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Don’t act the fool Sergio

Friday, February 8, 2019

“I’ve been a big fan of Sergio Garcia for the last 20 years. He's an incredibly talented golfer and I don't know anyone in the game, including Tiger Woods, who has more ability than he has but unfortunately he made a fool of himself last week.

We don't know precisely what he did because there's been no TV footage available but, according to all the reports, he lost his temper and damaged five greens during the third round of the Saudi International.

We also know that during the second round he was captured on film thrashing around in a bunker like a petulant teenager.

He was disqualified for damaging the putting surfaces but I'd have banned him. I think that is an offence that deserves a suspension because he's making a fool of himself in front of the world. No one wants to see that.

I notice the European Tour have said the incident is over and it's time to move on. Well, if he's not going to be banned then I'd like to see him take a self-imposed break from the game. I think he needs a period of time to get his perspectives in order and realise how fortunate he is, at 39, to have everything money can buy, a young family and everything to be grateful for.

To see his frustration spill over the way it did last week shows he's not in a well-balanced state of mind. All golfers get frustrated from time to time but you can't go round acting the way he has done.

Under the surface there seems to be an anger within him and golf is a game you can't play angry. It's time he took a serious look at his circumstances. I know there are big tournaments coming up, the Masters is a few weeks away for example, and he's got obligations to sponsors but he's doing nobody any good, least of all his sponsors. He crossed a line last week. He didn't just take it out on himself, he took it out on the golf course.

You can't start hacking away at the course. It's wrong from every single angle. If you are a golfer in the same group as Sergio when he's doing that, it's not something you want to be dealing with.

Seeing someone go off like that is embarrassing. There's a code of conduct he's overstepped. It's unacceptable. The shame of it, having to apologise to your fellow pros. His playing partners are trying to make their living out there. This is getting a bit out of hand for Sergio. Maybe he should take a year off, contemplate life and try to have a different approach when he comes back.

He needs to start putting things in perspective. I was the same after spending five or six years on the senior tour. I'd won a couple of times but it was all getting rather repetitive for me. I came home one day and said to my wife Astrid, 'I've had enough. I can't do this any more, it's making me miserable'. She said, 'what will you do instead?', and I replied: 'I don't know but I don't want to do this for sure'. I went on and readjusted my life, started to take joy out of other things.

Golf can drive you crazy if you are looking for perfection because that is something you can never truly attain in this game.

You compare Sergio with his late, great fellow Spaniard Seve Ballesteros for example. Seve had more courage than anyone. He was the best example of someone pulling victory out of defeat because of his raw courage and tenacity. We haven't seen that so much from Sergio.

On a more positive note, I was pleased to see Rickie Fowler hold on for victory on a bizarre last day at the Phoenix Open. One minute he had a five-shot lead, the next he was one behind, but he fought back well on a horrible day weather-wise.

Rickie's a good guy. I know from talking to Jack and Barbara Nicklaus that he sets a great example. He's always there for any charity, anything they want. He always says, 'what can I do?'. For that reason I was very happy to see him come out on top on Sunday.”