ARDMORE, Pa. — Sergio Garcia apologized again Tuesday for a racially insensitive comment he made a few weeks ago, in front of the television cameras during his pre-US Open news conference, and presumably in a handwritten note he left in Tiger Woods’s locker.
Whether Woods saw it or accepted it wasn’t known. He certainly didn’t appear to be in the mood to discuss the matter.
“It’s already done. We’ve already gone through it all,” said Woods, during his own news conference Tuesday at Merion Golf Club. “It’s time for the US Open and we tee it up in two days.”
Garcia and Woods directed critical words at each other — through the media — during the Players Championship last month, and Garcia was asked the following week at a European Tour awards dinner if he’d be having dinner with Woods the next time the two were together, at the US Open.
“We will have him round every night. We will serve fried chicken,” was Garcia’s reply.
The Spaniard apologized — an hour after making the comment, and in a previously unscheduled news conference the next day — but Woods replied only on Twitter, calling the comment “wrong, hurtful, and clearly inappropriate.”
They hadn’t seen each other until Monday, when Garcia approached Woods on the practice range at Merion. A quick handshake followed, plus a few words between the two. Very few.
“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,” Garcia said. “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 there.”
So Garcia wrote a note and left it in the locker room for Woods, but chose not to discuss its contents.
“I don’t think that’s for me to say. I mean, the note is for him, so if he wants to show you, then he can,” Garcia said. “I don’t have any problems with that. But I am not going to be the one showing you.”
Both players struck a similar chord on Tuesday: Time to move on.
“Like he said, he thinks . . . he considers the matter closed,” Garcia said. “He’s moved on. And I’m happy that he feels that way, so hopefully we can do the same thing.
“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. The only thing I can do is show you my respect from here moving forward.”
Mickelson will be ready
Phil Mickelson had already planned on flying across the country this week to attend his daughter’s eighth-grade graduation. The sloppy weather on the East Coast prompted him to leave a day earlier so he could go home and get in some practice. Mickelson flew to San Diego Monday, practiced at home Tuesday, and will be in the audience Wednesday when his daughter, Amanda, has a speaking role in her graduation ceremony. Then he’ll fly back to Philadelphia.
“I always planned on being here for that, but since it was raining so much Monday and we didn’t know if we’d even be able to play a sloppy course, I came home [Monday] night to practice in great weather on my range and greens,” Mickelson said in a statement. “I’ll be ready to go Thursday.”
Mickelson has a 7:11 a.m. tee time on Thursday, so he’ll fly through the night and join Keegan Bradley and Steve Stricker for their first round.
McIlroy likes omen
Rory McIlroy was quick to admit it. When he saw the weather forecast for this week, and knowing that Merion is a course that is expected to yield a lot of birdies, his eyes lit up.
“A little bit, yeah. I didn’t really enjoy the Olympic Club last year. I much prefer this sort of golf,” McIlroy said. “I expect the scores to be a little lower than what they would be if the course was a little firmer and drier, but I don’t think you’ll see scores like the scores that were shot at Congressional a couple of years ago.”
By that, McIlroy is talking mostly about himself, since he shot a record 268 two years ago, winning the US Open with a 16-under-par total. That week was also dominated by a golf course softened by rain. Good karma?
Calm before storm?
After Monday’s downpour, Tuesday’s weather was exactly what tournament officials wanted to see: Sunny, windy, with a high of 80. Wednesday is expected to bring similar weather, which should further dry the course, but the forecast for Thursday’s first round is ominous, with a 90 percent chance of rain . . . The US Golf Association threw a US Open Champions Dinner on Tuesday, hosted by Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, and David Graham. Trevino (1971) and Graham (1981) won the two most recent US Opens held at Merion . . . Word to the wise for anyone attending the US Open this week: Wear shoes that can be ruined, because the spectator walking areas remain a muddy slopfest.