European Tour

Fellow golfers disagree on appropriate punishment for Garcia

Sergio Garcia (Getty Images)
Sergio Garcia (Getty Images)

Cape Town - While some of Sergio Garcia's fellow professionals thinks he has already paid a big enough price for his actions at last week's Saudi International, others feel he got off too lightly.

Garcia made history for all the wrong reasons last week as he became the first player to be disqualified for "serious misconduct" during a tournament since the inception of the European Tour in 1972.

The former Masters champion is understood to have caused scuff marks and divots to as many as five of the putting surfaces at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club during his third round.

His actions came just a day after a spectacular meltdown that saw him angrily smash his club into a bunker four times.

Garcia immediately issued a statement accepting his disqualification and apologising for his actions, and later told Spanish news agency EFE: "What happened this week is not something I am proud of.

"We are all human, and we all make mistakes, but the important thing is to learn from them. The mistake is not learning from mistakes."

The European Tour later said it considered the matter dealt with, meaning Garcia would face no further fine or suspension for his actions.

That was a decision that was welcomed by some of Garcia's fellow pros, and slammed by others.

Four-time PGA Tour winner Bob Estes, for example, was of the opinion that Garcia was being treated differently because of his status in the game.

It did not go without notice that Sir Nick Faldo liked Estes' tweets. He also liked a tweet by a user that referred to Garcia's "horrible etiquette" going back 15-20 years.

Faldo and Garcia were involved in a pretty nasty spat following the 2008 Ryder Cup when the Englishman referred to Garcia's performance as "useless".

Not everyone is of the opinion that the Spaniard got off too lightly. Mike Lorenzo-Vera and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano were among those coming to his defence.

Garcia has not yet confirmed his participation but is expected to return to action at next week's Genesis Open on the PGA Tour.

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