Even in the staid sport of golf, things could get ugly.
Professional golfer Sergio Garcia apologized this week for saying he would "serve fried chicken" while making a joke about having Tiger Woods over for dinner.
The British newspaper The Guardian reported Garcia was asked in jest while on stage at the European Tour's awards dinner Tuesday night if he would invite Woods to dinner during the U.S. Open.
The Guardian reported Garcia responded: "We will have him round every night. We will serve fried chicken."
The newspaper said Garcia released a statement through the European Tour: "I apologize for any offence 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."
Garcia also held a press conference Wednesday morning expressing his regret regarding his comments and apologizing to Woods.
"It was a funny question. I tried to give a funny answer. .... I'm very, very sorry. I cannot apologize enough times," according to the Business Insider who live blogged the press conference.
He denied the comment was racist and said he had not apologized personally to Woods because he didn’t have his number yet.
Garcia has acknowledged not getting along with Woods and their testy relationship flared up again during The Players Championship at Sawgrass two weeks ago.
Garcia said Woods carelessly created a disturbance in the gallery while Garcia was hitting a shot. The two traded barbs about the incident, as Woods won the tournament and Garcia fell apart in the final few holes.
Garcia's comments Tuesday night were reminiscent of the ones Fuzzy Zoeller took heat for after Woods' won the Masters for the first time back in 1997.
The Masters winner is allowed 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 serve fried chicken next year. Got it? Or collard greens or whatever the hell they serve." Zoeller later apologized.
Garcia said he had not heard of Zoeller’s comments as he was 17 years old at the time.
Woods responded to Garcia’s comments on Twitter.
"The comment that was made wasn't silly. It was wrong, hurtful and clearly inappropriate,” Woods tweeted on Wednesday. "I'm confident that there is real regret that the remark was made.”
Woods urged people to move past the comments, the feud and concentrate on the sport.
"The Players ended nearly two weeks ago and it's long past time to move on and talk about golf," Woods tweeted.
Based on reporting by The Associated Press.