Sergio Garcia’s graduation to pariah-in-chief on the DP World Tour is complete after an astonishing outburst in the locker room in the wake of being fined and banned from the Scottish Open for appearing on the Saudi rebel circuit.
Garcia, 42, is one of 16 pros threatening to sue his home circuit after being given a £100,000 sanction as well as a suspension from next week’s $8 million event at the Renaissance Club near North Berwick.
Although the punishment for breaking Tour regulations has stopped short of ending his Ryder Cup career – so far, at least – Garcia reacted with fury and vitriol, according to multiple sources.
«The news [of the ban] came out during last week’s BMW International [in Munich],» a leading player, who wished to remain anonymous, told Telegraph Sport. «Sergio flew off the handle, shouting ‘this Tour is s***, you’re all fucked, should have taken the Saudi money’. Bob MacIntyre was there and was disgusted.»
MacIntyre and his management company declined to comment when approached by Telegraph Sport – as did Garcia’s representative – but later in that tournament the Scottish golfer posted a tweet. «Amazing how fast you can lose respect for someone that you’ve looked up to all your life,» MacIntyre, 25, wrote.
The ugly incident has been the talk of the range at the Irish Open, that finishes at Mount Juliet in Co Kilkenny on Sunday. There was enough ill-feeling even before the “Sour 16”, as they are now being labelled, sent in their letter to Wentworth HQ, giving an ultimatum for the sanctions to be lifted, a demand to which the DP World Tour has steadfastly refused to cave in.
«Sergio’s reputation had taken quite a hammering anyway before this but this has sealed it for many of us,» the player said. «The rant in America the other month was one thing, but this is his home Tour, where he started and he shouldn’t forget that. Fair enough, he’s taken the money. But he doesn’t have to rub other players’ noses in it.»
In May, during the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship in Maryland, Garcia shouted at a PGA Tour referee who handed him a time penalty when he was searching for his ball. «That is absolute bulls**t,» Garcia bellowed. I can’t wait to leave this tour. I can’t wait to get out of here. A couple of more weeks and I won’t have to deal with you any more.»
Four weeks later and Garcia was true to his word, resigning his membership on the PGA Tour before the first LIV Golf series event in Hertfordshire, anticipating the US circuit issuing indefinite bans and saying «I don’t want to get into any legal battles with anyone».
When asked why he was not also quitting the DP World Tour – formerly the European Tour, Garcia replied: «First of all, I’m European, I love the European Tour. I definitely would like to keep my membership there, play at least my minimum, and get as good a chance as I can to make The Ryder Cup Team because I love that event.»
It is understood that Garcia, the Ryder Cup’s all-time leading points scorer, had lobbied the Tour last week in an attempt to escape further sanctions.
«He has been stressing how greatly he has supported the Tour over the last few years, but when was the last time he showed up at a regular event without getting paid from a promoter or sponsor,» a Tour insider said.
«He hasn’t played in the flagship event at Wentworth [the BMW PGA Championship] in eight years and since 2017 has actually appeared in fewer Rolex Series events than [American] Patrick Reed. And now he’s trying to act as if he’s been Mr Europe. Let’s just say there is not an overload of sympathy for his argument.»
Garcia, who has been paid an eight-figure sign-on by LIV, is due tee off in Saturday’s last round of the second $25m event in Portland, Oregon. On two-over, he is out of contention, 10 behind joint-leaders Dustin Johnson and Carlos Ortiz.