SOUTHPORT, England – Australian golfer Steve Elkington could be disciplined for what he says was his inadvertent ''use of language in relation to the Pakistani people'' in a Twitter message. He apologized for ''comments borne out of frustration'' and will accept any punishment he is given.
Elkington, the 1995 PGA champion, tweeted an offensive term while criticizing the English city of Southport. He had been playing there in the Senior British Open at Royal Birkdale.
Golf's governing body has begun an investigation. The R&A said it has spoken to him about the ''inappropriate and regrettable comments.''
In a joint statement with the European Senior Tour and Champions Tour, the R&A said ''the matter will be reviewed'' before ''any disciplinary action against the player'' is considered.
''Steve has expressed his regret at his comments and wishes to apologize to the Championship and the people of Southport for any offense caused,'' the statement said.
The 50-year-old Elkington said in a statement the tweet was sparked by an ''unfortunate incident involving a caddie earlier in the week'' in Southport.
''Being Australian, I was unaware that my use of language in relation to the Pakistani people would cause (offense). But having been made aware I now deeply regret the use of that terminology,'' he said in a statement.
''Southport is a beautiful place and I have enjoyed playing at Royal Birkdale, as my positive content on Twitter has shown. My comments were borne out of frustration over what had happened to a colleague. I am prepared to adhere to any disciplinary action that the Championship sees fit.''
This is golf's second racially tinged occurrence in recent months. In May, Sergio Garcia jokingly said he would have Tiger Woods over for dinner during the U.S. Open and ''we will serve fried chicken.'' Garcia later apologized.