US Open

Sergio Garcia the apologies king of golf

Spaniard apologises once again but Tiger Woods looks set to drag this saga out for a bit longer

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 June, 2013, 5:52am


A handshake on the driving range. A handwritten note left quietly in his locker.

About the only thing Sergio Garcia hasn't done this week is send Tiger Woods a box of chocolates. There's still time, of course. On second thoughts, maybe a nice bouquet of flowers tucked inside one of those wicker baskets they use for flags here might work better. C'mon. What's a fellow got to do to prove he's sorry?

Unfortunately for Garcia, Woods doesn't forget easily. He tends to forgive even less

"You know, it's a big week and I understand that it's difficult to meet up and stuff," Garcia said.

Can't be that hard. Woods himself mentioned he had dinner plans overnight with his niece, Cheyenne. Maybe Garcia could at least get in a few words over dessert.

Or maybe he should just forget the whole thing and do what Woods said he had done - consider the matter closed. Whether Woods actually meant that will be debated in the locker room as much as what Garcia meant last month when he said he would have Woods over for dinner during the Open and serve him fried chicken every night.

Woods let Fuzzy Zoeller twist in the wind for years after he made a similar comment at the US Masters. No reason to think Garcia will fare any better.

That's probably why the Spaniard looked like someone had stolen his favourite putter when he met the media , knowing that most of the questions would have nothing to do with historic Merion or Garcia's chances of finally winning a major in this Open.

He talked about moving forward and being forgiven. Said he made dumb mistakes but was trying to learn from them.

"I wish I could go back in time and take back what I said, but unfortunately, I said it," Garcia said. "You know, the only thing I can do is show you my respect from here, moving forward."

Unfortunately for Garcia, Woods doesn't forget easily. He tends to forgive even less.

After 14 years of chasing after Woods on the golf course, Garcia must chase him just to offer an apology. He seems to have about as much chance of success as he does winning a major of his own.

"It's already done," Woods said, dismissing Garcia as easily as he does most autograph seekers. "We've already gone through it all. It's time for the US Open and we tee it up in two days."

The lingering effects of the dust-up did do one thing. It drew some of the spotlight from the decision by the US Golf Association to return the Open to Merion, an old and short course that could be easy pickings for the best players in the world.

Heavy rain over the past few days has softened the course so much that it will change how it plays, and certainly not for the better.

This had shaped up as a promising year for Garcia to rebound from several years of poor play until he imploded while battling Woods for the title at The Players Championship a month ago.

Garcia implied in a TV interview that Woods made the crowd cheer during his backswing, and later upped the ante with more criticism of Woods. "He called me a whiner. That's probably right," Garcia said then. "It's also probably the first thing he's told you guys that's true in 15 years."

It was all good stuff, if not good fun. But then Garcia crossed the line with a comment about fried chicken that reminded everyone that golf still struggles with issues of race and class. Garcia said he immediately felt sick to his stomach and wasted little time in issuing a public apology to Woods.

He's still at it, getting as far as a handshake on the range on Monday before deciding it wasn't the proper place to make amends. He followed with a note left in Woods' locker on Tuesday, and repeated his mea culpa before the media.

He may never win an Open. For now, though, he's the undisputed clubhouse leader in attempted apologies.