A bizarre story came out of the European Tour’s Saudi International golf tournament over the weekend as Sergio Garcia was disqualified for serious misconduct.
According to reports, and reports is all we have as apparently there is no video footage, Sergio Garcia who was no doubt being paid appearance fees was DQ’d after deliberately damaging greens during the third round of the Saudi International.
Ryan Herrington at Golf Digest reports that Garcia’s actions were first reported by the group following Garcia:
But according to reports, he was accused by fellow golfers playing in groups behind him of purposely hitting his putter into the greens during the round on a handful of holes, causing damage to the putting surfaces. Officials decided Garcia’s actions were significant enough to warrant disqualification.
The European Tour sent out a statement after the completion of Garcia’s third round stating:
“Sergio Garcia has been disqualified from the third round of Saudi International powered by SBIA under rule 1.2a.
Rule 1.2a allows for disqualification if a player committed serious misconduct.
Sergio Garcia said: “I respect the decision of my disqualification. In frustration, I damaged a couple of green, for which I apologise for, and I have informed my fellow players is will never happen again.”
— Martin Dempster (@DempsterMartin) February 2, 2019
Despite calls for a harsher penalty, European Tour CEO Keith Pelley told Martin Dempster at The Scotsman that there will be no further action taken:
“The incident is over,” Pelley said, according to the Scotsman. “We have dealt with it. Sergio has apologized to the players and we move on.”
Robert Rock who was in the group behind Garcia told The Scotsman:
That sentiment was echoed by Robert Rock, who was in the group two behind Garcia’s and was one of the players left shocked by the condition the greens had been left. “It was scuff marks and also a mark that appeared to have been made by what looked to have been a putter,” said the Englishman before heading out for the final round.“Scuff marks really show up on these grainy greens. Even if you drag the sole of your shoe without meaning to, it pulls up the grass. The greens are good with no bald patches and scuff marks certainly show up.
The dreadful incident is a fitting black eye for a tournament that should not have been played. But beyond the optics, given the weeklong behavior, the career of etiquette breaches and the absurdity of damaging the host course, Garcia should be suspended for the remainder of the 2019 season.
Jesus. If he were my kid he’d not see a golf course again in a very long time. But, then again, neither of my sons would dream of acting like this.
— Robert Lusetich (@RobertLusetich) February 2, 2019
UPDATE: Geoff Shackelford posted this tantrum from Garcia the day before he was DQ’d:
Sergio Garcia’s meltdown in a Royal Greens bunker a day prior to his disqualification for vandalism work on five greens. Story by @SkySportsGolf fills in details. Translations welcomed! https://t.co/UoGmPtTOz4 pic.twitter.com/dQMDN7y2PC
— Geoff Shackelford (@GeoffShac) February 4, 2019