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Sergio apologises after 'fried chicken' comment

ESPN staff
May 22, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Garcia explains Woods feud

Sergio Garcia has formally apologised for an ill-advised comment he made about Tiger Woods at an awards dinner in London on Tuesday evening.

Garcia has been involved in a spat with Woods, the world No. 1, in recent days - after they endured a public falling out when paired together for the third round of the recent Players Championship in Florida.

When asked at the European Tour's annual awards ceremony whether he would invite Woods round for dinner one evening during the upcoming US Open, the Spaniard replied: "We will have him round every night. We will serve fried chicken."

Garcia quickly issued an apology for the comment, which could be construed as racist - although he insists that was not the intent.

"I apologise for any offence that may have been caused by my comment on stage during the European Tour Players' Awards dinner," Garcia said. "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."

In some regards the incident echoes that of Fuzzy Zoeller at the 1997 Masters, who was roundly castigated after some disparaging remarks when Woods won the tournament at a canter.

Referring to the champions' dinner, where the reigning Masters winner chooses the menu, Zoeller said: "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."

Zoeller subsequently apologised and said his comments had been misconstrued.

When asked for his view of Garcia's comments, Graeme McDowell - who was at the awards dinner - said on Twitter: "[It was a] private/humour filled environment but he shouldn't have said it."

Earlier on Tuesday, Garcia was again asked about Woods in a news conference at Wentworth, host of the PGA Championship.

"I mean, you can't like everybody," Garcia said. "I think that there's people that you connect with and there's people that you don't. You know, it's pretty much as simple as that. I think that 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.''

Asked when his issues with Woods began, Garcia said: "A while back. It's never really been like a true connection like I would have maybe with Luke Donald or Lee Westwood or Adam Scott or some of the other guys that I get along with well."

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