LOS ANGELES - The spat between Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia rumbled on Wednesday as two marshals who worked at the Players Championship backed Woods's version of the events that sparked the flap.
Woods won the event on Sunday for the second time in his career, stretching his lead atop the world rankings and moving within four of matching Sam Snead's career record of 82 US PGA Tour titles.
The Florida Times-Union, a newspaper in Jacksonville, Florida, quoted two tournament marshals who disputed a Sports Illustrated account earlier this week that suggested Woods lied about the third-round incident that miffed Garcia.
"It is not true and definitely unfair to Tiger," Brian Nedrich, who was a marshal at the second hole at TPC Sawgrass during the third round of the tournament on Saturday, told the newspaper.
Garcia said Woods pulled a club from his bag as the Spaniard was hitting his second shot at the hole, sparking a crowd reaction that distracted him during his swing.
Woods, who was off the fairway and couldn't see Garcia, said a marshal had told him the Spaniard had already hit.
But Sports Illustrated on Tuesday quoted marshal Gary Anderson as saying Woods didn't speak to them.
"He didn't ask us nothing and we didn't say nothing," Anderson said.
"We're told not to talk to the players."
Nedrich told the Times-Union that he was the marshal who said Garcia had hit.
Nedrich said Woods did pull his club before Garcia hit — television replays showed that occurred as Garcia stood over his ball but before his backswing.
When fans behind Woods began to move about, marshal Lance Paczkowski asked for quiet telling them the other player hadn't hit, the newspaper said.
"That's when I yelled back at Lance, 'No ... he's already hit,'" Nedrich said.
"Tiger had already taken his club, but we did tell him that Sergio had hit."
Nedrich said he thought the whole incident was unfortunate "and I don't think either player is to blame.
"It's disingenuous to suggest that Tiger is a liar because he got a minor detail wrong," Nedrich told the newspaper. "Basically, he told the truth."