Sergio Garcia, a controversial figure from time to time, has vowed to change following his disqualification from the Saudi International for serious misconduct.
Spaniard Garcia was kicked off the inaugural tour event in Saudi Arabia earlier this month after a breach that was largely kept quiet and significantly off social media platforms, which have the ability to take things viral.
What was shown of Garcia in Saudi Arabia was the 2017 Masters champion throwing a tantrum after a bunker shot and taking out his frustrations on the sand as he took several swipes with his sand iron and sent the yellow stuff flying.
But his actual disqualification in Saudi Arabia was for damaging greens, reportedly by scuffing his feet in frustration after struggling to post competitive scores in the event. No footage was ever brought to light showing the actions, but European Tour officials ended his tournament a day earlier.
It was the first time the European Tour has disqualified a player under Rule 1.2a, which reads: “[P]layers are expected to play in the spirit of the game by acting with integrity, showing consideration to others and taking good care of the course.”
In the aftermath, Garcia apologised to his fellow players—which included Saudi International winner Dustin Johnson—for his actions. But, having had more time to reflect on his behaviour, the 39-year-old Spaniard took to social media to provide a more reasoned apology.
“I’ve obviously had some time to reflect, and want to again say I’m sorry to my fans and fellow competitors,” he wrote. “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.”
In a subsequent television interview with the Golf Channel, Garcia later elaborated more on just what was going on in his head during the Saudi International. In it, he revealed that personal news had been one of the reasons why his hot-heated Latin temperament came rushing out.
“I received some very emotional, personal news earlier that week that didn’t help. It was in the back of my mind. As I became frustrated on the course everything erupted,” Garcia told the Golf Channel.
“It was a mix of some emotional and personal things going on and a little frustration with the greens.
“I’m sure some of them aren’t going to be happy about it. We all make mistakes and I’m the first to admit it. The only thing I can do is apologise. 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 is no stranger to controversy having suggested that he would serve fried chicken if having Tiger Woods round for dinner in 2013, a comment which carried racial undertones.
See also: Tiger Woods Wins Again