Sergio Garcia was disqualified from the Saudi International, a tournament already beset by bad publicity, had an added layer of controversy to its name.
Garcia, The 2017 Masters champion suffered the ultimate sanction by the tour after damaging multiple greens in frustration during his third round.
He was accused by fellow players of purposefully hitting his clubs into the surface of the greens causing damage. Garcia posted a 1-over 71 in the third round but was ultimately disqualified by the European Tour via Rule 1.2a.
According to Rule 1.2a, which relates to player conduct, under the new Rules of Golf:
- It declares that players are expected to play in the spirit of the game by acting with integrity, showing consideration to others and taking good care of the course.
- It unequivocally states the Committee’s authority to disqualify a player for any serious misconduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game.
- In place of the unclear previous concept of “breach of etiquette”, it uses the more direct and stronger phrases “misconduct” and “serious misconduct.”
In a statement, García said: “I respect the decision of my disqualification. In frustration, I damaged a couple of greens, which I apologize for, and I have informed my fellow players it will never happen again.”
According to The Scotsman, it wasn’t just “a couple” of greens which Garcia damaged, but five.
“It is believed that Garcia damaged five greens during his third circuit, with players in the four groups immediately behind him all complaining to rules officials about the state he’d left them,” the paper reported.
This is not the first time Garcia has shown frustration on the course, last he was heard of snapping his putter in the final round of 2017 Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston, and he used his driver, 3-wood and irons to cover up for his missing putter.