Sergio Garcia was disqualified from the Saudi International earlier this month after damaging multiple greens and throwing a massive temper tantrum in a bunker, marking the first disqualification due to “serious misconduct” in European Tour history.
Now, the Spaniard is preparing to take the course on the PGA Tour for the first time since the incident this week at the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles. Though he’s apologized repeatedly for the incident, both in person and on social media, Garcia said he has a new focus: Making sure it doesn’t happen again.
“I’m sure I’m going to hear it throughout the year,” Garcia told the Associated Press on Wednesday. “My job is to make sure I deal with it the best way possible, and show them that I can grow, that I can move forward and I can be who I am in the right way.
“I want to face my mistakes head on. My job is to go out there and enjoy my game and show everyone that no matter what, I can be the best behaved guy in the classroom … I just hope I can maintain their respect.”
The 10-time PGA Tour winner, whose bunker outburst in the second round of the tournament quickly went viral, said he quickly caught himself in the third round after he had already damaged several greens. By then, though, it was too late.
“It hit me like on the 10th hole,” Garcia told the Associated Press. “I started thinking, ‘What am I doing? Get your head back on top of your shoulders.’ I know I lost it.”
Garcia blamed the outburst on both a personal situation he was dealing with, which he didn’t disclose, and the fact that he’s simply an emotional player — something fans have seen plenty of throughout the 39-year-old’s lengthy career.
“I’m an emotional player,” Garcia told the Associated Press. “That emotion is probably my biggest strength, but it’s also one of my biggest flaws. If I channel it the right way, it’s amazing. I think that’s why people follow me the way they do. If I channel it the wrong way, it’s too extreme. My goal is make sure the bad gets better and the good stays.”
The 2017 Masters champion will get the chance to redeem himself at the Genesis Open this weekend, though he will have to compete with a star-studded field — which includes Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and defending champion Bubba Watson, to name a few.
Brooks Koepka chimes in, calls Sergio Garcia a ‘child’
Plenty in the golf world have condemned Garcia for his actions in Saudi Arabia, including some of his closest friends on Tour.
“We always think he gets over it, but there’s no doubt he’s out of line behaving like that,” Adam Scott told the Associated Press. “He said he needs to understand his emotions and channel that in a better way. I’m not a psychologist and don’t know how to do that, but I think it’s a good thing for him. The game can get the better of us at times. It seems to get the better of him more than some others.”
Perhaps the most critical, however, was Brooks Koepka.
Koepka — who is not in the field at Riviera this week — said on the Playing Through Podcast earlier this month that Garcia was acting like a child.
“You’re 40 years old, so you’ve got to grow up eventually,” Koepka said on the show.
Garcia didn’t dispute that fact one bit, and said he knows exactly what he’ll say to Koepka when they both take the course at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship next week.
“I’m going to tell him I agree,” Garcia told the Associated Press. “I’m the first one to say that I was wrong. I agree with what he said. That’s why we’re here, to get better, to grow up and become better people.
“But I don’t agree with the age. He got my age wrong. I’m 39, not 40. So I have a year to improve. But when I see him, I’ll tell him I agree, and I’m sorry for what happened. And I understand why he would say that.”
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