Sergio Garcia apologized for a second time for saying he would serve fried chicken if he and Tiger Woods were to have dinner at the U.S. Open, the latest in nearly two weeks of verbal sparring.
What had been a celebration of European golf at an awards dinner south of London shifted suddenly to a racially sensitive moment. Garcia said he meant to give a funny answer to a playful question, and it turned out to be "totally stupid and out of place."
"I feel sick about it, and I feel truly, truly sorry," he said Wednesday from Virginia Water, England, site of this week's European Tour event.
Woods and Garcia have exchanged barbs since May 11, the third round of the Players Championship, when Garcia implied Woods purposely stirred up the gallery as the Spaniard played a shot.
Garcia and his Ryder Cup teammates were at a dinner Tuesday night when the emcee, Golf Channel's Steve Sands, jokingly asked Garcia if he would have Woods over for dinner during the U.S. Open.
"We'll have him round every night," Garcia replied. "We will serve fried chicken."
The remark was reminiscent of Fuzzy Zoeller's similar comment about Woods during his record-setting victory in the 1997 Masters.
After the dinner, Garcia issued a statement through the European Tour that did not mention Woods by name. He apologized "for any offense that may have been caused" by answering the question with a "silly remark. … But in no way was the comment meant in a racist manner."
Woods responded Wednesday morning with a series of tweets: "The comment that was made wasn't silly. It was wrong, hurtful and clearly inappropriate. I'm confident that there is real regret the remark was made. The Players ended nearly two weeks ago, and it's long past time to move on and talk about golf."
Garcia, 33, held an impromptu news conference Wednesday afternoon.
"I want to also apologize to my Ryder Cup teammates who were there (Tuesday night) for taking the shine away from a wonderful event and finally, and foremost, I want to apologize to Tiger and to anyone I could have offended," he said. "I felt very sick about it and feel really bad and just hope to settle things down and move on."
Garcia said he left a voice mail for Mark Steinberg, Woods' agent, because he doesn't have a phone number for Woods. Steinberg did not immediately respond to an email to confirm he received the call or if Woods planned to call Garcia.
"I would love to talk to them as soon as possible and make sure that everything is okay," Garcia said; "tell them how sorry I am and, obviously, it was a bad comment that shouldn't have been said."
Three-round LPGA: With Tuesday's violent storms leaving standing water at seven holes and the ninth and 18th fairways flooded, the Bahamas LPGA Classic at Paradise Island was shortened to 54 holes beginning Friday. The 36-hole cut will be made after Saturday's second round.