European Tour chief executive George O'Grady may have further exacerbated the embarrassment put on the game by Sergio Garcia's racial remarks in an attempt to defend the Spaniard.
Speaking with Sky Sports, O'Grady said, "Most of Sergio's friends happen to be colored athletes in U.S.A."
Later in the day, O'Grady issued an apology through a statement, saying, "I deeply regret using an inappropriate word in a live interview for Sky Sports for which I unreservedly apologize."
Garcia has been lambasted since using a racial epithet in response to a joking question asked of him on Tuesday night at the European Tour's annual awards dinner ahead of this week's BMW PGA Championship, the tour's flagship event.
Emcee Steve Stands of Golf Channel asked Garcia if he would be having dinner at next month's U.S. Open with Tiger Woods, with whom Garcia has been trading verbal barbs dating back to an incident from the third round of The Players Championship two weeks ago. Garcia said, "We will have him round every night. We will serve fried chicken.”
The 33 year old apologized for the remarks via a statement released through the European Tour, then held a news conference on Wednesday at the tournament to again apologize.
O'Grady said he considers the matter closed with Garcia's apology.
"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," O'Grady said to Sky Sports. "That's how we want to be. He is abject in his apology and we have accepted it. We are moving on."