Tiger versus Sergio: A great sports rivalry revisited

“I’m not going to lie.  He’s not my favorite guy to play with.”

-Sergio Garcia

“It’s not really surprising that he’s complaining about something.”

-Tiger Woods

I’ve never had a rival.  I guess I’m too friendly of a guy.

Don’t get me wrong.  There are people that I like and dislike, people whom I trust and those I choose not to associate with, but I can’t necessarily say I have a rival, someone to push me, someone I compete against on a regular basis.

Maybe that’s because I don’t play professional sports for a living, but I still work, as most of us do, in a competitive environment.  You can’t sit there, behind your office desk, and tell me that you don’t look over your shoulder to see who’s gunning to either take your position or do their job better than you.

Tiger and SergioIf you’re not, you should be.  And if you’re a business owner and not doing the same, then you’ve lost your competitive edge.  Don’t be surprised when your bottom line or even your livelihood suffers the consequences.

This weekend we revisited a great, modern sports rivalry: Tiger Woods versus Sergio Garcia.

The bitterness started on a beautiful Saturday afternoon at TPC Sawgrass but the hatred between these two golfers has been brewing for years.  Their most recent squabble just reminded us of what a healthy sports rivalry is all about and why we, as sports fans, enjoy them so much.

To make a long but entertaining story short, Tiger, who was playing in the same group as Sergio on Saturday, allegedly pulled a golf club from his bag.  The crowd reacted.  The only problem was that he did so right in the middle of Sergio Garcia’s backswing.  Garcia sliced his approach shot right into the woods, going on to bogey the hole.  Needless to say he wasn’t too happy, openly accusing Woods of foul play.

The following afternoon, with both golfers tied for the lead and only two holes to play, Garcia put consecutive tee shots into the water on TPC’s famous 17th island hole, finishing with a quadruple bogey, dropping out of the lead and essentially handing Tiger the tourney.

The chirping between the two continued after the tournament was over.  The media saw to it.  It made for good golf, with Tiger once again the victor and the shorter, slighter Spaniard referring to himself as “the victim.”

PGA: The Players Championship-Third RoundIt doesn’t matter whom you side with in this case, Tiger or Sergio.  We watched, discussed and debated but more importantly, we were reminded what rivalries are all about.

Show me a Florida-Florida State game where the athletes genuinely like each other and I’ll show you a boring football contest.

We don’t want our rivals to be chummy, we want them heated.  We want to see Nazr Mohammed shove LeBron James to the floor.  We want to see a pitcher brush back a hitter, followed by the ensuing stare down or rushing of the mound.  We want to hear Chale Sonnen talk trash before a big fight.  And we want Tiger to not only dominate on the golf course but back it up with a clever sound bite.

These are great sports rivalries as we know them and sometimes, just sometimes, the handshakes, while sportsmanlike, are a forced option.

We can all get along after the buzzer sounds but there’s nothing wrong with a little, healthy competitiveness while the clock is still ticking.  If nothing else, it ensures us we’re still the best we can be.

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38 Replies to “Tiger versus Sergio: A great sports rivalry revisited”

  1. I am not a huge fan of Eldricks, but I will side with him on this issue. Sergio is whining as usual. I was watching live when all of it went down and it didn’t look like Eldrick was paying much attention to Sergio (couldn’t even see him)so I doubt it was on purpose.

    These guys are pros and if that distraction messed up Sergio he should probably think about a new profession. I mean seriously, roars go up all the time all over golf courses during tournaments at random moments. Sergio doesn’t like the fact that Eldrick is better, plain and simple. Watching Sergio drop it in the water on 17 was fitting.

    Don’t get me started on LeFlop James. I know I know…he is a great player.

  2. Here’s what’s funny, D.

    Tiger can cheat on his wife, publicly yet insincerely declare he’s a sex addict, become a middle of the pack golfer as a result, be as pompous as can be, then come back to being the golfer he once was and we STILL root for him over Sergio.

    The poor, little Spaniard.

    Don’t get me wrong. There’s still plenty of people out there who can’t stand Tiger and who will never forgive him for what he did… but they still like him more than Sergio, he he.

    And he’s still by far the biggest draw on tour.

  3. I agree with everything you wrote…and yes I root for Tiger over Sergio.

    I mean it is Tiger’s business between him and Elin…yeah I don’t agree with infidelity. I watch Tiger because you never know when greatness will happen with him…with Sergio, I am never expecting greatness. I expect him to hit it in the drink on 17 like he did.

  4. If golf suddenly disappeared from the face of the earth, I wouldn’t shed a single tear. I tried to play for 2 years and found that there was no exercise at all and nothing but boredom and frustration. Also, the majority of the golfers that I met during that time were to put it mildly, assholes. They lived and breathed golf and had very few other interests. In fact, the only thing more boring than playing golf is watching it on TV.

  5. I’ll admit too, D, seeing that quad bogey on 17 was pretty entertaining.

    It’s why so many fans just go to Sawgrass and camp out at the 17th hole.

  6. Snake…

    When I hit the links, I try not to take it all that seriously, as you might imagine.

    Come ride in the cart with me some time. We’ll ensure that bottle of Crown doesn’t make it to the 19th hole.

  7. Rivalry revisited??? Are you serious or is this intended as comic relief because it’s not football season and the NBA playoffs are not as exciting as we had hoped for?
    I mean let’s look at the truth for just a moment. When Sergio hit the scene, he was pumped up as the next great golfer. He,from one shot,in one tournament blew up all over the media, and was the future of golf that was going to take Tiger down. Yeah, right…! The stats they showed over the weekend, shared a stat that after even e cursory review wouldn’t qualify as a rivalry. Thsi last beat down makes it 8-1 Tiger in competition. Rivalry…really? If you jump on the media bandwagon that crucified Tiger for his indiscretions, then threw him under the bus saying he was through, he’ll never be the same…
    Yet he’s won 4/7 events, is off to a faster start then ever, leads the money and Fedex standings, and now folks are beginning to say he’s back. Rivalry my ass. The only rilval Tiger has is himself to get better, which for the rest of the tour is a scary propostion.
    For Sergio, well…Keep Hope Alive! 🙂

  8. It`s not a rivalry , never as been and never will be !

    Garcia is a wining lil $$#ch ! What is now even more implausible is that two golf marshals (@ TPC Sawagrass in Ponte Vedre ) are now questioning Woods honesty and recollection of what took place .

    Two years ago Sergio did the same thing he is accusing Woods of doing , and this took place at the Estoril Open in Spain .

    See my take on it , as well as Vijay Singh suing the PGA Tour for $20 million as a part of a defamation lawsuit .

    The boy who cried wolf

    tophatal …………..

  9. I have been to TPC twice for the tournament…17 is awesome…great course.

  10. Fair point, Mony.

    In fact, you reminded me of the one Florida Gator football player back in the day, I forget who it was, that when asked about the Florida-Tennessee rivalry replied “What rivalry?”

    As you and he both suggest, a rivalry means both parties win on occasion and that certainly hasn’t been the case in Tiger v. Sergio or Florida v. Tennessee.

    To be perfectly honest, however, I was more expecting a two-hat, Sawgrass reference. After all, that’s where that tradition was born.

  11. Snake…

    I remember that Williams skit.

    But I’m getting older and live in Florida.

    You can’t convince me it’s not my birthright to give that little dimpled thing a whack every so often.

    And I like to play golf too.

  12. Tiger runs the Tour, Al.

    In what other sport does the sport itself need the athlete more than that athlete needs the sport? Tiger goes away, ratings go down. Tiger comes back, ratings through the roof.

    Once again, public opinion has ruled against Sergio despite Tiger’s highly checkered past.

    Poor Sergio.

  13. This rift between Tiger and Sergio started in 2001 after Woods won the Masters. Tiger sponsored his own tourney which was won by Sergio. A lotta friendly trash talk turned serious. Dislike has continued ever since. Tiger has plenty of baggage, but we’re talking golf here. Sergio ain’t nowhere near….

  14. Chris

    Since Tiger came unto the Tour in 1996 , it has been his show and one else`s . Lefty has given him something of run but Mickelson has never been ranked # 1 on Tour or in the World rankings, so your argument right off the bat in terms of a rivalry . of any kind becomes mute .

    Garcia is and will always remain a whining hypocritical piece of fecal matter .
    What he is accusing Woods of , he did a similar act on a European Tour event (Estoril Open _ Madrid , Spain a few years back ) . Yet no one seems ready to bring that to the fore . Utter bulls#it !

    Golf , the PGA Tour and the R& A are being ran by a bunch of ham-fisted ba#tards , who have no damn idea what is happening in the real world .

    Tim Finchem , PGA Tour chairman , is one clueless moron , from start to finis !

    There is not a great talent pool on te current Tour , it is filled wit a bunch of uncharismatic witless duds . Only idiots such as Johnny Miller would try to suggest otherwise . And Millers analysis of the sport , is about as endearing as listening to a political debate . Much like te politicians in Congress , Johnny Miller is a witless @s$hole .

    You ougt to be more concerned wit te fact tat Vijay Sing is in te midst of a defamation suit against te PGA Tour tat could ave some serious ramifications if e wins tat suit . Ive detailed tat in my piece . Let me know wat you tink ?

    Check this out and let me know what you think ?

    The boy who cried wolf

    tophatal ……………..

  15. Bets…

    Like I said over in the other comments section, Tiger has, count ’em, SEVENTY more PGA Tour wins than Sergio.

    Or as they say in Spain… SETENTA.

