May 22, 2013
It’s no secret Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia aren’t the best of friends. In fact, it wouldn’t be out of line to say they can’t stand each other. Woods has been known to call Garcia a whiner and Garcia has been known to call Woods a fake character. The fact Woods has dominated Garcia when they’ve been paired together in past golf tournaments doesn’t help matters. Even with all that, the animosity for one another hasn’t really bubbled over until almost two weeks ago, when Garcia accused Woods of messing up one of his shots in mid-swing. Woods apparently pulled a 5-iron out of his bag, which drew a rise out of the gallery. The sudden applause distracted Garcia enough to force a shank of the shot, and the verbal spat has been rampant ever since. When told Garcia’s shot was potentially ruined by what he did, Woods said he didn’t even know about it and it doesn’t even surprise him Garcia would complain about something. Garcia, in response, called Woods out for not being truthful to himself. The jabs have continued ever since then. When asked whether or not he would try to let bygones be bygones at a press conference, Woods said “No.” In response, Garcia said Woods may not like him, but that’s the first time he he’s been real in 15 years. It just seemed like normal back and forth verbal punches being thrown. Jokes were even made about these two getting into a boxing ring and fighting each other. Then on Tuesday, the jabs took an ugly turn. While at a European Tour dinner in London, Garcia was asked would he ever have Woods over for dinner while at the U.S. Open tournament, in which he said he would “serve fried chicken.” Anyone who knows the history of golf can recall the fried chicken comment Fuzzy Zeller made when asked about what to serve for dinner at the Masters in 1997. Being an black man, I could easily be offended by Garcia’s remarks, but I honestly don’t see why I should be. I just think we should be well past the point where this should offend anyone because it’s 2013 and racism shouldn’t even be a factor anymore. I love fried chicken and if Garcia told me he would be cooking that dish for dinner, I would probably be the first one over there to get as much chicken as I can, assuming he knows how to cook. Having said that, I think Garcia was just trying to be funny and totally missed the mark. If a person is a public figure, what he or she says is analyzed in every which way. While I may take what Garcia said in stride, I don’t speak for everyone, and there are a lot of blacks, or anyone else who likes fried chicken, who will be offended by Garcia’s comments. Even in today’s world, there is still way too much emphasis being put on the race or color of a person, when that same emphasis should be put on the character of an individual. I like the fact Woods took the high road with his comments on Twitter. Yes he said the comments were inappropriate, but he also wants to move on from all of this. While Garcia is in back pedal mode and things look bad, I think some good can come out of this. Maybe Woods and Garcia can actually come together and bury this feud. I’m not saying they can be best of friends, but just develop mutual respect for one another and just get back to playing golf. As for Garcia’s comments, we just have to let him deal with the backlash. He has apologized and he clearly made a mistake. The key thing moving forward is to see if Garcia will learn from this error in judgement. You can’t change what happened in the past, but you can control what happens in your future. This is the new challenge that awaits Sergio Garcia, and only time will tell if he’s remember more for his play on the golf course, or his fried chicken jab.
By Charles Taylor