Feb 5th, 2019
Sergio Garcia's reign of terror renders no further punishment
The Saudi Sulk gets big let-off from European Tour
Words: Florida Dayton
Sergio Garcia's reign of terror renders no further punishment as The European Tour gloss over Green-Gate...
Sergio has avoided the likelihood of a hefty fine and also a suspension after European Tour CEO, Keith Pelley declared the matter to be 'over’ following the Spaniard’s sensational disqualification from the Saudi International.
Garcia, and an honorary Life Member of the Tour, was thrown out of the event on Saturday after reigning Masters champion, Patrick Reed and a number of other players complained that Garcia had displayed his frustration by damaging five greens.
This was Sergio the day before...
“The incident is over,” said Pelley. “We have dealt with it. Sergio has apologised to the players and we move on.”.
Unlike his remarkable bunker tantrum, Garcia’s actions were not on film nor was there any video evidence of the damage he was alleged to be making however it has emerged he was spoken to by tournament director, David Williams in the later stage of his third round.
“I went out after the referees had spoken to me,” said Williams. “I managed to catch Sergio around the 12th and 13th and there had been no more damage after nine holes. I told him this was a disqualifiable offence. He was in his game zone, but he listened. We exchanged a few pleasantries and then he nodded and carried on walking.
“It was obviously not a good situation to be in. He was obviously very frustrated and it is something very unusual to happen. Some of the marks were similar to what we sometimes see out in South Africa when a buck has run across a green. Over here it could have been a camel.
“The players in the groups immediately behind didn’t know what was going on. They wanted to know what was happening to the greens. To be honest, they were pretty shocked."
As news started to spread, Keith Pelley got involved and, after holding a meeting with [senior referee] Andy McFee, he spoke to Sergio after the round. There were no other players involved.”
Interestingly, Garcia's third round playing partner, Renato Paratore of Italy remarked: “I was not complaining. It was a bad day for him and I saw only one hole when he was doing something wrong. I don’t remember what it was. I was focused on what I was doing. But it is okay.”
Garcia has a long history of petulant behaviour on the golf course dating back to 1999 when he hurled his shoe at an advertising board at the back of the tee during the World Match-Play Championship at Wentworth. Then when the shoe was thrown back to him, he kicked it and just missed hitting a match referee.
Two years later in Sydney, he incurred what was believed to be a £5,000 fine after kicking at a golf cart and attacking a tree with his club when unhappy at being handed a two-stroke penalty for an incorrect drop during the third round of the Greg Norman Holden International ahead of losing the tournament in a play-off. Lefty Stackhouse eat your heart out...
In 2010, Garcia was believed to have been given a $10,000 fine after spitting into a hole during the WGC – CA Championship at Doral in Florida. In March 2018, he kicked-in a metal panel of the scorer’s hut in showing his frustration in three-putting the last on day three of the 2018 Valspar Championship in Tampa, Florida.
Later the next month Garcia hurled his driver into bushes after a poor 14th hole tee shot during the second round of the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio, Texas.
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