Sergio Garcia made a fried chicken joke about Tiger Woods at an awards gala in England last night.
When he was jokingly asked whether he’d invite Tiger over for dinner at the US Open, Sergio said, “We will have him ’round every night. We will serve fried chicken.”
He issued an apology last night, and held a press conference this morning to further discuss the incident.
The joke was eerily similar to a Tiger Woods fried chicken joke made golfer Fuzzy Zoeller in 1997.
At the 1997 Masters, Zoeller said, “So you know what you guys do when he gets in here? Pat him on the back, say congratulations, enjoy it. And tell him not to serve fried chicken next year …. or collared greens or whatever the hell they serve.”
Here’s the video:
A few days later, Zoeller was caught making a similar joke about watermelon to a black friend at a course in South Carolina. From the LA Times:
The black golfer, Victor McBryde, called to Zoeller, “Hey, Fuzzy,” at the Thornblade Classic charity pro-am in Greenville, S.C., and Zoeller responded, “Go get you some fried chicken.” McBryde answered by telling Zoeller not to forget the cornbread.
“How about some watermelon?” Zoeller said.
In the wake of the scandal, Kmart cancelled its endorsement deal with Zoeller.
“Regardless of the context, they are contrary to Kmart’s longstanding policies that ensure our words and deeds are without bias,” the company said at the time.
Zoeller also became the focal point for a larger discussion about golf and race at a time when Tiger was taking the traditionally white sport by storm.
While he recovered and went on to play on the Senior Tour, even 16 years later, the first thing everyone thought of when they heard Sergio’s remarks was Zoeller.
Sergio’s situation is different than Zoeller’s. He is at a much different point in his career than Zoeller was. In addition, his joke was slightly less nasty than Zoeller’s.
Sergio has deals with Adidas and Taylor Made, among other companies.
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