When you hear stories of two males glaring at each other, blaming the other for their failures, and calling each other names, you're sure it has to be a couple of 3-year-olds going at it on the playground, right?
Either that, or spoiled multi-millionaire golfers.
|Photo by: Ian Walton|
For those of you who haven't kept up, here is a synopsis of the history of this childish war:
- 1999 PGA Championship: The first shots are fired. A brash 19-year-old Garcia glares at Tiger after sinking a sizeable birdie putt.
- 2000 Battle at Bighorn: In this made-for-television match (it was an exhibition), Woods gets irritated every time Sergio launches into an exuberant celebration after winning a hole.
- 2006 British Open: Garcia, entering the final round only one stroke behind Tiger, shows up dressed head-to-toe in yellow. After the Spaniard blows up and shoots 73, losing the match, Woods is overheard saying that he "just bludgeoned Tweety Bird."
- 2006 Ryder Cup: Sergio makes fun of Tiger's poor Ryder Cup record, uttering "Fortunately, he doesn't have a great record, so I'm looking forward to meeting him."
- 2013 TPC at Sawgrass: Garcia becomes upset with Woods when he removes a club from his bag as Sergio is preparing to hit (a golfing faux pas), causing fans to stir and disturbing Garcia's swing. Tiger later says he was told by the course marshals that he was clear to hit, but all the marshals on the hole say Woods was never given clearance to proceed.
Barely a week later, Sergio says, "He called me a whiner. He's probably right. But that's probably the first thing he's told you guys that's true in 15 years."
The following day, when asked how he would react to Tiger during the upcoming U.S. Open, Garcia dropped the race card with a crack about having him over and serving "fried chicken."
The only thing left for these two is shooting spit wads at each other across the fairway, or giving the other an atomic wedgie in the middle of his back swing.
I'm not naive enough to believe that every athlete in every sport is supposed to like each other. I played sports for 20+ years, and there were plenty of guys I didn't particularly care for. But I would like to think that I was mature enough, and respectful enough of others, not to belittle the process by calling them names or pitching a tantrum when I lost to them.
One of these two needs to be the bigger man and extend the olive branch, saying something to the effect of, "We've had our differences in the past, but I believe we have both grown enough that we can co-exist within this sport without acting like children."
Unfortunately, I'm not sure that either will take their pacifier out of their mouth long enough to do anything of that nature.