VIRGINIA WATER, England (AP) — Recent World Golf Hall of Fame inductee Colin Montgomerie has described the Sergio Garcia "fried chicken" controversy as "making a mountain out of a molehill."
The Scottish player's response to the controversy that drew European Tour chief executive George O'Grady into having to make a second apology, was to defend O'Grady and "feel" for Garcia after making the cut in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
"It's a mountain out of a molehill, to be honest," Montgomerie said. "Totally. I hope it hasn't taken away from the BMW who have set up a fantastic tournament."
Now we've got the chief executive involved in the whole thing having to say sorry," Montgomerie added.
"We're all frightened to say anything; we're frightened to open our mouths in case we say something that isn't kosher in 2013. Somebody should tell us what to say because no one is quite sure what is right and wrong."
He also defended O'Grady.
"George (O'Grady) says colored, somebody says black, but who is to say who is right and wrong, and for the chief executive who is a very educated man to get caught up then we need to decide what we can and can't say and move on quickly," he said.
Montgomerie said the furor over the past week would not affect his relationship with the Spaniard.
"I feel for Garcia but then that's me condoning it," said the Scot. "I am not allowed to feel sorry for him. But we are a family here on the European Tour, a close family unit and we stand up for each other. I've played a lot of Ryder Cups with Sergio and we are a very close family and we should remain that way. This shouldn't affect us."
The former No. 1 lamented the difficult path high-profile people have to take when making public comments.
"If I get asked at the next press conference I'll have to say 'sorry, no comment' and hope that is not offending anybody," he said. "You just can't say a thing, can you? It's a shame, it's a pity. The three 'no-no's' are race, religion and politics and you are going to upset someone along the line if you mention any of them."
"It's time to move on and talk about golf."
Montgomerie was speaking after shooting a second-round 75 that saw him make the halfway cut right on the number at 2-over par.
He had three birdies in his round but then also double bogeys at nine and 11.
"Middle of the round it went haywire," said Montgomerie, who was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in Florida earlier this month.
"I was going great at 3-under and in the top five, at that stage but then messed up ... "So, to play from there on in level par was a real good effort."