Players want Sergio Garcia banned after latest tantrum

Sergio Garcia has plenty of history in 2019 and before - REX
Sergio Garcia has plenty of history in 2019 and before - REX

Golf’s authorities are coming under increasing pressure finally to take meaningful disciplinary action against Sergio Garcia after his temper once again boiled over at the World Golf Championship event in Memphis.

A video emerged yesterday of the Spaniard gouging the teebox after a poor drive on the 16th hole at TPC Southwind in Sunday’s final round. Garcia, 39, is seen taking his hand off the club in disgust after completing his swing and then, in the next second, grabbing it with both hands again and violently slamming it into the turf, creating a huge divot.

For another golfer with a clean record it was the sort of tantrum which would be frowned upon, with so many groups to come having to use that teeing ground, but ultimately forgiven. Yet, Garcia has so much history in 2019 and before, that there is a growing feeling in the locker room that a fine will not suffice on this occasion and that a ban is overdue.

At The Open at Royal Portrush 10 days ago, Garcia, after another wayward tee-shot, was seen petulantly hurling his driver across a tee-box in the direction of caddie. Garcia did not even look where he was throwing it and it was delivered with such force that unless his bagman, his brother Victor, had not reacted sharply he could have been hit and hurt.

However, this was nothing to his disgraceful display at the Saudi Arabia International in February when he admitted purposefully damaging several greens during the third round. Players in the groups behind complained to officials over the mess he left and after confessing to these unprecedented misdemeanours, he was disqualified for “serious misconduct”.

Remarkably, there was no suspension, but merely a fulsome apology in which Garcia vowed that “nothing like that will ever happen again”. Keith Pelley, the European Tour chief executive, declared “the mater is closed” and expressed his confidence in the sincerity of Garcia’s contrition.

Six months on and nothing seems to have changed, for a character who has been attracting controversy since he sensationally burst on to the scene as a teenager 20 years ago. He has been reprimanded for throwing a golf shoe at an official, spitting into a hole and, infamously for making a racist remark about Tiger Woods on stage at a Tour function. And now this, during his tie for 40th behind the winner, world No 1 Brooks Koepka.

Yet the leading points-scorer in Ryder Cup history has remained so high-profile that he has appeared almost untouchable.  “We are starting to wonder what Sergio has to do to get a couple of involuntarily weeks off,” a leading player told Telegraph Sport on Monday.

Both the European Tour and the PGA Tour refused to comment when contacted on Monday, but it is known the disciplinarians are, at last, losing their patience with the recently married father, who after finally winning a major at the Masters two years ago actually claimed he had matured.