Sergio Garcia has caused more controversy due to petulance on the course at the WGC St. Jude Classic, with some now calling for the Spaniard to face a suspension.
Garcia, the 2017 Masters winner at Augusta, has endured a tough 2019 season and it has been marked by controversial behaviour on more than one occasion with the latest the being the final straw for some fellow tour players.
The latest incident came on the 16th hole during the final round of the WGC St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind when Garcia hit a wayward drive, taking his hand off the club through the back swing. However, it was in the following seconds where his hot-headed temperament came out.
Disliking his shot, Garcia proceeded to take a swipe at the turf on the tee box and sent a huge divot flying into the air. It was captured on camera, and had golf fans criticising him heavily on social media—particularly with the leading players in the tournament still having the hole to play.
In the end, Garcia finished T40th at Southwind—15 shots adrift of winner Brooks Koepka, but it was his behaviour rather than his golf that he will be remembered for.
The St. Jude Classic incident followed a similar piece of petulance a week earlier at the Open Championship at Royal Portrush when Garcia threw his driver at his caddie—his brother Victor—after another poor tee shot.
Having thrown it in the air blindly, it was only the alertness of Victor that prevented it from hitting the caddie.
And it had some newspaper journalists reporting that golfers inside the locker room are keen to see Garcia’s behaviour punished with a ban.
In February, the 39-year-old Spaniard had vowed to change his ways after he was disqualified from the Saudi International for serious misconduct and arguably the worst of all his behavioural problems this year.
Garcia was kicked off the inaugural tour event in Saudi Arabia earlier after throwing a tantrum after a bunker shot and taking out his frustrations on the sand as he took several swipes with his sand iron.
His actual disqualification, however, was for deliberately damaging greens by scuffing his feet in frustration after struggling to post competitive scores in the event.
At the time, Garcia said: “I’ve obviously had some time to reflect, and want to again say I’m sorry to my fans and fellow competitors. What happened is not an example I want to set, and it’s not who I truly am.
“I am an emotional player and while I believe that’s one of my biggest strengths, it’s also one of my biggest flaws. I’m focused on working hard to channel that emotion the correct way and to be the best me, learn from it and move forward.
“We all make mistakes and I’m the first to admit it. The only thing I can do is apologize. I’m going to work hard to behave the best way possible. Show everyone that not only am I a good golfer, I’m a good person.
“It’s not going to happen [again]. I’m going to make sure that doesn’t happen. I’m going to work really, really hard that those downs don’t get to that point.”
Garcia, who is no stranger to controversy having once suggested that he would serve fried chicken if having Tiger Woods round for dinner in 2013—a comment which carried racial undertones, appears to have not yet curbed his behaviour.