'Many of Sergio Garcia's friends are coloured' says George O'Grady as he stumbles into race row
The racism row surrounding Sergio Garcia took another twist this afternoon when European Tour chief executive George O'Grady used the phrase "coloured athletes" when discussing the decision not to sanction the Spaniard.
Garcia issued an unreserved apology following a comment about world number one Tiger Woods at the Tour's annual dinner on Tuesday night which could be construed as racist.
During a Q&A session involving the full Ryder Cup team hosted by the Golf Channel's Steve Sands, Garcia was asked if he would invite Woods to dinner one night during the upcoming US Open to settle their differences, which resurfaced at the Players Championship this month.
"We will have him round every night," Garcia said. "We will serve fried chicken."
The European Tour has been criticised for accepting Garcia's apology and considering the matter closed, with O'Grady telling Sky Sports today: "There's absolutely no cosiness about this at all.
"We take this very seriously as does he. He's convinced us just how seriously he takes it and that's why we've had to draw a line under this thing.
"Any hint of this feeling has no place on the European Tour, all races play on the European Tour and that's how we're going to keep it. That's how we want to be.
"Most of Sergio's friends happen to be coloured athletes in the United States, he is absolutely abject in his apology and we accepted it."
In December 2011, BBC pundit Alan Hansen issued an apology for twice using the word "coloured" to describe black footballers on Match of the Day when discussing the John Terry and Luis Suarez racism cases.