Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño told me a story after the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He played along with Tiger Woods during the third round and they talked about a lot of issues: a little about golf, a little about life and, of course, a lot of about Tiger himself.
The Spaniard (who'll be the next sensation on the Tour) was astonished about the things he heard behind the ropes, “It's amazing the things they shout to him”.
The question was obvious, "How do you manage with all this stuff?" The answer was even more obvious and also a little surprising, “Why do you think I only play 20 weeks a year?".
Tiger is acclimated to hear any thing when he is on the course. It's the price he has to pay for his position and he has accepted it.
But no number one in sports history has suffered this kind of controversy that Woods has endured. Not Muhammad Ali, not Ayrton Senna, nor Roger Federer.
Obviously Sergio García is not a racist. Obviously he has nothing against black people.
In fact I'm not sure If I'm myself using properly the word 'black'. Yeah, you're right. I can barely write this article in perfect English while Sergio García has lived in the USA since he turned 18.
So excluding the language excuse we only have a explanation: It was a mistake, a very big one.
Now that we have the two principal ideas clear (First: Sergio is not a racist; Second: The chicken fried joke was a big mistake) maybe we shouldn't be so hard with him.
There was a misunderstanding during The Players Championship in Sawgrass. Tiger made people shout in the precise moment the spaniard was hitting the ball on the other side of the fairway
Perhaps Sergio should criticised Tiger in private, face to face. And maybe Tiger should apologised to him. Deal. Happy end in less than a minute. But as we know, this is know how it happened.
The pair have never gotten along , perhaps since the US PGA in Medinah in 1998.
"You don't have to be a rocket engineer to figure that out", said Tiger during The Players Championship.
"He is not the nicest guy to play with him", replied then García.
But the real problems began in Augusta, with that wrong drop. In that moment, Sergio said that the world number one should have decided to retire by himself instead of accepting the marshalls' decision. That, right there, is the real problem between them.
In the press room in Merion, Sergio García appeared like a frightened child saying, "I can obviously see that I hurt a lot of people. And that doesn't make me feel good". Besides, he has had to play for second straight day with police watching his back even after signing autographs for some spectators.
He tried on Monday, in the driving range. They shook hands but there wasn't the right time or place "I felt like it wasn't the appropriate place for me to [apologise] out of respect to him and to the other players to do it there. So I was hoping to see him afterwards," Garcia said.
So Sergio tried again on Tuesday, but he could not find Tiger anywhere around the grounds.
Then he decided to "leave him a note, a handwritten note". No one knows what he wrote and probably we will never know.
It doesn't matter to me because the only important thing in this case is the sincere sorrow of the Spaniard, "I wish I could go back in time and take back what I said, but unfortunately I said it. The only thing I can do is show you my respect from here moving forward. Hopefully what I do will show you how much I care about everybody. So only time will tell us, I guess."