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Tiger row behind slump - Garcia

ESPN staff
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Garcia and Woods fell out at the Players Championship in May © AP
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Sergio Garcia has revealed that his infamous fall-out with Tiger Woods last year was behind his slump in form.

The pair fell out at the Players Championship in May when, while playing in the same group, Garcia accused Woods of distracting him as he was preparing to play a shot.

Later that month, at the European Tour's award ceremony at Wentworth, Garcia was asked if he would consider inviting Woods to dinner to settle their differences.

Garcia replied, "We will serve him fried chicken" - a phrase considered to have racist connotations.

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The Spaniard apologised for the "stupid and out of place" remark and was not punished by Tour officials, and Garcia and Woods shook hands when they next met - at the US Open at Merion.

And, speaking ahead of this week's Abu Dhabi Championship, Garcia has subsequently admitted the row caused him to lose focus on his game.

Asked how long it took to put his row with Woods behind him, the 34-year-old said: "I don't know exactly how long, but it was probably a tough three months at least.

"I started the year very nicely with a lot of good, high finishes with three good chances of winning, and then I finished the year quite strongly again.

"But it was a good learning experience. I thought that we learned a lot from it and I think that it made us even stronger."

Garcia is now hoping to turn his good form in the last few months of 2013, in which he won the Thailand Golf Championship, into a place in the European Ryder Cup team at Gleneagles in September.

"We all know how important the Ryder Cup is for all of us here, so it would be nice to get going like we did last year and make sure you get your nose way into that team."

And Garcia, who had girlfriend Katharina Boehm acting as his caddie in Thailand, joked: "I wanted to keep going but she fired me!

"It was something she wanted to do since we started dating and I thought that would be a good week, being the end of the year and maybe a little bit more relaxed. I think it turned out pretty good but I think we'll leave it; she has a good winning percentage at the moment."

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