Woods Meets With Zoeller, Says Incident 'Done, Over'

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Tiger Woods is willing to forgive Fuzzy Zoeller, but forgetting seems to be another matter.


Try as he might to say the incident is dead and buried, Woods still seems troubled by the tone of Zoeller's racially insensitive comments.


The two golfers spoke Tuesday for the first time since the fried chicken and collard greens remarks at the Masters last month. And while Woods said, "Now it's done, it's over,'' an undercurrent could be felt beneath his words.


"Over time I think we will all see that it's an incident that was good for golf,'' Woods said. "It will take some time to understand it.''


Woods, an Asian black in a overwhelmingly white professional game, said he was not surprised a situation like this came up.


"I've had a lot worse than this,'' he said. "Hopefully, I won't have a situation like this again, but that is highly unlikely.''


Zoeller apologized and Woods accepted that apology, but Woods was more concerned about what can be learned from the controversy than in saying Zoeller meant no harm.


Woods said last week he was disturbed that Zoeller walked away after saying the fried chicken remark, then turned and added, "and collard greens, or whatever it is they serve.'' He remained upset by it after their talk.


"I have a problem with anyone saying it in that tone,'' Woods said after the meeting. Woods said the meeting lasted 20 minutes, and Zoeller placed it at 12 minutes.


"Fuzzy and I had a nice lunch and a nice conversation and I found out some things I needed to know,'' Woods said at Colonial Country Club, site of this week's PGA Tour event. "Now I understand where he was coming from.''


Zoeller, who tried at least twice to speak with Woods previously but did not have his calls returned, said he was relieved to finally have met with him.


"I did do apologies. I told him I meant no harm by it,'' said Zoeller, when asked if the "whatever it is they serve'' remark came up.


"I'm relieved,'' Zoeller said. "It's over. I thought it was over three weeks ago. The only thing I'm upset about is that I had to buy his lunch,'' Zoeller said, again trying to play the incident for a laugh.


Woods indicated he saw the matter as a racial incident and not as an innocent joke misinterpreted, as Zoeller maintained.


Zoeller's remarks were broadcast by CNN the Sunday after the Masters, and Zoeller apologized the next day. Woods accepted the apology four days later in a statement faxed to news organizations.