BETHESDA, Md. — Tiger Woods spoke for some 20 minutes about the state of his game, belly putters, the U.S. Open and the AT&T National. As he was wrapping up, he needed just one word to cover the topic of Sergio Garcia.
Asked if he had any thought of contacting Garcia to make amends between the two, Woods quickly answered: “No.” He smiled. Nearly everyone else in the room laughed.
Hardly the best of the friends, the Woods-Garcia relationship hit petty proportions during this month’s Players Championship over a dispute as to whether Woods inadvertently or maliciously — or somewhere in between — disrupted the Spaniard’s swing when they were paired together during the tournament’s third round.
Woods’ expression Monday said it all: They won’t be calling a truce any time soon.
Woods was very much at ease as he looked ahead to next month’s U.S. Open at Merion near Philadelphia and the AT&T National, which is run by his charitable foundation and will be played again at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda.
His mood was hardly surprising, given how well he’s been playing. Woods already has four PGA Tour wins this year and will the defending champion at the AT&T, although it’s now been nearly five years since he last won a major.
“My game is coming around, and to have won seven times the last couple years is something I’m proud of,” he said. “It’s not easy to do, but the swing changes with (swing coach Sean Foley), I’m starting to see it now and starting to get the consistency.”
Woods has never seen Merion, and he said he’s planning to play the course before tournament week to chart the greens and get an overall feel.
“I don’t know if it’s hilly or it’s flat,” he said. “Is it predominantly right to left, left to right? Whether it’s going to be the driver, or is it going to be the 3-wood that week or 5-wood, I don’t know. These are all things that I’ll get an understanding for when I first go play it.”
As for the AT&T National, Woods again reiterated his desire to keep the tournament at Congressional. The current deal with the club runs through next year, and the club’s members — some of whom aren’t happy with the annual disruptions that come with hosting a PGA Tour event — are scheduled to vote later this year whether to welcome the tournament for another three years.
The PGA Tour is expected to announce Tuesday whether to adopt a proposed rule banning the anchored stroke usually associated with belly putters. Woods supports the ban, which wouldn’t take effect until 2016.
“I hope they do it as soon as possible, to be honest with you,” he said. “I’ve always felt that in golf you should have to swing the club, control your nerves and swing all 14 clubs, not just 13.”
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