LOS ANGELES – Sergio Garcia apologised for his spectacular meltdown at the Saudi Arabia International on Wednesday, blaming his tantrum for “emotional, personal news” that he had received earlier in the week.
The Spanish star was thrown out of the tournament after damaging several putting greens in frustration and caught on camera wildly attacking a bunker after a poor shot at the Royal Greens course.
Speaking ahead of this week's Genesis Open in Los Angeles, his first tournament since his humiliating expulsion in Saudi Arabia, the 39-year-old former Masters champion said his behaviour was inexcusable.
“I received some very emotional, personal news earlier that week that didn’t help,” Garcia told The Golf Channel. “It was in the back of my mind. As I became frustrated on the course everything erupted.”
Garcia did not divulge details of the news that prompted his loss of control, saying only it was a mix of “some emotional and personal things going on and a little frustration with the greens.”
Garcia was kicked out of the European Tour event after reigning Masters champion Patrick Reed and a number of other players complained Garcia had damaged six greens.
Garcia said he had snapped out of his rage during the round. He reportedly apologised to Reed and other players following his expulsion.
“It hit me like on the 10th hole. I started thinking: ‘What am I doing? Get your head back on top of your shoulders,” Garcia said.
“I know I lost it. I feel terrible about it. I've been thinking about it for the last week, every day. I'm an emotional player. If I channel it the right way, it's amazing. If I channel it the wrong way, it's too extreme. My goal is make sure the bad gets better and the good stays.”
Meanwhile Garcia said he had no issue with remarks by world number two Brooks Koepka, who said of the Spaniard: “You're 40, so you've got to grow up.”
Garcia and Koepka are due to play next week at the World Golf Championship in Mexico City.
“I'm going to tell him I agree,” Garcia said. “But I don't agree with the age. He got my age wrong. I’m 39, not 40. But when I see him, I'll tell him I’m sorry.”
Agence France-Presse (AFP)