According to The Guardian's Ewan Murray, Garcia was at the European Tour's gala players' awards dinner where he was asked a question about Woods. His answer could be construed as a racist remark:
Garcia was asked in jest if he would have the American round for dinner one night during the upcoming US Open. "We will have him round every night," García said. "We will serve fried chicken."
Later on, the Spaniard apologized, saying that his comment was a "silly remark" and not meant to come off in a "racist manner."
On Wednesday, Woods took to Twitter to respond to Garcia's comments:
The comment that was made wasn’t silly. It was wrong, hurtful and clearly inappropriate...— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) May 22, 2013
I’m confident that there is real regret that the remark was made.— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) May 22, 2013
The Players ended nearly two weeks ago and it’s long past time to move on and talk about golf.— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) May 22, 2013
Garcia then formally apologized to Tiger during a press conference on Wednesday morning.
"My answer was totally stupid and out of place...I feel sick about it." -Sergio Garcia, now, apologizing to Tiger and others.— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) May 22, 2013
No matter what Garcia meant with his comments, this will likely serve as yet another landmark in the ongoing spat between the two golfers.
Garcia's unfortunate choice of words also brought to mind Fuzzy Zoeller's offensive remarks after Woods won his first major back in 1997 at Augusta. Zoeller was quoted as saying of Woods' win, "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."
The winner of the Masters traditionally chooses the champions' dinner menu for the following year's tournament. Zoeller later apologized.
While Woods and Garcia have more or less been rivals for more than a decade, more fuel was added to the fire earlier this month at the Players Championship.
As he was getting ready to play his second shot, Garcia claimed that he was distracted by cheers for Woods, who was buried deep in the trees about 50 yards away.
Weeks later, Woods said that he wouldn't contact Garcia to try to smooth things out, and Garcia responded with some choice words:
Do you think Sergio Garcia's comments were racist?
“He called me a whiner. That’s probably right,” Garcia said to reporters. “It’s also probably the first thing he’s told you guys that’s true in 15 years. I know what he is like. You guys are finding out.”
There is clearly some history between these two, and as such, Garcia may not have intended for his most recent comment to be interpreted as racism. It could have just been a poorly-phrased joke towards a guy he seems to genuinely dislike.
Either way, you can rest assured that the duo won't be shaking hands anytime soon. Expect more fireworks if they are paired up on tour.