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U.S. Open Digest

ARDMORE, Pa. A contrite Sergio Garcia said Tuesday he hasn’t yet apologized directly to Tiger Woods about racially insensitive remarks he made recently.

Garcia and Woods shook hands and briefly spoke on the practice tee a day earlier while preparing for this week’s U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club. Garcia said he left a hand-written note in Woods’ locker, but he still hasn’t had the chance to apologize in person.

“It’s difficult to meet up,” Garcia said. “If not, at least he has read the note and he’s happy with that.”

Garcia caused a stir recently when he said he would invite Woods to dinner and serve fried chicken. He immediately apologized in public and said he didn’t intend for the remark to be interpreted as racially insensitive.

“I see that I hurt a lot of people,” he said. “That doesn’t make me feel good. I wish I could go back in time and take back what I said. But, unfortunately, I said it. The only thing I can do is show my respect moving forward. Only time will tell, I guess.”

Woods, while confirming that Garcia hadn’t apologized to him personally, said he’s ready to move on.

“It’s already done,” he said. “We’ve already gone through it all. It’s time for the U.S. Open and we tee it up in two days.”

Notes

Phil’s commute: Phil Mickelson left Merion on Monday to attend his daughter’s eighth-grade graduation Wednesday in San Diego. He had planned to practice at soggy Merion on Tuesday, but elected to do so at home. He will return late Wednesday to Merion, where he has a 7:11 a.m. first-round tee time Thursday.

“I had always planned on being there for (the graduation),” Mickelson said in a statement. “But since it was raining so much Monday and we didn’t know if we’d be able to play a sloppy course, I came home (Monday) night to practice in great weather on my range and greens. I’ll be ready to go Thursday.”

Northeast crowds: Woods said he’s looking forward to playing in the suburbs of Philadelphia, although he’s never played a competitive round at Merion. In fact, a practice round a few weeks ago was the first time he’d ever played the course.

“This is one of the great sporting towns in the country,” he said of Philadelphia. “They’re passionate about sports.”

Star group: The threesome of Woods, Rory McIlroy and Masters champion Adam Scott will headline Thursday’s and Friday’s rounds.

“It’s always nice to be a part of something like that,” said McIlroy, the 2011 U.S. Open champion. “You’re in a group where there’s a lot of buzz and there’s a lot of atmosphere around it and it gets you focused from the first shot.”

Past champs: The most recent U.S. Open at Merion champions – David Graham (1981) and Lee Trevino (1971) – met with the media.

“I think it’s great that these old courses can still host a major championship,” Graham said. “This is a classic golf course. I hope the powers that be will continue to find these traditional great courses like (Merion), Oakmont and Oakland Hills, because it’s great that you have Tiger Woods walking the same fairways that (Ben) Hogan walked.”

Trevino was asked what he thinks about when he thinks about Merion.

“I think about the guy I beat,” he said, laughing. That guy was Jack Nicklaus, in a playoff.

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