Sergio Garcia faces the threat of a European Tour ban after he admitted purposefully damaging five greens at the Saudi International on Saturday.
The Spaniard – who five months ago became the leading points-scorer in Ryder Cup history – was disqualified following the third round of the inaugural staging of the controversial £2.7m tournament, for which he is understood to have received a £500,000 appearance fee.
Struggling at around level par, Garcia’s renowned rage got the better of him as he slammed his club into the putting surfaces on multiple occasions. Observers at the Royal Greens Country Club revealed that he was heard criticisng the greens earlier in the week and on Friday was seen taking out his dislike of the bunkers by smashing down his sand-wedge.
The American Patrick Reed was involved as he was in the group immediately behind Garcia that first drew the officials’ attention to the gouges on the greens. The three groups following Reed also complained to the referees and it was then that Tour chief executive, Keith Pelley, confronted Garcia.
The notice of disqualification for “serious misconduct” soon followed as did a statement released by the Tour on Garcia’s behalf.