Looks like his U.S. based sponsor isn't exactly jumping for joy about his comments, either: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/golf/22636894
Nor should they.
I don't buy this, "He wouldn't have know that comment was racist," argument for several reasons. First off, surely he was aware of what happened the last time a fellow professional discussed Tiger Woods and fried chicken in the same sentence? Secondly, he has travelled in the United States as a professional golfer - he must have acquired some familiarity with that country and its culture? Additionally, I also think that many people in Europe are, in fact, at least dimly aware of the the African-American/fried chicken cultural stereotype. I racked my brains last night thinking about when I first became aware of it (oddly enough, probably watching Full Metal Jacket as a teenager, and hearing the line where the drill sergeant says something about "fried chicken and watermelon" to the African-American recruit). There are other examples, (To Kill a Mockingbird is a mainstay of reading lists for English Literature in many European schools, and I vaguely recollect that the fried chicken topic arises in that work). Mind you, on the other hand, I lived in the American south for several years, so perhaps my awareness of this stereotype is strengthened by that experience. Although I still maintain that many people in Europe will be somewhat aware of the stereotype. I suppose it could be argued that Garcia was just thinking of American food generally (given that Tiger is American), but why reach specifically for fried chicken as an example? OK, for those who do not have a very sophisticated understanding of America (which I doubt is the case with Garcia), fried chicken is probably a very commonplace example of American cuisine as they imagine it (given the Colonel has opened a branch on every high street), but why not hamburgers? Why specifically mention fried chicken? Why specifically mention any type of food at all? Why not sarcastically say, "We'll have dinner together every night," and just leave it at that?
In the end though, I don't think any of this analysis really matters. The simple fact is that Garcia is a leading sportsman who competes on the international stage. He also earns a lot of his money in the United States. Even if he is not a racist, he should have watched his mouth, and been conscious of not making comments that might be construed as racist or offensive in the land where he doubtless earns a big part of his pay cheque. Living in Europe should actually make him even more aware of the sensitivities surrounding sportsmen and racism, today. European soccer has been obliged to crack down hard on this problem, for example the lengthy ban given to the Liverpool striker, Luis Suarez, for making comments to a fellow professional which he maintained were not racist in his culture (but definitely seemed racist in ours). If Garcia ever says anything like this again, I couldn't really blame the PGA Tour for asking itself whether it actually wants this guy competing in American tournaments.