As Sergio Garcia's temper tantrums saw him disqualified from the third round of the Saudi International this weekend, we ask - what really makes you mad on the course?
By Charlotte Ibbetson
As if there wasn't already enough controversy surrounding the European Tour’s inaugural Saudi International, Sergio Garcia added a whole new layer this weekend.
Garcia was disqualified from the third round of the Saudi International, powered by SBIA, after temper tantrums saw him damage as many as five greens on Saturday. Under Rule 1.2a, he was disqualified for committing serious misconduct - and rightly so in my opinion.
He commented: “I respect the decision of my disqualification. In frustration, I damaged a couple of greens, which I apologise for, and I have informed my fellow players it will never happen again.”
Garcia has been in the game long enough to understand the importance of upholding the etiquette and level of sportsmanship that golf is synonymous for, but more than that, he’s an idol for so many golfers, young and old, around the world. It’s not acceptable behaviour and his punishment has been only fitting.
Don’t get me wrong, golf gets to us all sometimes, but that doesn’t excuse physically damaging the golf course and spoiling the greens for everyone else.
The whole incident has got me thinking though about what makes us really lose it on the course. Do we set unrealistic expectations of ourselves, are we always searching for the perfect shot and the perfect swing, or is just pure frustration? Maybe it’s something, or someone, else – that person who insists on having 45 practice swings and five waggles of their club before they hit the shot or the person who will not stop talking no matter how much you reply with nothing more comprehensive than a grunt.
I get particularly stressed if people stand behind me when I hit my shot, so the new rule that was introduced in January forbidding caddies to do exactly that was music to my ears (albeit there’s still a huge amount of controversy around how the rule can be interpreted!). I’m not quite sure what it is, but I have a sneaky suspicion that it’s rooted in my unrelenting need for perfection, and the fact that by standing behind me, there’s a (very likely!) chance that the person watching may point out a flaw in my swing. As I’ve moved further away from competitive golf, that fear has definitely subsided, but it’s a club-slamming worthy feeling when I’ not playing well.