Sometimes, it's better just to say nothing at all.
In trying to defend, or at least rationalize, Sergio Garcia's "fried chicken" shot at Tiger Woods, European Tour CEO George O'Grady took to the airwaves of Sky Sports. And in the course of his defense, O'Grady offered up this gem: "Most of Sergio's friends are colored athletes in the United States.''
Ouch. Yes, go ahead and look at your calendar ... this is indeed 2013. Golf has a reputation for being stuck in the past, and nowhere is it more apparent than at moments like this.
Granted, the word "colored" has different connotations in different regions of the globe, but it's pretty much in the job description of the European Tour's CEO to know exactly how to appeal to disparate nations...and to understand exactly how radioactive that word is in America.
O'Grady immediately issued a statement of apology: "I deeply regret using an inappropriate word in a live interview for Sky Sports for which I unreservedly apologize."
Here, per the Daily Mail, is the text of O'Grady's defense of Garcia:
"We (O'Grady and PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem) spoke to Sergio and, after what was really a very full and frank discussion on the whole issue, decided to accept his really heartfelt apology and we were convinced that he was trying to be funny, that it was a lighthearted remark. We know the connotation in the United States. We accept all races on the European Tour, we take it very strongly. Most of Sergio's friends are colored athletes in the United States and he is absolutely abject in his apology and we accepted it ... All races play on the European Tour and that's how we want to keep it. He is abject in his apology and we are moving on."
Word to the wise, folks: the "I have lots of [insert different racial group here] friends" has never, ever, ever worked to defend anyone against accusations of racism, any more than shoveling manure onto one's head helps with problems of bad breath.
Now, enough with the slapfighting in the press. Let's get back to the golf.
-Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee.-