Sergio Garcia, with friends like George O’Grady, you really don’t need enemies.
O’Grady, European Tour chief executive, waded neck deep into the Garcia-Tiger Woods fracas on Thursday and churned the choppy waters into a tidal wave with a racist statement of his own that went Sergio one better.
"We know the connotation in the United States," said the clueless O'Grady a day after Garcia's second apology for his racially insensitive remark about feeding Woods fried chicken, according to The Telegraph. “We accept all races on the European Tour, we take it very strongly. Most of Sergio’s friends happen to be very, er, are colored athletes in the United States.”
O’Grady uttered his ignorant and shameful words a day after he and PGA Tour counterpart, commissioner Tim Finchem, gave Garcia a get-out-of-jail-free card following the Spaniard’s public apology for taking his years-long feud with Woods to a new and ugly level. The Euro Tour official was seeking to explain that his organization had not let Garcia off the hook.
“There is no need for any further disciplinary action because it's gone so deep with him and all our players think the same way,” O’Grady said. "We are aware with his arguments or his discussions with Tiger Woods, which really quite frankly has no real place either, he accepts that.
"Tiger himself has made remarks and said it's time to get on and continue playing golf and we want to get on with our flagship event which is set up so well this week."
O'Grady sought to justify even the lack of a slap on the wrist for Garcia.
"It's very unfortunate and we are in the middle of it, but we made a statement that both together with commissioner Tim Finchem from the PGA Tour we spoke to Sergio and after what was really a very full and frank discussion on the whole issue that we'd accept his really heartfelt apology and we were convinced that he was trying to be funny -- that it was a lighthearted remark," he said on Sky Sports, according to ESPN UK.
O'Grady added that there was "absolutely no coziness" between Garcia and the tour about any punishment. "We take it very seriously as does he," O'Grady said. "He has convinced us just how seriously he takes it and that's why we've had to draw a line under this thing. Any hint of this sort of feeling has no place on the European Tour.
"All races play on the European Tour and that's how we want to keep it. He is abject in his apology and we are moving on."
Then, of course, it was O’Grady’s turn to issue the standard faux mea culpa for offending all fair-minded people.
"I deeply regret using an inappropriate word in a live interview for Sky Sports for which I unreservedly apologize,” he said, according to ESPN UK.
Can’t wait to see what well-meaning, insensitive, out-of-touch dinosaur gets up to defend O’Grady, who may want to order a round of sensitivity lessons for himself and his golfers. Calling Peter Dawson, the sexist R&A chief who probably believes some of his best friends are women.
To recap: Woods and Garcia have mutual loathing for each other, which blew up during the recent Players Championship when the former blamed the latter for distracting him during a shot in the second round. The two -- mostly Garcia -- have gone at it in a war of words that escalated beyond mere lip service when the Spaniard, in a miserable attempt at a joke, said he would have Woods to dinner and serve him fried chicken.
As several U.K. publications have noted, and the backlash to Fuzzy Zoeller's even more repulsive 1997 reference to Woods and the dish indicated, presuming that African Americans live on fried chicken is a repugnant stereotype.
Oh, and about that “moving on” part, Mr. O'Grady? All we can say is: stay tuned.