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LIV Golf player Sergio Garcia caused controversy when he withdrew from the BMW PGA Championship after the opening round without offering a reason, then attended a Texas football game while the tournament was still in progress.
Now, according to a report from The Telegraph’s golf correspondent, James Corrigan, (opens in new tab) the Spaniard has been asked to provide emergency reasons or “medical evidence deemed reasonable” for his withdrawal or face a fine.
Video: What Is LIV Golf?
The report states that Wentworth HQ confirmed that they are still awaiting an explanation from Garcia for his withdrawal and that he will be fined if that remains the case after three weeks, as per the terms of the members’ regulations handbook.
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Garcia’s decision to participate in the tournament was controversial to begin with. The 42-year-old was one of a group of LIV Golf players who took advantage of a special exemption category to play in the DP World Tour’s flagship event pending the outcome of a hearing to determine their futures on the Tour scheduled for February.
That didn’t go down well with some players, including eventual winner Shane Lowry and Jon Rahm. The latter even pointed out that the appearance of LIV Golf players meant his friend Alfredo Garcia-Heredia missed out. He said: “A good friend of mine is the first one out on the entry list right now, Alfredo [Garcia-Heredia], a good friend of mine from Spain. Because you have players that, you know, might need World Ranking points are given an opportunity that. I don't really agree with, it really, to an extent - I don't know what the word is.”
Another player, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Telegraph: “However, you look at it, this is two fingers up from Garcia to the Tour. He came to Wentworth saying he wanted to ‘support the Tour’, but was obviously annoyed at what Keith Pelley said.”
That comment is in reference to DP World Tour CEO Pelley's response to a remark attributed to Garcia stating that the DP World Tour was becoming the game’s fifth Tour. Pelley strongly rebuffed that suggestion before last week’s tournament, saying: “Some of these players have said we are a feeder tour, and even made a suggestion that we are headed towards being the fifth tour in the world. A feeder tour is a tour that exists purely to allow players to get to the next level. The Challenge Tour is a feeder tour. The Korn Ferry Tour is a feeder tour. I'll ask you: Is this week a tournament that is on a feeder tour? A tournament that has sold-out crowds, television coverage around the world in 150 countries, five of the Top 15 players in the world? A tournament with 150 accredited media?”
Garcia withdrew after a disappointing first round of 76 that would have left him needing an improvement of 12 shots to make the cut had he played the next round. In the event, he chose to take in the Texas v Alabama NCAA football game instead – a decision that, without a satisfactory explanation, will hit him in the pocket a few weeks from now.
Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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