Sergio Garcia Under Fire For Racist Jibe At Tiger Woods, Apologizes
Fuzzy Zoeller made a jibe about Tiger Woods and fried chicken back in 1997
Sergio Garcia landed in hot water when he made a clearly racist jibe at fellow golfer Tiger Woods at the European Tour Player Awards gala on Tuesday night. Although he's apologized, he still might face backlash from sponsors, reported ESPN.
When Garcia was asked at the party if he would invite Woods, whom he claimed to have a long-standing feud with during the Players Championship, to dinner during the US Open, Garcia said, “We will have him around every night,” he said, “And we will serve fried chicken.”
The European Tour’s public relations staff quickly took action to diffuse the ill-advised quip, issuing a statement on Garcia’s behalf later on Tuesday night. The statement indicated that he had regretted the “silly remark,” but denied it had any racial implications.
Woods was duly unimpressed by the apology, and not amused in the slightest. “The comment that was made wasn’t silly. It was wrong, hurtful and clearly inappropriate…,” wrote Woods on his Twitter page. “I’m confident that there is real regret that the remark was made,” he added.
Garcia attempted to apologize again on Wednesday during an impromptu press conference. First apologizing to his Ryder Cup teammates, and then to Woods, he still refused to cop to any racist intent. "I want to apologize to Tiger and anybody that I could have offended," Garcia said. "I feel sick about it. I'm truly, truly sorry. And I hope we can kind of settle things down and hopefully move on."
Back in 1997, Fuzzy Zoeller, a former Masters champ was referring to Woods when he told a TV crew, “That little boy is driving well, and he's putting well,” he said. “He's doing everything it takes to win. So, you know what you guys do when he gets in here? You pat him on the back and say congratulations and enjoy it and tell him not to serve fried chicken next year.
“Got it? … Or collard greens or whatever the hell they serve.”
Although Garcia’s remarks were a bit less flagrant, both golfers tried to use the same exhausted stereotype of African Americans for a laugh. After Zoeller’s remarks, he lost his sponsors.
“Sergio Garcia’s recent comment was offensive and in no way aligns with TaylorMade-adidas Golf’s values and corporate culture,” the company, who sponsors Garcia, said in a statement. “We have spoken with Sergio directly, and he clearly has regret for his statement and we believe he is sincere.
“We discussed with Sergio that his comments are clearly out of bounds, and we are continuing to review the matter.”