Sergio Garcia was in no joking mood Wednesday morning when he apologized publicly for the decidedly unfunny “fried chicken” quip he made Tuesday night at Tiger Woods’ expense.
“I want to send an unreserved apology,” Garcia told reporters gathered for this week’s BMW PGA Championship in England. “I was obviously caught off guard by the question but don’t get me wrong; I understand that my answer was totally out of place.”
(Video: Courtesy of The Guardian)
Garcia was referring to a comment he made at a black-tie Euro Tour players award dinner, during which he replied to a humorous question from Golf Channel’s Steve Sands about whether he would invite Woods to dinner next month’s U.S. Open.
Garcia responded that “We will have him round every night. We will serve fried chicken” -- an off-the-cuff riposte that touched off a firestorm of criticism and a recollection of a similarly racist remark from Fuzzy Zoeller back in 1997.
Woods took to Twitter to express his disappointment in his adversary’s remarks moments before Garcia met the press in an interview aired live on Golf Channel.
Garcia appeared sincere and subdued when he apologized to the European Tour and his Ryder Cup teammates before finally offering a mea culpa to Woods, with whom he has been feuding since The Players Championship earlier this month.
“Most importantly, I want to apologize to Tiger and anybody I could have offended,” Garcia said. “I feel sick about it. I’m truly sorry.”
Garcia, who said he had not slept all night because he was so upset by what he said, offered that he would like to speak with Woods personally but that he did not have his phone number.
“It was obviously a bad comment that I shouldn’t have been said,” said Garcia, who contended he meant nothing racially offensive with his remark.
“No not at all, it wasn’t meant that way,” said Garcia, who claimed not to have known about Zoeller’s own fried chicken slur in 1997. “I was caught off guard in what seemed to be a funny question and tried to give a funny comment that totally came out wrong....I can’t apologize enough times.”
Garcia said he had met with PGA and European Tour officials, who told him they were “fine with it,” and accepted his apologies. He said he expected no fine, suspension, or other discipline for his remarks.