Jennifer Thomas is a bestselling author, psychologist, speaker, consultant & apology critic

Expert: Sergio Garcia’s apology good, but incomplete.

Photo by Gerald Herbert/ The Associated Press


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My analysis is featured in article that just appeared in the Greensboro, NC News and Record newspaper. The topic was the sport story about Spanish golfer Sergio Garcia’s apology to legendary golfer Tiger Woods. What had Garcia said to offend Woods? Garcia was asked last week if he would invite Tiger Woods for dinner during the upcoming U.S. Open. Garcia responded, “We will have him round every night. We will serve fried chicken.” The comment was undoubtedly referencing Woods’ ethnic background since he is one-quarter black and often perceived as black by the media and public.

Here are highlights from the newspaper article:

“Sergio did a nice job of accepting responsibility for his actions,” Thomas said. “He focused on what he did wrong and expressing regret, but he didn’t go into how he could make amends or what would be different next time. That’s important.”

Thomas gave Garcia credit for meeting the media and answering questions when he apologized, rather than issuing a prepared statement or reading from a script.

“He did a good job of going beyond a standard apology,” Thomas said. “He didn’t have to say it made him sick after he realized what he had done, or that he had trouble sleeping after he got home and thought about it. That sounded sincere. But as with most apologies, you’re left wondering: ‘Why did he do it in the first place?’ ”

Even before the latest incident, Garcia and Woods have both made it clear they dislike one another.

And that can make an apology much harder.

“It can make the words stick in your throat,” Thomas said, “because apologizing is about swallowing your pride. And that’s harder to do when someone has previously offended you.”

But Garcia’s flippant remark crossed a line and offended more people than just Woods.

“There are times when saying ‘sorry’ is simply not enough,” Thomas said. “If Sergio wants to take his apology to the next level, I would advise him to make amends by donating his money or time to a charity that teaches racial sensitivity or works towards racial equality — a place like our local civil rights museum, for example.”

To read the complete article, click here.

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