Sergio Garcia & Tiger Woods in Players Championship row

Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods

The Players Championship, Sawgrass - third round leaderboard (play suspended due to darkness)

D Lingmerth (Swe) (after 17 holes)
H Stenson (Swe) (after 16), S Garcia (Sp) (after 14), T Woods (US) (after 14)
J Maggert (US), C Wittenburg (US) (after 17), R Palmer (US) (after 16)
D Lynn (Eng), H Mahan (US)
G Chalmers (Aus), M Leishman (Aus)
Selected others:
-6 L Westwood (Eng) (after 15)
-5 :
M Laird (Sco), R McIlroy (NI)
A Scott (Aus)
L Donald (Eng)

A row between Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods overshadowed round three at The Players Championship, which could not be completed because of storms.

Overnight leader Garcia and world number one Woods are two off the lead with four holes of their rounds left.

Garcia was incensed when distracted by crowd noise he felt had been generated by playing partner Woods.

Rookie David Lingmerth led at 12 under with one hole to go when darkness ended play after an earlier two-hour delay.

The 25-year-old from Sweden, who eagled the 16th, is one of eight men who must complete their rounds at noon UK time on Sunday.

During the delay a storm of a different kind erupted as Garcia, who was one-over for the 14 holes he completed, was questioned about an incident on the second hole that saw him lose his one-shot lead.

The Spaniard sliced his second shot from the fairway after being distracted by enthusiastic crowd reaction to playing partner Woods boldly pulling out a metal wood in readiness for his shot from the trees.

"Well, obviously Tiger was on the left and it was my shot to hit," said Garcia, who bogeyed the hole and found himself one behind the American after Woods recorded a birdie.

"I wouldn't say that he didn't see that I was ready, but you do have a feel when the other guy is going to hit, and right as I was in the top of the backswing I think he must have pulled like a five-wood or a three-wood and obviously everybody started screaming. So that didn't help very much.

"I think that I try to respect everyone as much as possible out there. I try to be careful what I do to make sure it doesn't bother the other players."

Woods said he was innocent of any gamesmanship, and returned some choice observations about the Spaniard.

David Lingmerth
Lingmerth posted an eagle, five birdies and three bogeys in an eventful 17 holes

"The marshals, they told me he already hit, so I pulled a club and was getting ready to play my shot, and then I hear his comments afterwards, and [it's] not real surprising that he's complaining about something."

The coolness between the pair continued when, in response to the comments by Woods, Garcia said: "That's fine. At least I'm true to myself. I know what I'm doing. He can do whatever he wants."

Lingmerth, who earned his Tour card after finishing 10th on the Tour last year, lost in a play-off in his second event of the season in January, but has since missed the cut in eight of his last 10 events.

Having holed from eight feet to eagle the 16th, Lingmerth put his tee shot at the par-three 17th to 10 feet when the klaxon sounded for the suspension of play.

He opted to continue with the putt and duly recorded his fifth birdie of the round.

No rookie has previously won the prestigious Players' event, and only twice has the tournament witnessed a maiden victory.

"I might have some butterflies," he said of his emotions going into the final day. "And it might be hard to sleep but it should be interesting."

Lee Westwood, who was two strokes off the lead at the halfway stage, slipped six adrift with three holes of his round remaining after two double bogeys in his opening four holes, including a bizarre 'air shot'.

The 40-year-old, who had not dropped a single shot over the first 36 holes, pulled his drive on the first, which came to rest near the base of a tree, and in trying to reach the green with his second shot he caught the tree on his downswing, causing him to completely miss the ball.