1999 PGA Championship. Medinah Country Club. Illinois. The race for the top honors was even-steven. On one side was a 23-year-old rising star who was already on the path to glory. Facing him was a rookie, who had turned professional that year. 19-year-old Spanish teen dream, Sergio Garcia, wasn’t going down without a fight and made all the efforts to outdo his opponent. However, it wasn’t meant to be, as Tiger Woods lifted his second Major Championship, and became his rival forever.
However, many at the time, including prominent commentator, Gary McCord, foretold the beginning of a healthy rivalry between the two. Rivalry, yes, but if there is a more reasonable word to summarize the proceedings in the last 23 years – it’s hatred.
The rivalry between Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia over the years
Believe it or not, Woods and Garcia were supposed to share a close bond during their early days on the Tour. Unbelievable, right? Well, check this out.
The 1999 PGA Championship was just a placid demonstration of their skills to one another. The real enmity started in 2000 when Tiger Woods approved Garcia as his opponent for the match, dubbed the “Battle at Bighorn.”
In the form of his life, a flu-ridden Tiger would go on to lose, while Garcia celebrated as though he had won a Major Championship. Hate is the last thing Woods would incline for motivation, but it looks like irking one of the greatest golfers of all time wasn’t the nicest idea after all.
There was also the 2002 US Open, which featured Phil Mickelson in contention as well. Heavy downpour resulted in tournament organizers suspending play, but Garcia had found a way to show his agitation without taking the field, claiming the tournament officials were biased. Guess who won the major that Sunday.
In the end, Sergio didn’t even finish 2nd. It was Phil, which prompted fans and media alike to focus more on the rivalry between Woods and Lefty. See, this is where things became clear – there is no smoke without fire, but the fire can’t be stoked forever. In the last two decades, Woods has won his lot – a Major Championship count of more than a dozen. Garcia has a solitary one.
The Spaniard deserves a little credit though – he never backed down. A scornful attitude towards the face of the sport draws millions of haters, but that hasn’t stopped the cheery, happy-faced Garcia. But he wasn’t always at fault – the 2006 Open Championship hurled an interesting story after the conclusion of the event.
Garcia was in contention (again) but Woods won the major (again). Between the two, the former was cladded in a flashy, yellow outfit. Strange choice, which could have been forgotten had he won that event. Alas, they made fun of him, but Woods had kept the best for last.
Apparently, he texted a friend saying how he “bludgeoned Tweety Bird” at the tournament. A couple of more incidents – there was a dark turn to the feud in another timeline when Garcia made some unexplainable comments during the European Tour’s gala players’ awards dinner.
The most recent altercation between the two took place at the 2013 BMW Championship, in which both golfers wanted to be put off from being asked questions about each other. Fairplay, they should be entitled to their requests. Because the rivalry has all but been one. To give it to you in simple terms – One chose words, the other chose titles.