Sergio takes feud to low depths

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Polls of sports stars’ popularity regularly show that Tiger Woods is well down the list — in fact, the polarizing golfer is near the top of the latest ‘Most Despised Athletes’ — but archrival Sergio Garcia has helped to improve his reputation with one stupid remark.
If you follow sports, you’ve heard Garcia’s hurtful (what he says were supposed to be playful) words about inviting Woods over for supper and serving “fried chicken.”
Sergio Garcia, meet Fuzzy Zoeller. Sergio, Fuzzy, say hello to Kelly Tilghman of the Golf Channel.
All three hit rock bottom on the insensitive comment scale because they tried to make funny comments in a public forum about black athletes and used ill-advised stereotypical comments that are generally accepted as slurs.
Zoeller, shortly after Woods burst upon the world golf scene by winning the 1997 Masters by 12 strokes, said in an alleged Scotch-fuelled laughfest something about the 1998 Champions Dinner menu consisting of fried chicken and collard greens — a denigration to African Americans of the highest order.
Hey, Fuzzy was being Fuzzy. Hilarious. It cost him millions in endorsements and he’s reminded of his stupid remark regularly.
A few years later, Tilghman, the talented Golf Channel announcer, thought she was paying tribute to Woods’s talent by saying through laughter that his rivals should “lynch him in a back alley.”
Considering America’s sorry history of race relations and middle-of-the-night Ku Klux Klan activities, her line was about as funny as a broken ankle. She paid for her inappropriate comments with an internal suspension, but has since rebounded to her former place as one of Golf Channel’s best.
And then along came Sergio. His public feud with Woods from a relatively minor spat in the Players Championship in early May escalated two weeks later when he made his ill-advised fried chicken remark that likely will, unfortunately, stain him for life.
Said writer Tom English of The Scotsman.com: “The only thing the Spaniard has achieved . . . was to make a sympathetic character out of Woods.”
Thanks to that Sergio-inspired sympathy, Tiger’s popularity rating will rise while Garcia’s plummets to depths he has never experienced before.
If they pass each other on that popularity pole, Sergio should open his mouth one more time, but this time say only two words: “Sorry, Tiger.”
And Woods, who sought and generally received the world’s forgiveness when he begged for it following his 2010 scandal, should utter an empathetic acceptance.
The two should then embrace after realizing that both have failed miserably in the world of public opinion, and carry on with great golf.

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