Garcia declined to speak to the media after opening-round 67 at the Wells Fargo Championship; Garcia said on course after being handed a penalty: “I can’t wait to leave this Tour. I can’t wait to get out of here. A couple of more weeks and I don’t have to deal with you anymore”
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 06/05/22 8:01am
Sergio Garcia appeared to confirm his intention to compete in the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series after a frustrated rant at a PGA Tour rules official during the Wells Fargo Championship.
Garcia has been among the high-profile players heavily linked with the breakaway circuit, consisting of eight 54-hole tournaments and offering prize purses bigger than anything currently available in the professional game.
The Ryder Cup legend was one under for his opening round at TPC Potomac when he was put on the clock while trying to find his ball in thick grass at the par-five 10th, with Garcia clearly frustrated at the time starting before he felt he was in position to look for it.
Garcia’s search through the thick grass was covered on camera throughout, with the on-course microphones picking up comments by the Spaniard suggesting he will soon be competing away from the PGA Tour.
“I can’t wait to leave this Tour,” Garcia can be heard telling the rules official. “I can’t wait to get out of here my friend.”
Garcia maintained his moaning as he made his way back towards the fairway, adding: “A couple more weeks and I don’t have to deal with you anymore.”
The world No 47, without a worldwide top 10 this year and still searching for a first win since the 2020 Sanderson Farms Championship, saved par despite taking a penalty drop and then made a hole-out eagle from the 15th fairway on his way to a three-under 67.
Is the Saudi series a risk?
The series begins at the Centurion Club from June 9-11, the week before the US Open and clashing with both the RBC Canadian Open and the Scandinavian Mixed, with players having to request releases from the PGA Tour and DP World Tour in order to feature.
Lee Westwood and Phil Mickelson are among the players to have already confirmed their intention to play, along with British Masters champion Richard Bland, although many of the world’s top players have distanced themselves from the breakaway circuit.
Former world No 1 Justin Rose told Sky News players are “running a risk” with their futures amid warnings of lifetime bans from the PGA and DP World Tours and that his focus is winning “big championships” and “creating his own history”.
“I am not [going to play in the LIV Golf Invitational series], not this season, not in the foreseeable future,” Rose said. “I am curious, as everyone is, to see how this plays out and I don’t think any less [of the players hoping to play]. I have no judgment on that. I have played golf in Saudi Arabia.
“You have to make decisions that are right for you. You are a professional golfer, it’s your job. If there is an opportunity and it is valid, then it is an avenue that should be open and available to you.”
Watch the Wells Fargo Championship throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues on Friday with Featured Groups from 11.45am.