Sergio Garcia has claimed that “emotional personal news” played a role in his meltdown on the European Tour earlier this month which featured him damaging five greens and led to his disqualification from the Saudi Arabia International.
Garcia plays his first event since in the Genesis Open, which begins here at Riviera Country Club today, and will come under huge attention despite the presence of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. But at least he has now faced the media after previously only releasing a statement through the European Tour and apologising on social media.
“I received some very emotional, personal news earlier that week that didn’t help,” Garcia said. “It was in the back of my mind. As I became frustrated on the course everything erupted.” He would not expand on the news. “It was a mix of some emotional and personal things going on and a little frustration with the greens,” Garcia told the Golf Channel.
The 39-year-old left a divot on the sixth green during the third round and scraped his frustration on four other greens at the newly-built Royal Greens Country Club. Players behind complained to referees about the state of the putting surfaces and he was kicked out of the tournament at the end of that round. But he realised before then what he had done.
“It hit me like on the 10th hole. I started thinking: ‘What am I doing? Get your head back on top of your shoulders,’” Garcia said. “I know I lost it. I feel terrible about it. I’ve been thinking about it for the last week, every day. I’m an emotional player. If I channel it the right way, it’s amazing. If I channel it the wrong way, it’s too extreme. My goal is make sure the bad gets better and the good stays.”
A reporter asked Garcia what he would say to Koepka when they meet at next week’s World Golf Championship in Mexico City. Koepka had said: “You’re 40, so you’ve got to grow up eventually.”
“I’m going to tell him I agree,” Garcia said. “But I don’t agree with the age. He got my age wrong. I’m 39, not 40. But when I see him, I’ll tell him I’m sorry.”
Garcia escapes suspension from the Tour, but knows that the matter is far from over, as far as the fans and fellow players are concerned. “I’m sure I’m going to hear it throughout the year,” he said. “My job is to go out and show everyone that no matter what, I can be the best behaved guy in the classroom. I’m sure some of them aren’t going to be happy about it.”
Meanwhile, sources say that Sky Sports is about to announce it will again screen all four days of action from the Masters after agreeing a one-year deal. The channel is also confident of rescuing the rights to May’s US PGA Championship, after not showing the major last year due to a contract dispute.