Sergio Garcia will escape a suspension from the European Tour as a result of his serious breach of misconduct disqualification during this past week’s Saudi International, according to a report from The Scotsman.
Garcia was disqualified following the completion of the third round for intentionally damaging five putting surfaces at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club.
A video surfaced on social media on Sunday night of Garcia losing his cool in a bunker during the second round, implying that his behavior on Saturday was a culmination of frustration.
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
No video of Garcia damaging the greens, for which he was DQ’d under Rule 1.2a, which allows for disqualification for “any serious misconduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game,” has come to light.
Just been out to sixth green @RoyalGreens_KSA and this was the only sign of damage on an otherwise pristine green. This probably did look quite nasty immediately after Sergio Garcia apparently left this divot mark yesterday @ScotsmanSport @edinburghsport pic.twitter.com/1aYFHCwIWx
— Martin Dempster (@DempsterMartin) February 3, 2019
The Scotsman‘s Martin Dempster reported that the reported damage was a “mixture of deliberate ‘scuff marks’ and a divot hole.”
The report goes on to say that after apologizing to both the public as well as the players behind him who noticed and complained about the damage, Garcia would not likely face suspension.
“I went out after the referees had spoken to me,” David Williams, the tournament director of the Saudi International, said in the Scotsman report. “I got to (Sergio) around the 12th and 13th and there had been no more damage after nine holes. I told him this was a disqualifiable offense. 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 (rules official) Andy McFee, he spoke to Sergio after the round. There were no other players involved.”
“The incident is over,” European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said. “We have dealt with it. Sergio has apologized to the players and we move on.”
European Tour player Robert Rock said he and Garcia spoke, and he has also forgiven Garcia.
“It was scuff marks and also a mark that appeared to have been made by what looked to have been a putter,” Rock said. “Like everyone else, I did not know who it was. I wasn’t sure if it was one person or more people. I have spoken to Sergio about it. He faced up to it and we are fine. Everyone makes a mistake at some point.”
Garcia’s next start is expected to be the PGA Tour’s Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club, according to his website.