Tiger Woods mental golf

The spat between Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia seemingly started at the recent Players Championship took a somewhat more sinister turn earlier this weeks after Garcia’s comments at the European Tour Players Awards Dinner.

Asked by the host if he would be willing to have Tiger Woods around for dinner, Garcia flippantly replied “We will have him round every night. We will serve fried chicken”.

Those words were singularly ill-advised, to put it mildly.

 

 

Sergio Garcia



 

While a seemingly innocuous statement in itself, Garcia’s comments echo the graceless and inflammatory comments uttered by Fuzzy Zoeller at the 1997 Masters tournament when speaking to reports as Woods closed in on his first Masters Green Jacket stated: “”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 for his remarks claiming he’d been miscontrued, which anybody viewing the video below can quite clearly see is hard to believe.

 

 

It is quite clear that Garcia’s comments were designed to inflame Woods, referring as they did to Zoeller’s ridiculous comments, after their ill-tempered exchanges following the final round at the recent Players Championship.

Since then the players have continued their feud in the media, neither willing to budge or offer an apology and while Woods has in the past not enjoyed the moral high ground with some of his antics, Garcia’s comments here are simply unjustifiable.

 

In the immediate furore surrounding his comments, Garcia issued an immediate apology denying his remarks were intended to be racist in any form and that it was said in a flippant and silly manner. Yet it takes naivety to a whole new level to assume that Garcia would have expected his remarks to have been greeted with anything less than a strong reaction.

 

Tiger Woods mental golf

 

Woods stated that he didn’t find the remarks silly but that they were “wrong, hurtful and inappropriate”. Garcia then issued a second mea culpa earlier today restating that he didn’t intend to offend anyone and that his answer was “stupid and out of place.”

The truth of the matter is that Garcia’s rather abrupt backtracking is a clear indication that he understands the gravity of the situation. Racial slurs, regardless if they are intended jokily or not, have no place in society, let alone the game of golf.

 

Many commentators are now wondering if Garcia should face further sanctions. In other sports, high profile racial incidents, such as Luis Suarez in soccer racially abusing a black Manchester United player Patrice Evra, ended with a lengthy ban and hefty fine. Former England international captain was fined, suspended and subject to a police probe after allegedly racially abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand.

Is it time perhaps for golf’s governing bodies to make a clear statement of intent about how they will impose strict penalties on any player found guilty of using racial slurs against an opponent.

 

If Vijay Singh risks suspension for using Deer Antler spray, and belly putters can be outlawed because it is against the principles of the game then surely a game that prides itself on its history, heritage and adherence to fair play, needs to take a strong line against such comments.

It is my view that Garcia should be firmly rebuked, suspended, fined and warned to his future conduct. There is no place in society for remarks like this, however flippant their intentions.

Who would impose these sanctions remains to be seen, but perhaps this is an issue that golf needs to think about.

 

As the gentleman’s game isn’t quite so gentlemanly when incidents like this rear their ugly head.

 

Image by Keith Allison

 

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Comments

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Troy Vayanos June 1, 2013

Sergio really regretted saying this and it showed in his numerous apologies. There’s no place in sport for saying things like this but unfortunately it does seem to happen all too often.

I would like to see both Tiger and Sergio sort out their differences so we can all start talking about golf on the course and not off it.

1

Tommy Priest June 1, 2013

We agree with you. But the fact that official bodies just let it slide is not good for the image of the sport.

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