Sergio Garcia is set to make his first PGA Tour start since the Wyndham Championship this week at the Genesis Open. His stateside debut is an anticipated one, for reasons Garcia would like to forget.
Two weeks prior at the inaugural Saudi International the 39-year-old was disqualified from competition for committing “serious misconduct” under new Rule 1.2a—which mostly deals with failing to play or act in the spirit of the game—during the third round at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club. It was deemed that Garcia has purposefully damaged five greens during the tournament, apparently in anger over the course's conditions. The behavior in itself was astonishing, particularly from a player who's been a professional for two decades, and some called for Garcia to receive a lengthy suspension. However, European Tour CEO Keith Pelley decided the 2017 Masters champ would not face further discipline.
"The incident is over,” Pelley said. “We have dealt with it. Sergio has apologized to the players and we move on.”
Unfortunately, the matter resurfaced a day later after Golfweek's Geoff Shackelford found footage of a separate incident involving Garcia lashing out in a bunker:
Coupled with another clip capturing a displeased Garcia after a beeper went off in his backswing, the Spaniard took a media and social beating for his behavior.
Now set to face the media for the first time since his displays went public, Garcia took to Instagram on Tuesday to apologize for his behavior:
"Happy to be in my first PGA Tour event of the season and have my brother on the bag again this year," Garcia wrote. "I’ve obviously had some time to reflect, and want to again say I’m sorry to my fans and fellow competitors. What happened is not an example I want to set, and it's not who I truly am. I am an emotional player and while I believe that's one of my biggest strengths, it's also one of my biggest flaws. I’m focused on working hard to channel that emotion the correct way and to be the best me, learn from it and move forward. Thanks for all the support."
Garcia is coming off the worst season of his PGA Tour career, failing to qualify for the FedEx Cup Playoffs for the first time in the postseason's existence. However, he played an integral part for Team Europe at the Ryder Cup, scoring three points in Europe's blowout win over the Americans to become the all-time points leader in European history.
Garcia is set to tee off with Keegan Bradley and Sangmoon Bae at 12:11 p.m. local time on Thursday.