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.


Juventus coach Sarri: Cristiano is in another class

Updated 6 min 6 sec ago

Juventus coach Sarri: Cristiano is in another class

  • The 38-year-old is the only player to have scored at least league 15 goals in each of the last 14 seasons

MILAN: Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to form has coincided with Juventus taking a firm grip on Serie A.

Ronaldo did not score at all in November, but he scored twice as Juventus beat Parma 2-1 on Sunday to take his tally to 11 in his last seven league matches.

The win also put Juventus on course for a record-extending ninth straight Serie A title as the Bianconeri moved four points above Inter Milan. They were two points behind the Nerazzurri a month and a half ago.

Ronaldo has struggled with injury this season and missed three Serie A matches, playing through pain in others.

The 38-year-old Portugal forward has nevertheless scored 16 goals in 17 matches, becoming the first Juventus player to have that many goals after 20 matches since Omar Sivori in 1960.

Ronaldo is also the only player to have scored at least 15 goals in one of Europe’s top five leagues in each of the last 14 seasons.

“Cristiano is in another class,” Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri said. “Sometimes he poses you a little bit of a problem but he will solve 100 others for you.”

While Juventus managed to grind out results in November when Ronaldo wasn’t scoring, Inter struggle when their top scorers are not on form.

There have been three matches since December where neither Romelu Lukaku nor Lautaro Martínez have managed to find the back of the net. All three ended in draws.

The latest was a surprise 1-1 result at relegation-threatened Lecce on Sunday.

That is also down to a general drop in pace in the team as, prior to that, Inter had managed to win the previous four matches where Lukaku and Martínez didn’t score.

“The final result stems from the fact that we’re a team that needs to go at 200 kph. We cannot afford to be off the pace,” Inter coach Antonio Conte said. “It’s evident that if we go at an average pace, if we go into cruise speed, we become a normal team and aren’t able to get a result.”

Substitute

Mario Balotelli’s match lasted only seven minutes on Sunday and he could now find himself with even less playing time in the coming weeks.

Balotelli came on as a substitute in the 74th minute of Brescia’s 2-2 draw against Cagliari but shortly afterward was shown a yellow card for a high tackle and then immediately shown a second after repeatedly swearing at the referee.

Depending on what referee Antonio Giua writes in his report, Balotelli could be suspended for several matches.

The forward will certainly miss Brescia’s next match, against former team AC Milan.

“I think the yellow card was too harsh. Mario didn’t feel it was right, and his protests didn’t seem excessive to me,” Brescia coach Eugenio Corini said. “It’s a pity because he came on with the desire to make us win the match.”

Balotelli was banned for the first four matches of the Serie A season following a red card in his last match with Marseille last season.

“It’s incredible how one episode can always drastically change from too negative or too positive everyone’s opinion on the character or professionalism of a person,” Balotelli wrote on his Instagram story after the match. “I will continue with my daily work this time, too. It’s not a problem. You can continue to judge me as you wish.”