Sergio Garcia on return to Saudi International: Damaging greens was something I'm not proud of
The Spaniard made the admission on his return to Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City for this week's $3.5 million event on the European Tour.
The Ryder Cup star was eliminated from the tournament 12 months ago after taking his frustrations out on a number of putting surfaces in the third round.
Players in the four groups immediately behind him all complained to rules officials about the state he'd left them, apparently having attacked the greens with his putter, with Garcia being disqualified under Rule 1.2a.
That allows for such action to be taken if a play has committed "serious misconduct", and the Spaniard said in a statement at the time that he had taken the punishment on the chin. He later issued an apology for his behaviour.
It was the second day running that former Masters champion Garcia had let his feelings spill over in the event, having angrily swiped at the sand in a bunker in the second round of the $3.25 million event.
Garcia reportedly received "in the range of" $640,000 to tee it up last year and kept the full fee despite his disqualification.
It has been reported that the record Ryder Cup points-scorer had agreed to forego a similar payment for this year from the tournament organisers.
“It was tough and is something that you never want to be a part of, and it kind of catches you by surprise," said Garcia when asked about his last visit here.
"It was just an unfortunate thing that happened. The only thing I can do is keep working on my own family and on my game, and try to do the best I can."
He added: "It’s just a learning experience of life. I think there is a lesson for all of us as we’ve all grown up around golf and it’s not an easy place to grow because there are so many eyes on you.
“You want to do the best you can personally but then again at the same time you want to do really well at your sport - and it’s a thin line between doing well or getting frustrated.
“It has happened to all of us, we are all human and things happen that we’re not proud of. But, when it does, you just try to learn and become better."
Garcia put the episode behind him to land his 16th European Tour victory last season in the KLM Open and now has his sights set on making this year's Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits.
“A little bit," he replied to being asked if losing the plot here had kicked him into gear for the rest of the year. "I think any opportunity you have of learning from your mistakes and kind of building on it is important. It’s an opportunity for you to kind of reflect on it and improve
“If you were to just let it go and that’s it then you are not really learning because you may make another mistake. So, it’s important to look back and try to learn from what happened and then try to become better.
“It is easier said than done - but it is as simple as that."
Garcia is part of another star-studded field on the Red Sea coast, joining world No 1 Brooks Koepka, defending champion Dustin Johnson and fellow Masters champions Phil Mickelson and Patrick Reed in the $3.5 million event this time around.
"It’s good to be back here, I’m excited about it and the course looks really good," he said. "It looks like it has settled down a bit and matured more.
“So I’m excited to go out there, play well and have a really good week and enjoy it with everyone."