‘It was frustration:’ Sergio Garcia explains bizarre episode with rules official at Wells Fargo
It was only a few months ago when Sergio Garcia was making his displeasure with the PGA Tour known to rules officials and not in the courts.
In an interview with ESPN’s Michael Collins, Garcia looked back on the moment from the first round of May’s Wells Fargo Championship, when he went on an expletive-laden rant caught on PGA Tour Live microphones.
“It was frustration,” Garcia said. “Mainly for the way the official acted towards me. He didn’t wanna hear anything that I had to say. He didn’t wanna hear what I was trying to explain to him.”
Garcia was searching for his ball on the 10th hole after he hooked his tee shot on the par-5 left, near a stream. He wanted to look for his ball on the other side of the stream, which was still in the penalty area, but he first had to find a way to cross the stream. The question became when would Garcia’s three minutes to find his ball begin?
According to the official on the hole at the time, it started before he crossed the stream, and thus when Garcia found his ball, the official alerted him it had already taken him four minutes to find it. That’s when things got weird.
After a back and forth between the official and Garcia, the Spaniard uttered his now infamous, “I can’t wait to leave this tour” line.
“I can’t wait to get out of here, my friend,” Garcia said, which we now of course know he meant he was joining the LIV Golf circuit the next month. “Just a couple more weeks and I won’t have to deal with you anymore.”
Garcia was actually regretful about that line when talking to Collins.
“It was frustrating and that came out,” Garcia said. “I probably should have held it [in] if I could have but in the heat of the moment I guess sometimes you can’t help it.”
The crazier thing was, Garcia had the right to be upset. The PGA Tour later clarified Garcia was given an improper ruling. He should have been allowed to play his ball as his time to find the ball didn’t start until he had crossed the stream.
“They actually told me that, yes, when I started looking for the ball, I found [it] within 2 minutes,” Garcia told Collins. “So I even had a minute to spare. I think the frustration was the talks about LIV and thinking about going. Then that happened and in that moment you feel like you’re getting a little bit screwed.”
Garcia eventually took a drop, hit an iron into the fairway for his third, and got up and down from 137 yards for an eventful par.
“When I found the ball I could actually hit it about 160 yards up the fairway,” Garcia said. “Maybe I could have had the possibility of making a birdie or an easy par. But now I have to drop 60 yards back, hit a 3-iron and pitching wedge into a green, so it wasn’t easy to make a 5 [par] and it wasn’t easy to make a 6 [bogey].”
And for what it’s worth, Garcia said he and the official cleared the air after the round.
“Thankfully for me, at the end of the round [the official] came and apologized,” he said.