ask us nothing and we didn’t say nothing,” Anderson said. “We’re told not to talk to the players.”
John North, chief marshal for the first three holes, agreed, saying: “Nothing was said to us and we certainly said nothing to him.”
Regarding Woods’ explanation, North said, “I was disappointed to hear him make those remarks. We’re there to help the players and enhance the experience of the fans. He was saying what was good for him. It lacked character.”