Former Ryder Cup captain urges Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods to settle row

Garcia made a racist remark about the World No 1

Former European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal drew on the memory of his 2003 spat with Padraig Harrington as he urged fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods to settle their differences.

Garcia and 14-times major winner Woods have always had a frosty relationship and the Spaniard had to issue an apology on Wednesday after making a "fried chicken" jibe at the world number one at the European Tour's Player of the Year dinner the previous day.

The two players had clashed at the Players Championship in Florida earlier this month when the world number 14 blamed a roar from the crowd watching his American playing partner for an errant shot.

"I'm close to Sergio and to Tiger and I don't know what happened for them to drift apart," Olazabal told Reuters in an interview at the PGA Championship at Wentworth.

"I know people are trying to make a big thing out of it but we are grown men, we can handle things and I'm pretty sure in time everything will settle down, they will shake hands and be friends again.

"It's one of those issues that's not nice to see and we will have to live with it for the next few months I guess."

Olazabal, winner of the U.S. Masters in 1994 and 1999, explained how he had long since patched up his differences with three-times major champion Harrington.

The Spaniard asked the Irishman's permission to repair two pitch marks on the line of a putt during the Seve Trophy match between Continental Europe and Britain & Ireland in Spain 10 years ago.

Harrington believed it needed a ruling and as he looked around for an official, Olazabal worked on the marks.

When the Irishman queried him about it, the Spaniard angrily conceded the hole and walked to the next tee.

"I've had my share of clashes with some players," said Olazabal. "I had my incident with Harrington at the Seve Trophy in Valencia.

"We had some issues. Certain things hurt you but in time you tend to forget and you eventually put things in perspective.

"Nowadays there is no issue between Padraig and me and that's the way it should be."

SPONSOR REACTION

Olazabal, who is involved in a British amateur tournament where the winners get the chance to meet the victorious 2012 Ryder Cup captain in San Sebastian, Spain (http://www.nespresso.com), said Garcia's "fried chicken" jibe was not a racist remark.

"He meant it in a jokey way," he explained. "I don't think he meant it in a bad way but it's true that people can take it the wrong way.

"We saw that with Fuzzy Zoeller a long time ago in the Masters at Augusta. That's the problem these days, you have to be extremely careful what you say because people might take it the wrong way."

Garcia's comment came when he was asked on stage whether he would be inviting Woods for dinner during next month's U.S. Open in Pennsylvania.

"We will have him round every night," said the 33-year-old Spaniard. "We will serve fried chicken."

Fried chicken has become a racial stereotype in the United States when referring to African-Americans - a reference to the days before the abolition of slavery when chicken was believed to be a staple part of the diet.

Garcia's remarks echoed those made by former U.S. Masters winner Zoeller in 1997 when he joked with reporters to tell Woods not to ask for "fried chicken or collard greens or whatever the hell they serve" at the 1998 Champions dinner.

Zoeller was subsequently dropped by two sponsors.

One of Garcia's sponsors, German sportswear group Adidas, has already criticised him for his comment.

Golf equipment company TaylorMade, owned by Adidas, issued a strongly worded statement and left the door open to taking further action against the golfer.

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

"We discussed with Sergio that his comments are clearly out of bounds and we are continuing to review the matter," it added, saying it believed Garcia had been sincere in his apology.

Reuters

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend