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Garcia lifts lid on feud with blast at Tiger Woods

By Phil Casey

Tiger Woods' bid to land a 78th PGA Tour title worth £1.1m in the prestigious Players Championship was overshadowed by his feud with Sergio Garcia.

Never the best of friends, Woods and Garcia traded verbal blows on Saturday and Sunday at Sawgrass to ensure the state of their relationship – or lack of it – is now a matter of public record.

Paired together in a third round played over two days due to bad weather, it took less than two holes for tensions to come to the surface with Garcia feeling he was put off on his approach shot to the second by crowd noise caused by Woods preparing for his own shot from the trees.

Woods insisted he had been told by a marshal that Garcia had already played before pulling a fairway wood from his bag, with the fans cheering the indication that the world number one would attempt to go for the green on the par five.

Told about Garcia's comments, Woods said it was "not real surprising he's complaining about something." And in response to that, Garcia said: "That's fine. At least I'm true to myself. I know what I'm doing. He can do whatever he wants."

Speaking after the third round was completed on Sunday morning, Garcia was happy to confirm what had been suspected for many years.

"He's not my favourite guy to play with," the Spaniard said. "He's not the nicest guy on Tour. So it will be good for both us not to play together again (today).

"We don't like each other. It doesn't take a rocket engineer to figure that out. He is who he is. I am who I am. It's best we're not playing together again.

"I'm in a good position. It was nice to finish the way I did, with two birdies and a great save on the last hole.

"Hopefully, I will get a good feeling this afternoon and see how it goes."

That finish – including a birdie on the infamous 17th despite his tee shot hitting the flag and bouncing back towards the water – meant Garcia and Woods shared the lead with Swedish rookie David Lingmerth on 11 under par going into the final round.

Former champion Henrik Stenson and American duo Casey Wittenberg and Ryan Palmer were a shot behind on 10 under.

However, Rory McIlroy was behind the frontrunners on two under par for his round and seven under for the tournament.

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