US Open 2013: Fan trouble is brewing for Sergio Garcia says Colin Montgomerie

US Open crowd will not let Spanish player forget his ill-considered racist jibe against Woods


A career cast as Mrs Doubtfire by American galleries gives Colin Montgomerie some insight into what Sergio Garcia might expect at the US Open this week. Garcia encounters an American audience for the first time since his racist gaffe aimed at Tiger Woods at Wentworth. Some half expected mischief-makers at Merion to group Garcia with Woods on Thursday. He was spared that trial but, according to Montgomerie, there could be a heap of trouble ahead.

"I think he's going to have a difficult time, of course he is. There might not be badges sent out, the way they were for me, but remember we're only a couple of hours from New York, and it's a lively crowd. I think he could well be booed, which would be most unfortunate, very sad for our game. You feel for him, but the trouble is that's you condoning [his remarks about Woods], so it's a very difficult situation to be in."

Montgomerie, teased mercilessly by crowds in the United States after being dubbed Mrs Doubtfire by pundit David Feherty, offered Garcia some consoling words during the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. "I said 'Well done in making the cut,' and he said 'It's going to be difficult in America.' I said, 'I know it is, but you get on with it and play your golf.'

"The best thing Sergio can do is score 66 first day. It was a thing I tried to do and failed miserably at it, but at the same time that's the best thing he can do. To take on Tiger Woods in America you've got to beat him."

Before Garcia can tackle the golf bit he has to make the political running. Offers to speak to Woods by telephone to explain the "fried chicken" insult delivered in jest at a gala dinner in London were declined. Woods is adept at manipulating the agenda to suit his ends. He was on the wrong end of the morality tale at Sawgrass, where Garcia controlled the debate over golfing etiquette after Woods had disturbed him as he played a shot during their third-round pairing.

Woods was never going to let Garcia wriggle so quickly off the hook. After all there is a championship to win this week. By letting Garcia stew, he has made it almost impossible for him to challenge here, therefore removing from the equation a serious threat to his own ambitions. Woods has not won a major since the US Open in 2008. That's his focus.

Garcia had hoped to draw a line under the affair with a face-to-face meeting on his arrival here. Though the two shook hands briefly on the range yesterday, we shall discover today, when both are scheduled to address the media, whether a détente of sorts has been reached. After that Garcia has only the galleries to worry about.

"If something is expected you can almost plan for it," Montgomerie said. "At least he's prepared for it. If he can go out there and compete – and I mean top 10 – he'll do extremely well, given the scenes that might greet him."

Controversy over racism is not new to Woods. On Thursday he is grouped with Rory McIlroy and Masters champion Adam Scott, which, thanks to Garcia's contribution to Wentworth week, brings into sharper focus his broken relationship with Steve Williams, his former caddie. Williams, who now works for Scott, left his crass mark on the race issue two years ago in China when he referred to Woods in a casual aside as a "black asshole".

Woods managed that situation exactly as he has this, accepting the opportunity to take the moral high ground, which was emphatically denied him during the sex scandal that had engulfed him the previous year. Scott stuck by his man but could have done without the distraction.

When asked about the grouping with Woods, Scott – who was paired with Woods in the opening round at the scene of his last major win, Torrey Pines – ran a mile from the grim dynamic between his caddie and his principal rival for honours this week, talking only about the golf, an escape not available to Garcia. "It was an experience that I'll never forget," he said. "I've never seen that many people on a Thursday morning on the first tee."

Enjoy all the big events live on Sky Sports this summer, including the Lions tour, the Ashes, Formula One and US Open golf

general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before