After racist remark, Sergio Garcia fights for reputation as Tiger Woods slams 'hurtful' fried chicken joke

Sponsors join condemnation of Spaniard, who issues full apology to Tiger after 'totally stupid' racist remark

Wentworth

Sergio Garcia was battling desperately to save his reputation last night after a racist remark aimed at Tiger Woods triggered outrage and disgust throughout golf.

A repentant Garcia, 33, issued an apology to Woods, his fellow professionals and the European Tour after the ill-judged joke at an awards dinner in London, when he offered to serve Woods fried chicken for dinner.

Though the European Tour neglected to penalise the Spaniard, his principal sponsors, TaylorMade-Adidas, issued a strongly worded statement in which they condemned the outburst.

"Sergio Garcia's recent comment was offensive and in no way aligns with TaylorMade-Adidas Golf's values and corporate culture. 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."

Garcia said: "I was caught off guard by the question ['What night will you be inviting Tiger around for dinner?' Answer: 'Every night, we will give him fried chicken']. But don't get me wrong. I understand that my answer was totally stupid and out of place. I can't say sorry enough about that.

"Most importantly, I want to apologise to Tiger, and anybody that I could have offended. I feel sick about it. I'm truly, truly sorry. I called Mark Steinberg, his manager. He didn't pick up but I left him a message and told him that I was very sorry and that I would love to talk to them as soon as possible and make sure everything is OK. It was a bad comment and shouldn't have been said. I will apologise to him face to face."

Woods issued his own condemnation via his Twitter account: "The comment that was made wasn't silly," Woods wrote. "It was wrong, hurtful and clearly inappropriate. I'm confident that there is real regret that the remark was made. The Players [Championship] ended nearly two weeks ago and it's long past time to move on and talk about golf."

The chief executive of the European Tour, George O'Grady, elected not to impose a sanction on Garcia after a lunchtime meeting. "Together with Commissioner Tim Finchem of the PGA Tour, who attended the Players' Awards Dinner with me last night, we spoke to Sergio Garcia at the conclusion of his Pro-Am round," O'Grady said.

"Sergio expressed very deep and sincere regret for his unguarded and, in his own words, "stupid" remark and we are also aware of his statement of apology issued at 12.25am this morning. Following our meeting, we have accepted his full apology and we consider the matter closed."

Garcia was grateful for that. "They felt very strongly about it. I'm very thankful that they were there to obviously help and be behind me. They both accepted my apologies."

For Garcia's fellow players the episode was hugely embarrassing. Rory McIlroy, who sat alongside Garcia with the rest of Europe's triumphant Ryder Cup team, recoiled behind a nervous laugh when the insult spilt forth. "I was sitting on the sofa at the front and sort of glanced back and was like 'eech'. I think he really does regret what he said and is truly sorry for it."

Justin Rose was peeping through his fingers. "As soon as he said it there were nervous giggles. It was a Stevie Williams-type moment. I'm sure he regrets it. It's going to be up to Tiger and Sergio how quickly it goes away."

Luke Donald, Garcia's closest friend on tour, said: "He had a lot of regret and wished it hadn't happened. I don't think he even meant to say it in a way. It just came out."

Sport
File photo of Lewis Hamilton celebrating becoming World Champion after victory in the 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as he was made favourite to become the first motor racing winner of Sports Personality of the Year since Damon Hill
sportGareth Bale, Carl Froch and Kelly Gallagher also in the mix for award
News
Japan's Suntory Beverage & Food has bought GlaxoSmithKline's Lucozade and Ribena
news
News
A tongue-eating louse (not the one Mr Poli found)
newsParasitic louse appeared inside unfilleted sea bass
News
The illusionist believes hypnotism helped him to deal with the lack of control he felt growing up
people'It’s not that people react badly to it – they really don't care'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleJack Monroe accuses David Cameron of 'misty-eyed rhetoric'
News
Tana Ramsay gave evidence in a legal action in which her husband, Gordon, is accusing her father, Christopher Hutcheson, of using a ghost writer machine to “forge” his signature
peopleTana Ramsay said alleged discovery was 'extremely distressing'
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Windsor and Aljaz Skorjanec rehearse their same-sex dance together on Strictly Come Dancing
TV
Money
Anyone over the age of 40 seeking a loan with a standard term of 25 years will be borrowing beyond a normal retirement age of 65, and is liable to find their options restricted
propertyAnd it's even worse if you're 40
Arts and Entertainment
Perhaps longest awaited is the adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road with Brazil’s Walter Salles directing and Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen as the Beat-era outsiders
books
Arts and Entertainment
theatreSinger to join cast of his Broadway show after The Last Ship flounders at the box office
Life and Style
fashion'To start singing with Pharrell is not that bad, no?'
News
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible