The flap between Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia just refuses to go away.
Two marshals who were part of the walking group accompanying Woods on the second round of the Players Championship have told the Florida Times-Union that he received the go-ahead from officials before selecting a club Saturday — an act that Garcia said created a roar from fans that discombobulated him on his shot. The marshals’ version is at odds with what two other marshals had told Sports Illustrated as they questioned Woods’s “character” and disputed his comment that he’d been told he could play.
“It is not true and definitely unfair to Tiger,” Brian Nedrich told the Times-Union of the SI report. “That’s because I was the one Tiger heard say that Sergio had hit.”
John North, chief marshal for the second hole, had told SI that: “Nothing was said to us and we certainly said nothing to him. 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.”
Gary Anderson, another marshal, told SI that: “He didn’t ask us nothing and we didn’t say nothing. We’re told not to talk to the players.”
However, Nedrich and Lance Paczkowski told the Times-Union they were 10-12 yards from Woods, with Paczkowski saying that “we talk to players all the time, if we need to in regards to their needs and crowd control.”
From the Times-Union:
The claim that Woods didn’t ask marshals whether Garcia had hit or not also is misleading because Woods never said he asked for help — only that he was told Garcia had hit.
Nedrich, who said he could barely see Garcia, got a glimpse of him swinging, then saw the ball in the air. When fans behind Woods began to stir, Paczkowski, his view of Garcia blocked by bushes, tried to quiet them and said, “the other player [Garcia] hasn’t hit yet.”
“That’s when I yelled back at Lance, ‘No … he’s already hit,’ ” Nedrich said. “Tiger had already taken his club, but we did tell him that Sergio had hit.”
Nedrich said he didn’t blame Woods for being mistaken about the sequence of events.
“There was a lot going on, as usual, when Tiger plays,” Nedrich said. “Then, he’s trying to have the concentration he needs to win a tournament. It’s easy to get small details out of whack when things happen so fast. It was an unfortunate incident and I don’t think either player is to blame.”
The SI article raised integrity issues about Woods, and numerous media websites picking up the story on Tuesday used the word “liar” or “Woods lied” in headlines.
Nedrich said that was stretching it.
“It’s disingenuous to suggest that Tiger is a liar because he got a minor detail wrong,” Nedrich said. “Basically, he told the truth.”
“Tiger Woods did not lie,” Paczkowski said. “Was there a small mistake in what he remembered? Yes. But I don’t think it rises to the level of lying.”
So that clears matters up, right? Unless more marshals come forward …