Sat04192014

Sports

Lesson learned for Sergio Garcia after ‘horrible’ Tiger slur

Garcia-Woods 600

(CNN) – Tiger Woods was whacking golf balls across a bridge in Turkey last week, but back in Spain, Sergio Garcia is still feeling the need to build them following the "fried chicken" saga earlier this year.

Speaking to CNN's "Living Golf," Garcia once again struck a chord of contrition over the comments he made about the World no.1 last May.

"I didn't mean it in a bad way. When I was driving back to the hotel, I started thinking about it," Garcia told Shane O'Donoghue.

"Obviously, I didn't expect that question at all and you try to be funny and it comes out the wrong way I guess," he added.

Garcia made the comment during a private dinner at Wentworth golf club a couple of weeks after he and Woods had endured a fractious third round at the Players Championship – the Spaniard complained that the gallery following Woods had disturbed him during a shot.

When asked in jest if he would be inviting Woods for dinner during the then upcoming U.S. Open, Garcia replied: "Yeah, we will have him around every night. We will serve fried chicken."

Fried chicken is a common food in the American South, but when used in reference to African-Americans can often imply a negative stereotype.

Fellow Ryder Cup star Graeme McDowell perhaps summed up the slip best on Twitter: "Private/humor filled environment but he (Garcia) shouldn't have said it #slip."

The remark echoed U.S. golfer Fuzzy Zoeller's infamous slur on Woods following his maiden major win at the Masters in 1997.

"Tell him not to serve fried chicken next year," Zoeller said to reporters in an attempt to make humor of the fact that Woods was the first African-American to win the tournament. Tradition dictates that the reigning Masters champion choose the menu for the Champions Dinner the following year.

Woods tweeted that Garcia's comments were "wrong, hurtful and clearly inappropriate" and even the Spaniard's equipment makers TaylorMade weighed in calling the comments "offensive."

Garcia issued an unreserved apology via the European Tour but recoils when asked to recall the media storm that followed the jibe.

"It was horrible, but what's done is done. Everybody knows how I feel about it, so I think they should be fine with it and if not, it's kind of their problem," he said.

"The most important thing is learning from all those things.

"I'm making sure that all those experiences make you stronger, a better person and things like that. I think that I've learned from those things and I just need to keep getting better at it, and hopefully keep making people happy."

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