Woods focused on US Open
His spat with Sergio Garcia generated headlines around the world, but Tiger Woods was soon focusing on the thing that matters most following his victory in the Players Championship.
Asked about the war of words which developed between himself and Garcia over the final two days at Sawgrass, Woods gave a typically short, evasive answer in his official press conference.
But the world number one was more expansive about his chances of winning a 15th major title at the US Open next month, with the final day at Merion on June 16 marking precisely the fifth anniversary of his last success - also in the US Open - at Torrey Pines in 2008.
"We just go out there and play," Woods insisted when asked if he took extra satisfaction from the manner of his win, with Garcia dumping two balls into the water on the 71st hole when the pair were tied for the lead. "I had an opportunity to win the golf tournament when I was tied for the lead and I thought I handled the situation well and really played well when I really needed to, and that's something I'm excited about."
The private animosity between the pair had become public as they played the third round together on Saturday and Sunday, with Garcia feeling he had been disturbed on his approach to the second hole when spectators cheered Woods for taking a fairway wood out of his bag, indicating he would try to reach the green from his position in the trees.
"He's not my favourite guy to play with," Garcia said after the round was completed on Sunday morning. "He's not the nicest guy on Tour. 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."
Woods probably agreed with that sentiment after claiming his fourth victory of the season - and fourth in five events - but the 37-year-old would swap his 78th PGA Tour title, four short of Sam Snead's record, to get back to winning ways in majors. Merion is a relatively short course by modern standards, prompting comparisons with the cautious approach Woods adopted at Sawgrass and in winning the 2006 Open at Hoylake.
Asked if he would use the same tactics at Merion, Woods added: "It's a great question. I've never played Merion. It sounds good in theory! This week it was so hot out there and the ball is flying. I'm hitting 3-wood over 300 yards. This 5-wood I was hitting most of the week was going 280 and I was carrying it easily 260. Those are big numbers.
"There's really no room to hit driver except for a few par-5s. We happened to get a dry, hot week where the ball was travelling. You've got to play the golf course for what it gives you. Certain years it's soft and it's wet, and I hit a lot of drivers. This is one of the weeks where I didn't.
"At the time (in 2006) Hoylake was so burnt out that the ball was travelling forever so you didn't really control the ball as it landed. It was just too hot, too fiery, and if you hit the ball into the rough there, even wedges, guys weren't holding the ball on the greens. I thought the prudent play was even if I hit 8-iron I could spin the golf ball better than they could with wedges."
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