Tiger Woods: Matter 'put behind me'

Updated: May 20, 2013, 6:53 PM ET
By Bob Harig | ESPN.com

Tiger Woods gave a one-word answer Monday to a question about whether he had sought out Sergio Garcia in the aftermath of their Players Championship spat to clear the air.

"No," Woods said at Congressional Country Club outside of Washington, D.C., where he was taking part in media day activities for the June 27-30 AT&T National, a tournament he won last year that benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation.

Woods and Garcia were involved in a lively back-and-forth at the TPC Sawgrass May 11-12 after the Spanish star became irritated at a distraction he felt Woods could have avoided on the second hole of the third round.

When Woods was surveying his second shot from trees to the left of the fairway, with gallery members surrounding him, he pulled a club from his bag, which elicited cheers from spectators -- just as Garcia was addressing his ball.

Garcia felt the resulting poor shot could have been avoided had Woods waited. The two sparred in the media afterward, and that spilled into the next morning, when after their weather-delayed third round was completed, Garcia said he was glad to not be grouped with Woods in the final round. "He isn't the nicest guy on tour," Garcia said.

The story progressed after Woods won the tournament, with tournament marshals contradicting the events and how they played out.

Later, at Monday's media day, Woods told USA Today: "Obviously the matter has been put behind me. The truth came out. As I was saying the entire time, I told people what I had heard and what had happened."

One thing Woods and Garcia agree on is that neither cares about what the other thinks.

"He doesn't make a difference to my life and I know I don't make a difference to his life," Garcia said Monday. "This is not just one thing. This has been going on for a long time."

Garcia, speaking at an event Monday in London hosted by his sponsors, didn't back down from further discussing his beef with Woods.

"He called me a whiner," Garcia said. "That's probably right. It's also probably the first thing he's told you guys that's true in 15 years. I know what he is like. You guys are finding out."

"He can and will beat me a lot of times but he is not going to step on me," Garcia said. "I'm not afraid of him."

The Woods-Garcia flap likely won't be the biggest controversy in the world of golf come Tuesday.

The United States Golf Association and R&A have scheduled a joint announcement Tuesday morning in which the two rules-making bodies are expected to go along with the rule change they proposed nearly six months ago.

Garcia He called me a whiner. That's probably right. It's also probably the first thing he's told you guys that's true in 15 years. I know what he is like. You guys are finding out.

-- Sergio Garcia

Woods was also asked about the proposal to ban anchored putting strokes and hopes a proposed ban would go into effect as soon as possible.

The new rule, 14-1b, would not ban long or belly putters but would prohibit anchoring them to the body, the common method for their use.

"I hope they go with the ban," Woods said. "That's something that I've said, that anchoring should not be a part of the game. It should be mandatory to have to swing all 14 clubs."

The proposed rule change, which has been contentious at times as both the USGA and R&A sought comment for 90 days on their proposal, would not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2016, during the next rules-change cycle.

Later this year, the PGA Tour will go to a wrap-around calendar scheduling, so the 2016 season would actually begin in the fall of 2015.

Four of the past six major champions -- Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Ernie Els and Adam Scott -- use anchored strokes, with Scott becoming the first player to win a major with a long putter when he captured the Masters last month.

"As far as the PGA Tour, I hope they do it as soon as possible, to be honest with you," Woods said "I've always said that. I've always felt that [in] golf you should have to swing the club, control your nerves and swing all 14 clubs, not just 13.

"There are different ways of making the butt end of the club move. You've seen it with Bernhard Langer, when he won the Masters, putting [the club] against his forearm, what Kuch [Matt Kuchar] does putting [it] against his forearm, as well. But it's not a fixed point; the butt end does travel. So I think that's where guys are going to try and figure it out. ... If that's the ban and that's where they go, I think it's great."

The AT&T National follows Woods' next two scheduled events: the Memorial Tournament next week, where he is the defending champion, and then the U.S. Open (June 13-16) at Merion, a golf course he has never played.

Bob Harig | email

Golf Writer, ESPN.com

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