Sergio Garcia unloaded pent up frustration while competing at the Wells Fargo Championship, suggesting he is set to leave the PGA Tour in favor of the controversial Saudi Golf League.
Sergio Garcia looks set to switch the PGA Tour for the controversial Saudi Golf League after the Spaniard exploded into an extraordinary rant at the Wells Fargo Championship following a poor shot on Thursday.
While playing the 10th hole at TPC Potomac in the opening round of the tournament, Garcia sliced his tee shot left into a tall grassy area with a dry creek bed. After he was unable to retrieve his ball in the allotted time of three minutes from when you arrive at the vicinity of the ball, the 42-year-old was given a penalty – and it infuriated him.
Garcia is overheard on the video speaking of his desire to leave the PGA Tour. He said: “I can’t wait to leave this tour… just a couple more weeks until I don’t have to deal with you anymore.”
The 2017 Masters champion, who has 11 PGA Tour victories as well as 16 on the European Tour, refused to speak to reporters following the incident. His agent later confirmed Garcia has asked for a release to compete in the LIV Golf International Series’ first event in London next month.
As the LIV Golf Invitational in London clashes with the RBC Canadian Open, PGA Tour players will have to be granted a release to play in the other tournament. Although players must seek a release from the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour (formerly European Tour), a LIV spokesman suggested more than 100 players have expressed interest in registering for the first event, which will have a field of just 48 players and a £ 20 million purse.
Total prize money for the eight events – five of which are in the US – will be over £ 200million and the seven regular-season tournaments will have total purses of £ 20m, which would be the richest in professional golf, with £ 16m in individual prizes and £ 4m for the top three teams. The top three individuals after the seven regular-season events will also share a £ 24m bonus.
The season-ending team match-play championship is scheduled for October 27-30 at Trump National Doral in Miami. It will provide another £ 40m in prize money.
At the opening round of the Wells Fargo Championship, Garcia ended up making a par on the hole and later holed an approach shot for an eagle at the par-four 15th hole. He shot three under for the round.
The incident comes after Phil Mickelson filed a request to play in an LIV Golf Invitational Series event which conflicts with the PGA Tour. Greg Norman, CEO of the LIV Golf International Series, believes at least 30% of the top 50 players in the world had committed to play in the controversial breakaway league – but many dropped out following Mickelson’s comments.
The Super Golf League, which was funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, was set to launch its 14-event schedule and complete line-up of committed players during the week of the Genesis Invitational in mid-February. However, Mickelson’s comments were released and sent shockwaves across the sport.
Do you think the LIV Golf International Series will rival the PGA Tour? Let us know in the comments section.
Other than commenting on the Saudi organizers, Mickelson said he was only willing to get involved with the new league to have leverage with the PGA Tour. He was heavily criticized for his comments, with several stars – including Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau among others – declaring their loyalty to the PGA Tour.
Norman insisted LIV Golf has received more than 200 registration requests for its first tournament in London, which will include 48 players competing on 12 four-man teams. According to Norman, the list of registered players includes about 15 of the top 100 players in the Official World Golf Ranking and two players who were previously ranked No. 1.
Norman said: “What has been talked about in the media and what is reality are two different things. We know what’s happening with a lot of interest expressed. “