European Tour

Garcia to diffuse Tiger spat

2013-05-22 19:48
Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods (AFP)
Wentworth - A contrite Sergio Garcia said Wednesday he wants a meeting with Tiger Woods to apologise directly for the racist row that was sparked by his "fried chicken" comments at an official dinner.

Garcia has had a long-running feud with Woods and it exploded on Tuesday night when he was questioned on stage at the annual tour dinner.

Garcia was asked if he would invite Woods for dinner and responded by saying he would have him round every night and serve fried chicken, stereotypically associated with black people in the American deep south.

Woods took to twitter, calling Garcia's comment "hurtful" before attempting to diffuse the row after the Spaniard had issued a statement though the European Tour saying he did not mean to cause the world number one any offence.

And Garcia has been in touch with Woods' agent to apologise and attempt to set up a meeting with the world number one to sort out the problem once and for all.

"I don't have his phone number but I have called his manager," Garcia told reporters at Wentworth ahead of the PGA Championship.

"He didn't pick up so I left him a message and told them I was very sorry and that I would love to talk to them as soon as possible and make sure everything is okay. I said how sorry I am - it was a bad comment.

"I am sure that I will be able to talk to him and apologise to him face-to-face. Then move forward and forget about the whole thing."

Woods tweeted: "The comment that was made wasn't silly. It was wrong, hurtful and clearly inappropriate.

"I'm confident there is real regret that the remark was made. The Players ended nearly two weeks ago and it is time to move on and talk about golf."

Garcia confirmed he had also apologised to European Tour chief executive George O'Grady and PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and that no disciplinary action would be taken against him.

Garcia added: "I want to give an unreserved apology. I was caught off guard by a question and I understand my answer was totally stupid.

"I would like to say sorry to the European Tour and to my Ryder Cup team mates for taking the shine away from what was a wonderful awards dinner.

"Most importantly I want to apologise to Tiger and to anybody that I could have offended. I feel sick about it and I am truly, truly sorry."

The remark rekindled memories of Fuzzy Zoeller's comments when Woods first one the US Masters in 1997 and as holder could choose the menu for annual champions' dinner.

Zoeller then said: "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." He later claimed the comments had been misconstrued..

Woods' mention of the Players is a reference to the row that he and Garcia had during the Players' Championship at Sawgrass a fortnight ago.

The week was marred by Garcia's spat with Woods - the eventual winner - on the third day when Woods disturbed the Spaniard as he was hitting a shot.

The incident spiralled into a war of words with Garcia telling reporters again on Tuesday that he did not like playing with Woods and the two would never be friends.

Then Garcia said: "You can't like everybody. There are people you connect with and people that you don't - it is as simple as that. He doesn't need me in his life and I don't need him in mine so let's move on and keep doing what we are doing."

Read more on:    tiger woods  |  sergio garcia  |  golf

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