You dig deep and bring the thunder and laughs with that? You're asked jokingly at a golf gala whether you're going to have Tiger Woods — with whom you've been feuding for, well, ever since he started kicking your tail in on every golf course on the planet for the past decade or two — over for dinner during the U.S. Open; you think the question is funny and want to keep the tone light and the comedy flowing, so you respond with a real chuckler. ... “We will have him ' round every night. We will serve fried chicken.'
Oh, man, Serge. Now, that's good humor.
Somewhere Fuzzy Zoeller is busting a gut.
We can almost hear the guffaws, in hatred's far reaches.
Let's start again here.
It probably took Garcia all of two seconds to realize what an idiotic thing he had uttered from the stage at the European Tour players' awards dinner in London on Tuesday night. Too bad he didn't realize that long before he said it or even thought it.
He later issued this statement through the Euro Tour: “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.'
On Wednesday, Garcia apologized again, telling reporters that his remark “was totally stupid and out of place. I feel sick about it.' He also said, “It was a funny question. I tried to give a funny answer. ... I'm very, very sorry. I cannot apologize enough times.'
For his part, Woods responded via tweets:
“The comment that was made wasn't silly. It was wrong, hurtful and clearly inappropriate. I'm confident that there is real regret that the remark was made. The Players ended nearly two weeks ago and it's long past time to move on and talk about golf.'
Tiger is right and he's wrong on that last part.
The verbal back-and-forth between Woods and Garcia that erupted during the Players Championship, when the two were paired in the tournament's third round, set off a long-simmering disregard the golfers have for one another. Garcia essentially said Woods disrupted a shot he was hitting, Woods called Garcia a whiner, Garcia, in so many words, called Woods a liar and on they went.
From here, that's fine.
Who doesn't like a good feud mixed into their sports now and again? Especially in a dressed-out affair like golf? The game needs a strong pot-stirring like this every so often. The fact that this little to-do involves the best player in the world, maybe the best player of all time, and a big-name golfer who, despite his talent, never has fulfilled his enormous potential makes it even better.
Here's hoping the two of them continue to let their dislike for each other spill over for the rest of us to enjoy, straight into the teeth of important competition. Here's hoping the players get paired at Merion Golf Club and that the tension rises. Think about it: Tiger jingles his keys as Sergio is putting a 10-footer for birdie, and the two of them stare each other down and then, throw down baby. Nothing like a hearty fistfight on the 18th green at the U.S. Open.
All strong. All honest. All good.
But this business of Garcia, a continent away, dropping a weak remark about fried chicken on Tiger is beyond funny, beyond silly, beyond stupid. It's pathetic.
It's worse than a thrown punch. It's a festering infection.
Can we all peer out from our hundred-acre wood long enough to hope for the obvious ... that one day, some day, golf and every other sport and the world as a whole can extinguish every hint of racism, that differences can be celebrated instead of judged, discriminated against, ridiculed and stereotyped?
Sergio Garcia may well be sorry for what he said. But he's nowhere near as sorry as the rest of us.