At the 1997 Masters Tournament, as a then-21-year old Tiger Woods was about to finish an incredible 12-shot victory, then-45-year old Fuzzy Zoeller created one of golf’s strangest rivalries when he told a reporter:
“That little boy is driving it well, and he’s putting well. He’s doing everything it takes to win. So you know what you guys do when he gets in here? 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.”
And the people at home watching let out a collective, “Hoo boy, that’s racist.” Well, 16 years later, it seems that Sergio Garcia “forgot” about ol’ Fuzzy’s faux pas and borrowed the joke at a European Tour event last night, when asked whether or not he’d have Woods over for dinner before the U.S. Open next month.
“We’ll have him round every night. We will serve fried chicken.”
Naturally, the apology has already been issued.
“I apologize for any offense that may have been caused by my comment on stage during the European Tour Players’ Awards dinner. I answered a question that was clearly made towards me as a joke with a silly remark, but in no way was the comment meant in a racist manner.”
You know what? I’ll give Garcia the benefit of the doubt and believe him when he says he didn’t say it to be racist. That’s because throughout his entire professional career, Garcia has proven time and again that he has the personality of a sand trap. He probably thinks that Loudmouth golf shorts are the most hilarious thing he’s ever seen in his life.
So it makes sense that when prodded to come up with something witty on the spot about his reignited feud with Woods – that ended with one of the most hilarious chokes in recent history – he reached back into the recesses of his boring mind and grabbed the first joke that someone else made about Woods that he could think of, and it just so happened to be racist.
I think the most appropriate punishment is to make Garcia’s new nickname, “The Dane Cook of Golf”.