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‘Has Plagued Him Since..’ Tiger Woods’ Profound Rivalry With Young Sergio Garcia Troubled Him Greatly, Ex-Caddie Reveals a Monumental Insight

Published 06/23/2023, 2:30 PM EDT

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Until a few years ago, the alleged feud between Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia was one of the most talked-about things in the world of golf. Fans will remember the two players aiming jibes at each other during the 2013 Players Championship after the Spaniard blamed Woods for pulling a club while he was hitting.

However, per the 15-time major winner’s former caddie, Steve Williams, the relationship between the two had started to sour long back. In his tell-all book, Out of the Rough, Williams detailed the beginning of the infamous Tiger Woods-Sergio Garcia rivalry. Let’s dive in to find out more!

Tiger Woods’ ex-caddie highlights the beginning of the golfer’s feud with Sergio Garcia

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In his 13 years caddying for Tiger Woods, Steve Williams saw the legend go through many ups and downs. As his bagman, the 59-year-old witnessed the golfer lift 13 of his 15 major wins and record many other genuinely unbreakable feats. At the same time, Williams was also privy to the more controversial aspects of Woods’ life, particularly his spats with fellow players.

In his 2015 memoir, which he co-wrote with journalist Mike Donaldson, the New Zealander threw light on how the 82-time PGA Tour winner’s relationship with Sergio Garcia had started to worsen way back in 1999. During that year’s PGA Championship at Medinah Golf Club, Garcia was just 19-year-old whose antics greatly enthralled fans. Meanwhile, the 23-year-old Woods had already won a major and claimed several victories on the big Tour.

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USA Today via Reuters

Sergio Garcia was only 19, and everyone expected him to one day be a great player, but that day at Medinah, he set up a rivalry with Tiger Woods, then 23, that I think has plagued him ever since and stopped him playing to his absolute potential,” wrote Williams in his book. Woods would later go on to win the event. But, he had to hold off strong competition from the then-up-and-coming Spanish golfer, who lost by just one stroke!

It was a critical juncture for both their careers and it was also the start of a feud that threatened to consume Sergio,” the memoir further said. Garcia would eventually get the maiden major win of his career in 2017.

Tiger Woods-Sergio Garcia rivalry over the years

Since their 1999 showdown, the reported rivalry between Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia has come to the surface many times.  One of the more memorable moments occurred during the 2002 US Open. During the event, Garcia had complained that play should have been suspended in the second round due to heavy downpours. He further claimed that play would have been called off if Woods had been on the course. As fate would have it, the two were paired up for the final round. Woods shot a 72 to the LIV pro’s 74, going on to nab the major.

USA Today via Reuters

The 2006 British Open victory was a special one for Woods, who had just lost his father two months prior. Per Golf Channel‘s Ryan Lavner, he reportedly sent a message to a friend after the incredible feat, saying, “I just bludgeoned Tweety Bird.” The context? Well, Garcia, who finished at T5 in that tournament, had donned head-to-toe in canary yellow! The tables turned ahead of the 2006 Ryder Cup. This time, Garcia was the one who would taunt the American for his record in the biennial event.

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The gloves came off once again during the 2013 Players’ Championship, with Garcia blaming his rival for a stray shot. He alleged that Woods had excited the crowd by pulling out his club early, affecting his stroke. Woods didn’t pay much heed to the complaints, going on to script his 72nd PGAT win instead!

Later, in 2017, their rivalry seemed to subside a bit. After Garcia’s win at Augusta, Woods was one of the first golfers to congratulate him via Twitter.

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What do you think of the Tiger Woods-Sergio Garcia rivalry? Let us know your take in the comments below.

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Written by:

Abantika Ghosh

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Abantika is a fresh writer at EssentiallySports who was chosen in the recent round of ‘ES Draft’ for her strong passion for golf writing. Even in her early days, Abantika has displayed an impressive ability to cover golf with gripping and insightful stories backed by thorough research. Her inspiration comes from the words of the legendary golfer and flag-bearer of the PGA Tour, Rory McIlroy: "As long as I keep enjoying my golf, then hopefully I'll be able to play well," which motivates her to continue writing engaging pieces.
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Edited by:

Manaal Siddiqui

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