Sergio Garica avoids further punishment over damaging greens at Saudi International

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

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.


Lampard denied first win as Leicester draw at Chelsea

Updated 25 min 45 sec ago

Lampard denied first win as Leicester draw at Chelsea

  • Sheffield United make winning return to Premier League at Bramall Lane

LONDON: Frank Lampard is still waiting for his first win as Chelsea manager after Wilfred Ndidi gave Leicester a 1-1 draw to spoil the Blues legend's homecoming on Sunday.

Thrashed 4-0 at Manchester United last weekend and beaten on penalties by Liverpool in the European Super Cup on Wednesday, Lampard's side took an early lead through Mason Mount's first goal for Chelsea.

But Ndidi atoned for the costly mistake that led to Mount's opener as the Nigerian midfielder headed Leicester's well-deserved second half equalizer.

Lampard had been given a thunderous reception in his first game as Chelsea manager at Stamford Bridge.

Yet the mood was far gloomier by the final whistle after a spluttering display raised the spectre of a potentially difficult season for the returning hero.

Sheffield United made a winning return to the Premier League at Bramall Lane as John Lundstram scored the only goal for a deserved 1-0 win over Crystal Palace. 

Lundstram, who has spent the majority of his career on loan spells in England's lower leagues, blasted into an unguarded net after Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita could only parry a low cross into the box two minutes into the second-half.

Despite the slender margin of victory, Chris Wilder's men were well worthy of the three points as they built on a promising 1-1 draw at Bournemouth on the opening weekend of the season.

Lampard, Chelsea's all-time record goalscorer, managed to avoid being the first Blues boss to lose his first two Premier League games in charge since Gianluca Vialli 21 years ago.

But on this evidence there is a lot of work for the 41-year-old to do if he is to emulate his 13-year playing spell at Chelsea, which included three Premier League titles and the club's first Champions League crown.

Greeted by a huge flag with the message "Frank Lampard's blue and white army" and another reading "Welcome home Super Frank,"  the former England midfielder emerged from the tunnel to cheers and turned to applaud the crowd as they chanted "Super Frankie Lampard." 

With his former Chelsea teammate John Terry in the stands to support his old friend, the Blues nearly gave Lampard a dream start in the first minute when Olivier Giroud chested Cesar Azpilicueta's pass to Pedro and the Spaniard volleyed into the side-netting.

Moments later, Mount threatened when he burst through, but the youngster shot too close to Kasper Schmeichel, who did well to block Christian Pulisic's attempt from the rebound.

Mount, a tenacious attacking midfielder in Lampard's mold, did not need to rue that miss for long.

The 20-year-old, who impressed while playing for Lampard on loan at second tier Derby last season, opened his Chelsea account in the seventh minute, with a helping hand from Ndidi.

When Caglar Soyuncu rolled a pass to Ndidi, he dithered on the ball too long and Mount alertly pressured him into conceding possession before sliding a clinical finish past Schmeichel.

It was just reward for a blistering start from Chelsea and Lampard celebrated by punching the air in delight.

Mount should have doubled Chelsea's lead when he headed straight at Schmeichel from Pedro's cross before N'Golo Kante shot wide from Giroud's flick.

But Chelsea could not keep up that ferocious pace and their dip gave Leicester a lifeline they should have taken when James Maddison miscued his pass after dancing around Blues keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga early in the second half.