The inauguration of the Saudi International of the European tour, already marked by bad publicity, sparked new controversies following the disqualification of Sergio García. The 2017 Masters champion damaged several frustrated greens in his third round. Group players immediately behind García reportedly expressed their dissatisfaction after being forced to meet this spoiled territory.
García, who is no stranger to the dive on the course, had just made the Saudi Cup after innings of 69 and 70.
On Saturday he signed for a 71, an outclass, but he was summoned before the officials of the European tour after details were discovered about clubs crushed several times. The tour duly took the very unusual step of applying their rule 1.2a, which authorizes recusation for "serious misconduct" cases.
In a statement, García said: "I respect the decision of my exclusion. In frustration, I damaged two greens, which I apologize for, and I informed my colleagues that this would never happen again. "
Keith Pelley, general manager of the European tour, participated in the disciplinary process which also involved a meeting with García's representative.
At the end of their live broadcast, Sky Sports has curiously reserved little attention to this news worthy of interest. The 62 products of Li Haotong, of China, were deemed worthy of greater coverage.
Pelley could have done without these antics from one of the most prominent players on his tour. The decision of the European tour to visit Saudi Arabia for the first time has been the subject of much criticism based on human rights violations committed by the country.
It is unclear whether the tournament sponsors paid García a participation fee – as was the case for Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Justin Rose – and, if so, what impact her crimes would have on her. Rose missed the cut on Friday.
Li, who will participate in the fourth day with Johnson, brought four eagles back in his round. To try to stop a race with two horses, the Englishman Tom Lewis will have to catch five shots to win.