Sergio García will return to play in next year’s Saudi International, the controversial event from which he was disqualified in February after purposefully damaging several of the greens. But as the Spaniard tries to make reparations for his outrageous meltdown, he will agree to participate without an appearance fee this time around.
It is understood this was one of the conditions placed on the 2017 Masters champion by the European Tour as it spared him a suspension. García received in the region of £500,000 for this year’s tournament and was not asked to return any of it, despite smashing his putter into one of the greens in anger and then continuing this fit of pique for the next hour or so, as he raked up as many as four other greens.
García apologised but many believe he got away lightly, including Brooks Koepka, the world No 1, who accused him of “acting like a child”. However, this revelation indicates there was a “punishment” of sorts. García is effectively being ordered to teeing it up at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club, regardless of the negativity caused by the Tour again visiting the country.
García played in the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai on Sunday, where he watched Jon Rahm become only the second Spaniard after Seve Ballesterors to top the order of merit and so collect the Harry Vardon Trophy.
Rahm collected $5m for winning both the tournament and the Race to Dubai and moved up to world No 3. “Jon totally deserves this,” García said. “What he has achieved in the past three or four years is absolutely phenomenal.
“I was close to being European No 1 a few times so I know how tough it is to get over the line. For him to do it so soon after turning professional shows how good he is. His talent is off the scale, and it is only a matter of time before he is world No 1 as well as European No 1. The other step he needs to take is to win a major, and I am sure he won’t have to wait as long as I did to do that.
“He is established as one of the top players in the game and he will be a leader at next year’s Ryder Cup – and for many Ryder Cups to come.”
At the CME Group Tour Championship in , Charley Hull, the xx-year-old from Kettering, came within one putt of a play-off for $1.5m, the largest ever payday in women’s golf.
When Hull birdied the last three holes of the Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Florida, for a second successive 66 and an 18-under, it seemed very likely that she had given herself the chance of victory in a sudden-death shootout.
But then the Korean Sei Young Kim holed a 25-footer on the last to steal the bounty. Hull’s consolation was a cheque for $480,000.