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May 11 2013

11:30 AM

Tale of the tape: Sergio vs. Tiger

Woods has outplayed Garcia more often than not when the two have been paired. (Getty Images)

By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- The first time Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia were paired together on the PGA TOUR was in the opening round of the 1999 Masters. Both shot even par.

The rivalry has been one-sided ever since.

Woods owns a 12-3-4 advantage, has a decidedly better scoring average (69.84 to 71.95) and in the dozen tournaments the 19 rounds have come in, Woods has won eight of them.

That’s not exactly good news for Garcia, who is nursing a one-shot lead over Woods at THE PLAYERS Championship, where the two will tee off in the day’s final pairing at 2:40 p.m. ET Saturday.

But the root of Tiger’s enjoyment of success over Sergio can be traced back to one of the times it went the other way and Garcia got the best of Woods.

It was 2000 and Garcia celebrated as he closed out Woods on the final hole of the made-for-TV Battle at Bighorn. Woods, meanwhile, had just come off exhausting wins at the PGA Championship and NEC Championship, flown all night to make it to California and was sick with the flu.

The next four times the two were paired together on TOUR? Woods got the better of Garcia every time, and he went on to win on three occasions.

The most notable of their recent pairings came in the final round of the 2006 British Open at Royal Liverpool, where Garcia was clad head-to-toe in canary yellow and Woods in his Sunday red. Garcia shot 73, Woods 67 with Woods winning by two and Garcia finishing fifth, seven shots back.

More recently, Woods has outperformed Garcia five of the last six times they've been paired, including each of the last four, with the most recent of those coming in the second round of last year's British Open.

What will happen Saturday?

Both players have won here before -- Woods in 2001 and Garcia in 2008 -- but Woods arrived this week off three wins and has finished outside the top five just once in stroke-play competition this season on TOUR.

"I'm pleased with every facet of my game," Woods said. "I feel like I'm driving it well, hitting it well with my irons, my distance control is good, short game is really solid, and I'm making my share of putts."

And much like Woods brings the best out in Phil Mickelson, another player with whom he’s shared a rivalry through the years, Garcia seems to bring the best out in Woods.

 

Garcia-Woods groupings on the PGA TOUR

Round

Year

Tournament

Player/Finished round

Player/Finished round

Rnd 1

2012

World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship

Woods 72 (E) 25th

Garcia 75 (3) 54th

Rnd 2

2012

World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship

Woods 67 (-5) 15th

Garcia 74 (2) 68th

Rnd 1

2012

Open Championship

Woods 67 (-3) 6th

Garcia 72 (2) 80th

Rnd 2

2012

Open Championship

Woods 67 (-3) 3rd

Garcia  72 (2) 84th

Rnd 1

2009

World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational

Woods 68 (-2) 8th

Garcia 68 (-2) 8th

Rnd 2

2009

World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational

Woods 70 (E) 13th

Garcia 72 (2) 25th

Rnd 1

2006

Buick Invitational

Woods 71 (-1) 57th

Garcia 69 (-3) 33rd

Rnd 2

2006

Buick Invitational

Woods 68 (-4) 22nd

Garcia 68 (-4) 5th

Rnd 4

2006

Buick Invitational

Woods 72 (E) 1st

Garcia 75 (3) 8th

Rnd 4

2006

British Open Championship

Woods 67 (-5) 1st

Garcia 73(1) 5th

Rnd 1

2003

British Open Championship

Woods 73 (2) 19th

Garcia 73 (2) 19th

Rnd 2

2003

British Open Championship

Woods 72 (1) 11th

Garcia 71(E) 4th

Rnd 3

2003

World Golf Championships-Amex Championship

Woods 69 (-1) 1st

Garcia 70 (E) 5th

Rnd 4

2002

U.S. Open Championship

Woods 72 (2) 1st

Garcia 74 (4) 4th

Rnd 3

2001

Memorial Tournament

Woods 68 (-4) 2nd

Garcia 70(-2) 3rd

Rnd 4

2001

Bay Hill Invitational

Woods69 (-3) 1st

Garcia 74 (2) 4th

Rnd 2

1999

World Golf Championships-NEC Invitational

Woods 71 (1) 6th

Garcia 70 (E) 6th

Rnd 1

1999

The Masters

Woods 72 (E) 20th

Garcia 72 (E) 20th

Rnd 2

1999

The Masters

Woods 72 (E) 18th

Garcia 75 (3) 35th

 

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