Tiger Woods: Fried chicken jibe by Sergio Garcia 'hurtful'

Tiger Woods has called Sergio Garcia's "fried chicken" remark "wrong, hurtful and clearly inappropriate".

Garcia, 33, had joked he would invite Woods for dinner to settle their recent argument and serve fried chicken.

Fried chicken is stereotypically associated with black people in the American deep south.

In a press conference on Wednesday, a contrite Garcia said: "I want to apologise to Tiger, I feel sick about it and I'm truly sorry."

I didn't sleep at all last night. It has been difficult to hit a shot without thinking about it. The only thing I can do is say sorry

Sergio Garcia

Shortly beforehand, 37-year-old Woods wrote on Twitter: "The comment that was made wasn't silly. It was wrong, hurtful and clearly inappropriate.

"The Players ended nearly two weeks ago and it's long past time to move on and talk about golf.

"I'm confident that there is real regret that the remark was made."

Woods and Garcia have been involved in a public spat since The Players Championship in the United States earlier this month, when Garcia accused Woods of gamesmanship.

World number one Woods angered Garcia during the third round of the tournament at Sawgrass by preparing for his own shot as the Spaniard was about to play an approach shot.

Garcia was asked at the European Tour's annual awards ceremony on Tuesday if he would have the world number one around for dinner during the upcoming US Open.

"We will have him round every night," Garcia said. "We will serve fried chicken."

The Spaniard's remark was similar to one made by veteran American Fuzzy Zoeller to Woods in 1997.

Tiger's decline and comeback

Tiger Woods
  • 2005: 6 tournaments won
  • 2006: 9
  • 2007: 8
  • 2008: 4
  • 2009: 6
  • 2010: 0
  • 2011: 2
  • 2012: 3
  • 2013: 4 (to date)

After Woods won the Masters, which entitled him to choose the champions' dinner menu for the following year, 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 later apologised and said he had been misconstrued.

At a packed press conference at Wentworth ahead of Thursday's BMW PGA Championship, Garcia said: "I obviously was caught off guard by the question but I understand my answer was totally out of place and I can't say sorry enough.

"Also I'd like to say sorry to the European Tour and my Ryder team-mates for taking the shine away from what was a wonderful awards dinner and most importantly I want to apologise to Tiger.

"I don't have his phone number but I've called his manager. He didn't pick up but I left a message saying I would love to talk as soon as possible telling him how sorry I am and say it was a bad comment."

Garcia added that he did not expect to face disciplinary action, having spoken to PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and European Tour chief executive George O'Grady.

Asked if he had considered withdrawing from this week's Wentworth event, Garcia said: "If you asked me this morning I might have but I feel like the tournament deserves to have me, I want to go out there and give everything I have and make sure the people enjoy watching me play.

"As soon as I left the dinner I had a sick feeling in my body.

"I didn't sleep at all last night, I felt like my heart was coming out of my body. It has been difficult to hit a shot without thinking about it. The only thing I can do is say sorry."