By: Ricardo Fonseca
Denounced by the group's players behind him, Spanish Sergio Garcia was disqualified from Saudi International, a PGA Tour tournament played January 31-February 3 at Royal Greens G & CC in Saudi Arabia, where he played as a paid guest, that is, received the local organizer's cache to be one of the attractions of the tournament. Garcia's infraction, confirmed by the referees, was to have repeatedly damaged greens by hitting his putter against the grass, which in addition to damaging the field, hurt the opponents.
Garcia had already gotten into fits of the genre by spitting on the green of Doral's 13th hole at the 2007 CA World Championship and damaged the tee of 16 by scraping the spikes of his shoes in his debut at the 1999 World Match Play Championship at Wentworth Golf Club. This time though, he was framed in the new Rules of Golf,
Rule 1.2a: "Rules of Conduct of the Player - Expected Conduct of All Players":
All players are expected to play in the spirit of the game:
Acting with integrity - for example, following the Rules, applying all penalties and being honest in every aspect of the game.
Demonstrating consideration for other players - for example, playing at a fast pace, watching over the safety of others and not distracting the other player.
Taking care of the field - for example, replacing divots, raking pews, repairing ball pikes and not causing unnecessary damage to the field
Under the Rules, there is no penalty for failing to comply with the rules of conduct, but the Commission may disqualify the player who acts out of the spirit of the game if he considers that the player has committed serious misconduct.
Apologies –Garcia had passed the cut with difficulty playing 69 and 70 turns and would play 71 (+1) on Saturday when the incident occurred. Garcia, 39, left the field and acknowledged the error by publishing a public apology: "I respect the decision to disqualify myself. I damaged a couple of greens, so I apologize and I've informed the other competitors that it will never happen again. "
The day before, Garcia's temper had already cost him two more shots. In hole 4, failing to get off the bench, blaming who had scratched the sand before, Garcia, after the second stroke, slapped the sand repeatedly. There was no penalty imposed by the umpires, but, annoyed, he made bogeys in two of the next four holes.
End of case –Garcia's correct attitude after disqualification spared him further damage. There were those who defended a penalty of suspension for the Spanish, but Keith Pelley, CEO of the European Tour, decided that the 2017 Masters champion will not suffer any further penalties. "The incident is over," Pelley told The Scotsman. "We got to touch on the subject (of the suspension), but Sergio apologized to the players and we moved on."
* Golf journalist Ricardo Fonseca was approved with one of the five best performances in the Level II Rules Course organized by the Brazilian Golf Confederation (CBG) and the Paulista Golf Federation (FPG), last December in São Paulo.