VIRGINIA WATER, England (AP) – The head of the European golf tour apologized for using the term “colored” to describe black American athletes during a live television interview in which he was reacting to a spat between Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia.
European Tour CEO George O’Grady said in the May 23 interview that “most of Sergio’s friends are colored athletes in the United States.”
The word “colored” was once widely used in the United States to refer to African Americans but it is now considered antiquated and offensive. In some African countries, it is used to denote individuals of mixed racial ancestry.
“I deeply regret using an inappropriate word in a live interview for Sky Sports for which I unreservedly apologize,” O’Grady, who is British, said in a statement released later in the day.
Woods and Garcia have exchanged barbs over the past three weeks, dating to the third round of The Players Championship when Garcia implied that Woods purposely stirred up the gallery as the Spaniard was playing a shot.
But the situation got uglier May 21 when Garcia and his Ryder Cup teammates were at a dinner. The emcee, Golf Channel’s Steve Sands, jokingly asked Garcia if he would have Woods over for dinner during the U.S. Open.
“We’ll have him round every night,” Garcia replied. “We will serve fried chicken.”
The remark was reminiscent of Fuzzy Zoeller’s similar comment about Woods during his record-setting victory in the 1997 Masters.