• PGA Tour

Nicklaus brands Tiger-Sergio spat 'stupid'

ESPN staff
May 30, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »

Tiger Woods spoke publicly on Wednesday for the first time since Sergio Garcia made racially insensitive comments in reference to him last week in England. And he didn't say much.

During a news conference at the Memorial Tournament, where he is the defending champion, Woods said he expected the controversy to end whether he speaks to Garcia or not.

"That's already done with," Woods said when asked if he would talk to Garcia when they are both together again in two weeks at the US Open.

Tournament host Jack Nicklaus also seemed tired of the spat.

"The Sergio-Tiger thing, I mean it's stupid," Nicklaus said when asked generally about golfers and their differences. "I mean ... do guys have an issue with one another? They usually resolve it themselves. You guys want to resolve it in the newspapers today. Nobody needs that. And I think they both finally said it's enough. Let's move on."

Woods said he has not spoken to Garcia, who offered a statement of apology, did so again at a news conference a week ago at the BMW PGA Championship and called Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg.

More than two weeks of friction between the two golfers was heightened when Garcia tried to make a joke in reference to sharing time with Woods at the US Open.

"We will have him round every night. We will serve fried chicken," Garcia said.

That came on the heels of their back and forth that started at the Players Championship, where the two were grouped together in the third round. Garcia said he was distracted by crowd noise that could have been avoided had Woods not pulled a club from his bag, and the two traded barbs, with marshals on the hole even getting involved after the fact.

And it continued into last week in England, where Garcia said: "I mean, you can't like everybody. I think that there's people that you connect with and there's people that you don't. You know, it's pretty much as simple as that. I think that he doesn't need me in his life, I don't need him in mine, and let's move on and keep doing what we're doing."

That came earlier in the day, prior to the "fried chicken" comment, which can be viewed as racially insensitive.

While Woods wants to move on, he clearly did not take the "fried chicken" comments lightly.

On Wednesday, Woods was asked about dealing with racial issues throughout his career.

"Well, I live it," he said. "It's happened my entire life, and it's happened my entire career. So that doesn't surprise me. It exists all around the world, not just in the sport of golf. It exists everywhere. I know that a lot of people are trying to make a difference and trying to make it more fair for all of us."

When asked about the abundance of outside-the-ropes news in golf this year - the anchoring ban, Vijay Singh's lawsuit against the PGA Tour, the Garcia flap - Woods simply said, "Well, I've won four times (on the PGA Tour)."

Woods has won three of his past four starts, including the Players Championship. He is going for his fifth victory at the Memorial.

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