Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia a little tongue-tied at Wentworth
Spaniard claims he will not face Tour sanction after apologising for Tiger Woods remark, Irishman admits ‘something’s up’ with management
Sergio Garcia emerges from a meeting in the rules office with George O’Grady, chief executive of the European Tour (left) and Tim Finchem, PGA Tour Commissioner (right) at Wentworth today. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Sergio Garcia of Spain has apologised for remarks he made about Tiger Woods. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Gtty Images
Rory McIlroy answers questions from the media at a press conference during the Pro-Am round prior to the BMW PGA Championship on the West Course at Wentworth. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images
Sergio Garcia might wish he had taken a leaf out of Rory McIlroy’s book: any potential for an inquisition of McIlroy on the eve of the BMW PGA Championship here at Wentworth was tempered by the Ulsterman’s non-committal answers on his split from agents Horizon Sport.
In contrast, the Spaniard was forced to utter repeated apologies for a perceived racial slur on world number one Tiger Woods at Tuesday night’s European Tour awards dinner.
McIlroy, on legal advice, was clearly reluctant to expand on the parting of the ways from his management company.
“I can’t really comment on speculation at this point. obviously, you guys know something’s up . . . but, at this point, I can’t really say much more.”
Later in the press conference, he was again pressed on his response to queries about a possible management split during the Players at Sawgrass a fortnight ago when he insisted there was no imminent change.
“No, I mean again, I can’t really comment on it. I mean, I don’t want to get myself in a position where I don’t want to be. Look, it is what it is, and the truth will all come out one day and I guess you’ll just have to be patient.”
Garcia’s response was less guarded on Tuesday when host Steve Sands asked if he’d invite Woods around to dinner.
“Yes, every night – and we’ll make sure we have fried chicken,” said Garcia, a reply that prompted comparisons with Fuzzy Zoeller’s comments about Woods at the 1997 Masters.
Garcia’s foot in mouth comment, however, led to him getting a verbal telling off from European Tour chiefs and Woods posted a response on twitter that labelled the Spaniard’s remark as “wrong, hurtful and clearly inappropriate.”
For his part, Garcia said he felt sick to his stomach after making the comment and considered pulling out of this week’s event.
“I didn’t really sleep at all, felt my heart was going to come out of my body,” said Garcia, in apologising to Woods, the European Tour and PGA Tour and his Ryder Cup colleagues.
Garcia tried to make contact with Woods through manager Mark Steinberg to apologise but “he didn’t pick up the phone.”
He claimed his apology was accepted by both the European Tour chief executive George O’Grady and the PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and that he would not be fined for what he claimed was a throwaway comment with no racial intent.