ARDMORE, June 11 – Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia shook hands on the practice tee Monday at the US Open, a signal that their long-running feud might have seen its final days.
Details about the handshake and a brief conversation afterward are expected to come on Tuesday when each man will have a news conference ahead of Thursday’s start of the 113th US Open at Merion Golf Club.
The moment was believed to be the first face-to-face meeting between Woods and Garcia since last month when the Spaniard attempted a joke about what he might serve Woods should they have dinner together.
“We will have him round every night. We will serve fried chicken,” Garcia said.
The reference to fried chicken, seen as an insult to African-Americans, sparked a racism furore much the same way that Fuzzy Zoeller had in 1997 when he suggested Woods serve fried chicken at a Masters champions dinner.
Garcia later apologized in a statement and at a news conference and said that he wanted to do so in person to 14-time major champion Woods, who had quickly tried to put the comment behind him in a Twitter posting..
“The comment that was made wasn’t silly. It was wrong, hurtful and clearly inappropriate,” Woods tweeted, but added. “It’s long past time to move on and talk about golf.”
Jack Nicklaus, who has won a record 18 majors, called the incident “stupid” and said it was time to move on.
Woods, who has won four times this year and this week seeks his first major title since the 2008 US Open, said dealing with racial stereotypes is nothing new for him.
“Well, I live with it,” he said. “It’s happened my entire career. It exists all around the world, not just in the sport of golf.
“I know a lot of people are trying to make a difference and trying to make it more fair for all of us.”
Woods and Garcia, rivals for more than a decade, had an incident while playing together in the third round of last month’s Players Championship, with Garcia upset that Woods played when he was preparing a shot and Woods saying he had been told by course marshals that Garcia had already hit his shot.