Tee to Green: As usual, much ado about nothing

2:28 PM, May 16, 2013   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Growing up, I knew Pluto was the ninth planet in our solar system.

Now, it's not. Just like that. A fact rendered obsolete. Thanks, science.

Truth is subjective and ever-evolving.

So what can I believe?

Here are two things:

1. Tiger Woods is a nearly unparalleled winner with character issues.

2. Sergio Garcia is a talented, underachieving prima donna.

Were these statements true before last week's Players Championship?

Yes.

Were they true when Sergio claimed Tiger pulled a club and elicited a distracting crowd reaction during the third round?

Yes.

Were they true when Sergio dropped two in the drink, giving way to another Tiger triumph?

Yes.

Were they true when various marshals refuted, then backed Tiger's version of events?

Yes.

Nothing changed. If anything, the goings on at TPC Sawgrass only reaffirmed the narrative.

Tiger is still a ruthless competitor with character issues. Sergio is still an immature underachiever.

The winner and the whiner. We hold these truths to be self-evident.

So why all the fuss?

Because these guys are lightning rods. Tiger moves the needle like no one else. His every act is scrutinized ... in high definition.

Case in point: the Masters, where former PGA Tour and USGA tournament director David Eger called an illegal drop on the world No. 1 from the comfort of his Florida home.

And people love to root against Sergio. He's Kobe Bryant without the rings, Terrell Owens without the 12-pack. When the Spaniard put a pair in the water and handed over the tournament Sunday, the Island Green crowd jubilantly erupted.

But really, the whole pulled club controversy is much ado about nothing. Tiger said he was given the OK, chief marshal John North said he wasn't, marshal Brian Nedrich said he was. It doesn't matter.

Regardless of which version you believe, the most this amounts to is a minor breech of etiquette. Galleries are perpetually erupting on the PGA Tour, especially when Tiger is in the field. Sergio knows this. He should be accustomed.

And North calling Tiger's character into question is another non-story.

Wait, the guy who repeatedly cheated on his wife isn't a pillar of integrity?

North has since backtracked, which is appropriate given the conflicting testimonies of his fellow marshals. But questioning Tiger's character is no revelation. The guy is a bristly competitor. He curses and scowls and intimidates. And wins.

Like Michael Jordan, Tiger is a hyper-competitive champion with a flawed character. You either accept that or you don't. This incident isn't changing any opinions.

Lost in this mess is the fact that Tiger and Sergio were tied when the latter dropped two in the drink on the tournament's penultimate hole. The collapse was at once painful and fascinating. It was a car crash. And it rendered the pulled club controversy moot. Sergio had his chance. He sank and Tiger swam.

The winner and the whiner.

Nothing's changed.

The Sports Network

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