Sergio Garcia apologized to Tiger Woods for saying he would serve fried chicken if they were to have dinner at the U.S. Open in June, an ugly addition to nearly two weeks of verbal sparring.

What had been a celebration of European golf at an awards dinner south of London shifted suddenly to a racially sensitive moment involving Woods, the only player of African-American heritage on the PGA Tour.

Garcia said he meant to give a funny answer to a playful question, and it turned out to be "totally stupid and out of place." Fried chicken is a stereotype as a favorite food among blacks.

"I feel sick about it and I feel truly, truly sorry," he said Wednesday from the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, site of the European Tour's flagship event.

The two have exchanged barbs the past 11 days, dating to the third round of The Players Championship when Garcia implied Woods purposely stirred up the gallery as the Spaniard was playing a shot.

Garcia and his Ryder Cup teammates were at a dinner Tuesday night when the emcee, Golf Channel's Steve Sands, jokingly asked Garcia if he would have Woods over for dinner during the U.S. Open.

"We'll have him round every night," Garcia replied. "We will serve fried chicken," Garcia said.

Garcia issued a statement through the European Tour after the dinner that did not mention Woods by name. He apologized "for any offense that may have been caused" by answering the question with a "silly remark."


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Woods responded Wednesday with a series of tweets that said: "The comment that was made wasn't silly. It was wrong, hurtful and clearly inappropriate. I'm confident that there is real regret the remark was made. The Players ended nearly two weeks ago and it's long past time to move on and talk about golf."

That was one thing upon which both players finally agreed.

Garcia held an impromptu news conference at Wentworth to elaborate on his statement.

"I want to apologize to Tiger and to anyone I could have offended," he said. "I felt very sick about it and feel really bad, and just hope to settle things down and move on."

Garcia said he left a voice mail for Mark Steinberg, Woods' agent at Excel Sports, because he doesn't have a phone number for Woods.

Steinberg did not immediately respond to an email to confirm he received the call, or if Woods planned to call Garcia.

"I would love to talk to them as soon as possible and make sure that everything is OK," Garcia said.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and European Tour chief executive George O'Grady were at the awards dinner.

O'Grady said in a statement that he and Finchem spoke to Garcia after his pro-am round at Wentworth.

"Sergio expressed very deep and sincere regret for his unguarded and, in his own words, 'stupid' remark and we are also aware of his statement of apology," O'Grady said. "We consider the matter closed."