  16. It’s a little late for Sergio to play the role of a jilted lover… He’ll just have to get in line…

  17. Chris ,

    Tiger has never been truly tested by any of his peers of this generation , not by Lefty , Duval , Mickelson , McIlroy or any of the robotic do-fusses that have been one hit wonders in terms of having won a Major and then disappeared , never to be heard from again . I mean Shaun Micheel , Dustin Johnson , Bubba Watson and Ben Curtis ? Are you kidding me ? Golf has no real superstars beyond Woods , Mickelson and McIlroy at present . ,

    My Spurs will now have a chance to test themselves against Zebo and the Grizzlies . Should make for a great series .
    I see that Stern is now looking to backtrack on his original commitment to Chris Hansen and Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer and their original bid to buy the Kings .? David Stern has no integrity or character whatsoever and yet so many bow and drink from the porcelain pot that he continues to p#s$ and defecate in . A bunch of dumb as#es !

    As and when you’re ready , let me know what you think of the following ?

    You asked my opinion and now I’m giving it to you , nothing has changed

    The boy who cried wolf

    tophatal ……………..

  18. The only time I’ve seen Tiger flinch was the ’09 Players. Y.E. came from behind, looked Tiger in the eye and blew past him.

    Alan, I think you’re a helluva writer. However, the late George Carlin once said, ” the use of obsenities are more effective when used sparingly.”

  19. Al…

    Like I said earlier, Tiger will be tested only by history and that Majors mark he stares down every time he tees it up.

    I haven’t quite made up my mind yet on the upcoming Spurs-Grizz series as I can see it going either way. One thing for sure is that we’ll see some great post-up basketball.

    And in the end, Sacramento won and Seattle remains team-less. I will say this. If there’s a city out there that’s not supporting its team via attendance, they may want to be careful as Seattle’s prime real estate for re-location and I don’t see the league expanding any time soon.

  20. Like we’ve pointed out, BS, Tiger’s rivalry is more with the game’s history, or the entire field, that it is with any one particular golfer.

    Hey, get your entry in to my MLB Pick ‘Em.

  21. Chris

    Stern was all set to have the Kings move to Seattle , yet what makes this all so surreptitious is the fact tat the league hierarchy had been in contact with with the city , and that to me suggests that David Stern was on the verge of granting the bid of Steve Ballmer and Chris Hansen .

    The Kings will remain a poorly supported franchise . Clearly even with Vivek Ranadive`s winning bid , it still as the Maloofs retaining a 35% stake in the Sacramento Kings . So at the end of the day the Kings are still no better off .

    Ranadive can buy out the remaining stake he does not own , but would the NBA not have been better off accepting the full bid from the Seattle consortium , rather than still having to deal with the Maloof family ?

    Stern and is subordinates clearly showing us all tat his business acumen ranks up there with Palin`s intellect .

    tophatal ……………..

  22. There was a iocnnY block party ….. in Indiana ? LOL,LOL ,LOL !!!! . .The Knicks were not invited , damn ! Now what and where are the Knicks fans and what will tey do ? Gone fishing ! New York Knicks . Thank you very much ! Can you say overrated ? A team that couldn`t play defense and yet everyone talked them (Knicks) up as world beaters

    The Knicks are ` busted` in terms of the knicks salary cap of $58 million . Tell me where the Knicks` front office goes from ere ?

    tophatal …………………

  23. Al…

    If the Kings can get the right ownership in there, I’m sure they can revive the franchise. They already have the solid fan base.

    And yes, the Knicks have gone fishing. The only question is will the Grizzlies soon follow them.

    Oh, and have you heard the banter between LeBron James and Frank Vogel?

  24. Pep,
    I thought about the 2 hat disclosure, but few of your readers would understand or really get a picture of what that was like 🙂
    Oh BTW…I’m back to shooting in the 70’s on a mo’ regular basis. Just thought I’d share since we’re talking golf.

  25. Mony…

    There’s nothing wrong with a little inside joke or two. It’d allow me to explain why it is that you wore two hats at Sawgrass but knowing me, I’m pretty sure my readers could have figured that out on their own.

    Congrats on the game. I’m still struggling to get in the 80s consistently.

    Nam Myo Ho Renge Kyo

  26. Jed…

    I wonder if we’d ever come to the point on tour where two golfers dislike each other enough that they come to blows.

    I guess the closest we ever came to that was Happy Gilmore and Shooter McGavin.

  27. Pingback: Sports Chump » Tiger, Sergio, fried chicken and misplaced racism

  28. Jed….

    I just wrote a follow-up post to this one. Let me know what you think.

    And ya’ know, years back, there was a fight in the WNBA. For another site, I wrote that might be good for the league.

    Of course not everyone agreed but no publicity is bad publicity, right?

    Unless of course it’s Sergio opening his mouth.

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