Opinion: Sergio Garcia Gets Off Lightly After Saudi DQ

Garcia will not be receiving a ban from the European Tour for his serious misconduct at the Saudi International

Sergio Garcia Gets Off Lightly After Saudi DQ

Garcia will not be receiving a ban from the European Tour for his serious misconduct at the Saudi International

Opinion: Sergio Garcia Gets Off Lightly After Saudi DQ

Sergio Garcia, it has been reported, will not face any further punishment for his 'serious misconduct' at the Saudi International, where he was disqualified after damaging five greens.

The 2017 Masters champion apparently dragged his shoe across some of the greens and also made a divot mark with his putter.

The Spaniard said in a statement released by the European Tour that he 'respects the decision of his disqualification'.

"In frustration, I damaged a couple of greens, for which I apologise for, and I have informed my fellow players it will never happen again.”

Garcia will likely receive no ban from the European Tour and hasn't been ordered to repay any of his appearance fee for the event - which, if reports are correct, is in the range of $500,000-$1m.

Quite frankly, Garcia got off incredibly lightly for what was officially serious misconduct and dreadful behaviour, which shows a lack of respect for greenkeepers and his fellow competitors.

This came just a day after he did this in one of the bunkers:

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The fact is that Garcia has lost out on some world ranking points and prize money, although that can be counteracted by his appearance fee.

Essentially then, his punishment has been loss of world ranking points (not a massive deal) and some bad PR.

If this were to happen in the Monthly Medal, with a club golfer damaging five greens and groups behind all complaining, the punishment could be fairly significant.

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In fact, if a club golfer did what Garcia did in the bunker, with a committee member onlooking, they would also receive punishment.

Going back to damaging greens in the Monthly Medal, a club golfer would likely receive a competition ban for perhaps the next 1-3 competitions or at tougher clubs could even expect to be suspended from the club for a month.

They would almost certainly be put in front of the committee or at least receive a warning.

Here's what a golf club secretary, who wished to remain anonymous, told me: "If this happened at our club there would be an investigation firstly by the Captain and then the matter would be referred to a disciplinary committee.

"I can’t say for certain what the outcome would be but it could result from anything from a warning to the member being suspended from the club for a period of time."

We put the question out on Twitter, here's what people said:

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Mike Madden replied to us on Instagram saying, "There's normal clubs that would give more than just a DQ for damaging 5 greens!"

So clearly if this happened at club level, the punishments would be very harsh and rightly so.

So what should Sergio's punishment be?

The 39-year-old should be stung with a three month suspension (or three tournaments) from the European Tour and have been made to repay his appearance fee, in my opinion.

Garcia's actions took the attention away from the golf at the Saudi International and the lack of major punishment he has received can't guarantee that he has learnt his lesson.

Even a three month ban from European Tour tournaments may not be harsh enough because of the strength of the PGA Tour events coming up from pretty much now up until August.

Sergio will be back playing on the PGA Tour again soon and this will all blow over, but I can't help but feel that he has gotten away lightly with some very, very poor behaviour.

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Elliott Heath
Elliott Heath

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as three Open Championships including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 4-6. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.


Elliott is currently playing:


Driver: Honma TR20

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max

Irons: Honma TR20B

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x