Sergio García 'could be booed' at US Open, says Colin Montgomerie

Teeing Off

Colin Montgomerie believes Sergio García may be booed by this week's US Open crowds following the Spaniard's "fried chicken" jibe towards Tiger Woods.

García hopes to meet with Woods before the tournament gets under way at Merion on Thursday to offer an personal apology for the comment made at a European Tour gala dinner last month. The pair are known to dislike each other, with the Spaniard's remark, when questioned on stage at the dinner, widely interpreted as racist and earning him fierce rebukes from, among others, his main sponsor, TaylorMade-Adidas. The affair firmly overshadowed the PGA Championship at Wentworth.

Now Montgomerie, who had García as a non-playing member of his Ryder Cup team at Celtic Manor in 2010, believes further severe treatment could be in store from a boisterous Pennsylvania crowd.

When asked if García would be subjected to booing, Montgomerie said: "Yes, he could do, which is very sad for our game. Remember we're only a couple of hours from New York and it's a lively crowd and I think he could well be booed. You would feel for him, but the trouble is [if] you feel for him that's you condoning it. So you can't feel sorry for him because you're condoning it. So it's very difficult – it's a very difficult situation to be in."

Montgomerie, who will be part of the Sky commentary team for the season's second major, was targeted by US crowds as a player and most notably in the Ryder Cup at Brookline. By that stage, in 1999, he had become accustomed to it. "Yes I did manage it better, but it was expected, so if something is expected you can almost plan for it and Sergio could plan for this because it's expected for him," the Scot added. "I think if something is expected you can go with it, if it's unexpected you go: 'What the hell is that all about? I'm not ready for that.' So at least he's prepared for it and he knows.

"He spoke to me at Wentworth on the Thursday or Friday when I'd 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 get on with it and play your golf.' That's all he can do, he's there to play golf. He has got to do his job."

Woods and García are both due to hold routine media conferences on Tuesday, with the world No1 the clear favourite to win and thereby end a five-year wait for his 15th major. "The best thing Sergio García can do is play his golf and score 66 on the first day," Montgomerie added. "That's the best thing he can do and it was a thing I tried to do – and failed miserably at it.

"To take on Tiger Woods in America you've got to beat him and unfortunately he didn't – he finished seven, six [at Sawgrass], as we all know, and I think he's going to have a difficult time at the US Open, of course he is.

"There might not be badges sent out, the way they were for me, but at the same time he's got to go out and score 66, and that will silence all the critics."

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Ewan Murray at Merion, for The Guardian on Monday 10th June 2013 23.00 Europe/London

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