Sergio Garcia wants Boston golf fans to know how much he’ll miss them, but he’s going to have to take a pass on next week’s Deutsche Bank Championship.
The 32-year-old Spaniard said the jam-packed end to the PGA Tour’s regular season made it necessary for him to take a break at some point to save himself for the Tour Championship finale and the upcoming Ryder Cup. Apparently, TPC Boston drew the short straw.
“Obviously, Boston is a place I enjoy playing and I’ve done well in it and I love the course,” Garcia said in a statement Friday night from The Barclays, where he was competing in the first leg of the four-game FedEx Cup series. “But you know, with the schedules that are coming, I have to think that I have a chance at getting to the Tour Championship, so having to play six weeks in a row and then one week off and then the Tour Championship and the Ryder Cup is just too much.”
Garcia may have his sights set on the Ryder Cup, but he has not taken his eye off the $10 million bonus available to the winner of the FedEx Cup playoffs. Sharing the 36-hole lead with ex-Red Sox reporter Heidi Watney’s cousin, Nick, at The Barclays this week, Garcia has a good chance to finish in the top 30, which would guarantee him a spot at the season-ending Tour Championship at East Lake.
With Garcia out, Deutsche Bank Organizers cast their lonely eyes to Tiger Woods, who gave the golf world a scare Friday afternoon as he limped and grimaced his way around Bethpage Black with what turned out to be an owie in his lower back.
With shades of Woods’ sudden withdrawal from the Cadillac Championship in March dancing through their heads, TPC Boston officials will likely knock on a lot of wood to ensure that Tiger — who failed to qualify for the playoffs in 2011 — makes it through this week’s Barclays event without further injury.
Woods told reporters following his 2-under round of 69 on Friday that it was, indeed, his lower back and not his troublesome left knee or Achilles that was off kilter. It was nothing that a little post-golf treatment and a good night’s sleep on the floor couldn’t cure, he avowed.
But it sure had the look of another WD as cameras followed Woods’ every wince, painful bend, and clutch of his back at Bethpage Black, and Golf Channel yakkers wondered if, not when, the 14-time major winner would pull out with what they could only speculate was his surgically repaired knee or troublesome Achilles, but that turned out to be his aching back.
Woods brushed off the speculation by blaming his woes on a bad night’s sleep.
“Must have slept funny on it,” said Woods, who will start the weekend at 5-under, just three strokes off the lead. “Soft beds at the hotel, and woke up this morning with it stiff. You know, as I warmed up, it got progressively worse, and then you saw what happened on the golf course.”
For sure, those preparing for the Labor Day weekend event in Norton were happy to hear that nothing would deter Woods from Saturday’s appointed round — even if it meant the $500 million man had to snooze on the carpet, which, Tiger contended, he had done many times in Europe.
“I’ll be ready by tomorrow,” Woods pledged.
Emily Kay is a regular contributor to New England Golf Monthly. You may follow Kay on Twitter @golfexaminer
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