Sergio Garcia was sensationally disqualified from the inaugural Saudi International after admitting he committed serious misconduct by “damaging greens” in the third round at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club.
The Ryder Cup star was tossed out of the $3.25 million tournament on the Red Sea coast after letting his frustration spill over for a second day, having slammed his club into the sand in a bunker on Friday.
It is believed that Garcia damaged five greens during his third circuit, with plyers in the four groups immediately behind him all complaying to rules officials about the state he’d left them.
Garcia was disaqualified under Rule 1.2a, which allows for that action to be taken if a play has committed serious misconduct, and said in a statement that he had taken the punishment on the chin.
“I respect the decision of my disqualification,” said the Spaniard. “In frustration, I damaged a couple of greens, for which I apologise for, and I have informed my fellow players it will never happen again.”
Garcia was quizzed about his behaviour by Keith Pelley, the European Tour chief executive, with his disqualification being confirmed as the leaders were finishing their rounds.
It is believed that the 2017 Masters champion is the first player to be punished for such behaviour on the European Tour since it became a global circuit.
Garcia, who only made the cut by two shots after rounds of 69-70 before adding a 71, had been heard complaining about the paspalum grass greens earlier in the week.