Sergio Garcia opened his press conference on Tuesday afternoon at Merion Golf Club saying he wanted to apologize for his racist remark directed at Tiger Woods a couple weeks ago at the European Tour players’ awards dinner. He even left a *handwritten* note in Tiger’s locker.
“I did leave him a note,” said a remorseful Sergio. “A handwritten note. And hopefully he can take a look at it and, you know, it’s a big week and I understand that it’s difficult to meet up and stuff. So hopefully I’ll be able to do it. If not, at least he has read the note and he’s happy with that.”
Now what did it say?
“Well, I don’t think that’s for me to say,” said Garcia. “I think that if he wants to show you…I mean the note is for him, so if he wants to show you, then he can. I don’t have any problems with that. But I am not going to be the one showing you. Sorry.”
In other words, we’ll probably never know!
Sergio, who appeared humble and extremely apologetic (almost a little too much), has tried to find a proper time to apologize to Tiger in person, but to no avail. And yes, he did see him on the range briefly on Monday.
“Well, when I got here yesterday, I went to register, I didn’t see him,” he said. “First time I saw him was on the range. I didn’t see him in the locker room when I was changing or anything. So first I saw him was on the range. I felt like it wasn’t the appropriate place to, for me to, out of respect to him and to the other players to do it there. So I was hoping to see him afterwards. Unfortunately, when I got done practicing he was gone already, so I couldn’t see him. And this morning he wasn’t here.”
Earlier in the day, Tiger told reporters he hadn’t seen the note and the matter was over.
Sergio said he did understand why the comment was inappropriate beyond just trying to make a jab at Tiger, but at others who don’t look like him.
“I understand that,” he said. “That’s why I said sorry, because I can obviously see that I hurt a lot of people. And that doesn’t make me feel good. I can tell you that.
“I wish I could go back in time and take back what I said, but unfortunately, I said it. You know, the only thing I can do is show you my respect from here moving forward. I tried to be as respectful as possible competing and what I do will show you how much I care about everybody. So only time will tell us, I guess.”
Will this be a distraction as the tournament gets going for Sergio? After all, he’s still competing at a major championship.
“I don’t know,” he said. “It obviously doesn’t help, but it is my own fault. So I don’t have anyone to blame other than myself.
“The people have that made me feel very good out there, the last couple of days, so hopefully that will continue throughout the week and the only thing I can do is give my best effort and hopefully that would give me a chance. If not, we’ll move on and we’ll try to play well the week after.”
Sergio also sang a different tune with regards to his feelings about Tiger.
“Well, don’t get me wrong, I respect Tiger very much,” he said. “I think he’s a wonderful player. He’s No. 1 in the world for some reasons. He shows that. And I respect him very much and hopefully like he said, we can move forward and see where things end up.”
Sergio, a self-proclaimed whiner, sounds like he’s had a wakeup call or a personality change. Like he said, time will tell.
But he apologized for most of his 45-minute presser and it was to the point that it became a bit awkward because one scribe in particular was practically berating him. Really, I think we’re all ready to move on.
(Eileen Blass/USA TODAY Sports)