Sergio Garica avoids further punishment over damaging greens at Saudi International

1 / 2
Garcia's temper got the better of him at the Saudi International last weekend. (AFP)
2 / 2
Updated 04 February 2019
0

Sergio Garica avoids further punishment over damaging greens at Saudi International

  • European Tour decide to take no further action after former Masters champion is disqualified from Saudi event.
  • Tour chief Keith Pelley says case is closed after Garcia damages several greens.

LONDON: Sergio Garcia is set to avoid a hefty fine and suspension after European Tour boss Keith Pelley declared the matter “over” following the Spaniard’s stunning disqualification from the Saudi International.
Garcia was thrown out of the event on Saturday after reigning Masters champion Patrick Reed and a number of other players complained that Garcia had displayed his frustration by damaging six greens.
Garcia apologized for his actions and the Spaniard reportedly spoke with Reed and other fellow competitors express his remorse.


The former Masters winner was accused of scuffing up six of the opening greens and also leaving a large divot-like mark on the sixth green of the Royal Greens course.
And while Garcia has a long history of “misconduct”, it seems on this occasion he will escape any further action.
“The incident is over,” Pelley told The Scotsman newspaper. “We have dealt with it. Sergio has apologized to the players and we move on.”
Garcia’s actions were not on film but he was spoken to by tournament director David Williams in the latter stages of his third round.
“I went out after the referees had spoken to me,” said Williams.
“I managed to catch Sergio around the 12th and 13th and there had been no more damage after nine holes. I told him this was a disqualifiable offense. He was in his game zone, but he listened. We exchanged a few pleasantries and then he nodded and carried on walking.
“It was obviously not a good situation to be in. He was obviously very frustrated and it is something very unusual to happen. Some of the marks were similar to what we sometimes see out in South Africa when a buck has run across a green. Over here it could have been a camel.
“The players in the groups immediately behind didn’t know what was going on. They wanted to know what was happening to the greens. To be honest, they were pretty shocked.”

GARCIA ATTACKS BUNKER

Garcia’s third-round playing partner, Renato Paratore of Italy, remarked: “I was not complaining.
“It was a bad day for him and I saw only one hole when he was doing something wrong. I don’t remember what it was. I was focused on what I was doing. But it is okay.”
Garcia had first displayed his frustration during Friday’s second round when he attacked a bunker following a poor shot ahead of just making the cut by two strokes.
“Yes, but that can happen on the course,” added Paratore. “I know him really well and he’s a very good guy off the course. It can happen to everyone.”
Garcia has a long history of petulant behavior dating back to 1999 when he hurled his shoe at an advertising board at the back of the tee during the World Match-Play Championship at Wentworth.
Two years later in Sydney, he incurred a £5,000 fine after kicking a golf cart and attacking a tree with his club when unhappy at being handed a two-stroke penalty for an incorrect drop.
In 2010, Garcia was believed to have been slapped with a $10,000 fine after spitting into a hole during the WGC-CA Championship at Doral in Florida.
And more recently, Garcia kicked in a metal panel of the scorer’s hut after the third round of the Valspar Championship last March.
Later the next month Garcia hurled his driver into bushes after a poor 14th-hole tee shot during the second round of the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio.


From near-death in Libyan desert to Saudi Arabia in 40 years: A history of the Dakar Rally

Updated 25 April 2019
0

From near-death in Libyan desert to Saudi Arabia in 40 years: A history of the Dakar Rally

  • Race will start in Jeddah and make a stop in Riyadh before ending in Qiddiya
  • Take a look back at the most momentous moments

LONDON: A new and exciting chapter in the prestigious history of the Dakar Rally is ready to be written as the world’s biggest and most challenging rally confirmed it will debut in Saudi Arabia in January 2020.

1977: Inspiration
Biker Thierry Sabine gets lost in the Libyan desert while competing in the Abidjan-Nice Rally. After being rescued from the sands on the verge of death, he vows to share the scale and magic of the desert with the whole world.

1978: A dream come true
On 26 December 1978, a field of 170 adventurers starts its 10,000-kilometer quest through Algeria, Niger, Mali, the Upper Volta, and Senegal. A total of 74 vehicles make it to the finish on Place de l’Indépendance in Dakar, with Cyril Neveu at the helm.

1983: Ickx on all fronts
Celebrities and the best drivers and riders in the world heed the call of the Dakar. The combination is a successful one, with the six-time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans Jacky Ickx and comedian Claude Brasseur taking the spoils in the fourth edition.

1986: Tragedy strikes
Thierry Sabine and Daniel Balavoine die in a helicopter crash alongside pilot François-Xavier Bagnoud, journalist Nathalie Odent and radio technician Jean-Paul Lefur. Gilbert Sabine, the father of the creator of the race, takes over as director.

1992: Africa from north to south
The Dakar takes a break from the capital of Senegal to pit the competitors against the challenge of a lifetime. The drivers and riders have to tackle a route of almost 12,500 kilometers through 11 countries to cross Africa from one side to the other and reach Cape Town in South Africa. Stéphane Peterhansel (motorbikes) and Hubert Auriol (cars) stand atop the podium at the end of the Odyssey.

1998: Peterhansel rolls a six
The biker with a blue bandana emerges victorious from a clash of titans with Orioli and Arcarons to become the undisputed master of the category in the 1990s. His sixth win catapults him past Cyril Neveu as the event record holder. “Peter” has since added seven car victories to his tally!

2000: At the foot of the pyramids
The Dakar marks the turn of the century next to one of the seven wonders of the world: the Great Pyramid of Giza. Reigning champions Richard Sainct (motorbikes) and Jean-Louis Schlesser (cars) both manage to defend their titles against this prestigious backdrop.

2001: Miss Dakar
No one suspects that this will be the last Paris–Dakar. In contrast, everyone sees Jutta Kleinschmidt, who had made her Dakar debut in 1988 on a motorbike, become the first woman to win the rally, this time racing at the wheel of a Mitsubishi 4×4. She remains the only female winner of the event to date.

2009: Rising from the ashes in Buenos Aires
The Dakar picks itself up and crosses the Atlantic to rise from the ashes. A new era dawns with 4 million spectators turning out in force to cheer on the drivers and riders in the majestic landscapes of Argentina and Chile.

2012: Pacific Challenge
After three years with a route starting and ending in Buenos Aires, the organizers break the mold with a finish on the Pacific coast of Lima, Peru.

2014: Dizzying heights
Bolivia becomes the 28th country to host the Dakar. The Altiplano and Salar de Uyuni introduce a new test for the competitors: extreme altitude, which takes a toll on both their bodies and their machines.

2020: Chapter 3
In the wake of its first foray into Paraguay in 2017, the Dakar adds the 30th country to its list. In Saudi Arabia, the largest country on the Arabian Peninsula, the competitors will face challenges such as the “Empty Quarter,” a pristine expanse that has never been explored fully before.