Sergio Garcia makes 'racist' remark about Tiger Woods, apologizes twice


Tiger Woods of the USA and Sergio Garcia of Spain stand on the 11th tee during round three of The Players Championship at The Players Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 11, 2013 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.


Richard Heathcote

Sergio Garcia has made an apparently racist remark about Tiger Woods during Tuesday’s European Tour player's awards dinner in London, then quickly apologized — twice.

When asked by the Golf Channel's Steve Sands if he would invite the American for dinner one night during the upcoming US Open, Garcia said, according to The Guardian:

"We will have him round every night. We will serve fried chicken."

Woods made several comments on Twitter regarding the insult. While he said Garcia probably regrets making the statement, it doesn't change the impact.

Their war of words began May 11 during the third round of The Players Championship at Sawgrass in Florida.

Garcia found water three times in the final two holes and plummeted down the leader board to eighth place, sinking his chances of winning the event.

Woods, the eventual winner, and Garcia were paired together in the third round, the Golf Channel explained.

On the second hole, Garcia blamed Woods for distracting him while he was over a shot, beginning an exchange of unpleasantness that continued though the media in the following days.

The spat resumed this week on both sides of the Atlantic when Woods offered a one-word answer — "No" — when asked if he had considered contacting Garcia to put the matter to rest.

At a sponsor function outside London, Garcia revealed what sparked the feud:

''He called me a whiner. That's probably right. It's also probably the first thing he's told you guys that's true in 15 years. I know what he is like. You guys are finding out.''

After the tournament, Garcia told reporters that while "disappointed" about not winning the tournament, he was "happy knowing the way I played and the way I handled myself."

Earlier on Tuesday, Garcia had seemingly tried to tone down his language over Woods, responding when asked at the BMW Championship at Wentworth about the spat:

''I can't like everybody and there's people that you connect with and there's people that you don't. He doesn't need me in his life, I don't need him in mine and let's move on and keep doing what we're doing. ... We should kind of move on and forget — well, it will be difficult to forget — but kind of move on about what happened.''

Then came the clangor that evening, which Agence France-Presse likened to an infamous quote from Fuzzy Zoeller in 1997, after Woods had won his first US Masters title.

Winners traditionally choose the menu for the following year's champion's dinner, and Zoeller quipped:

"You pat him on the back and say congratulations and enjoy it and tell him not serve fried chicken next year. Got it? Or collard greens or whatever the hell they serve."

Garcia's first apology came when issuing a statement through the European Tour that said:

"I apologies for any offense that may have been caused by my comment on stage during The European Tour Players' Awards dinner. I answered a question that was clearly made towards me as a joke with a silly remark, but in no way was the comment meant in a racist manner."

He met with reporters again on Wednesday in Wentworth, England, where he's competing in the European Tour's BMW PGA Championship this weekend.

"I want to apologize to Tiger and anybody that I could have offended," Garcia said, according to ESPN. "I feel sick about it. I'm truly, truly sorry. And I hope we can kind of settle things down and hopefully move on."

Woods then ended his short Twitter response with hopes that everyone can move past this.

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