‘I can’t wait to leave this tour’ – Sergio García set to join Saudi breakaway series

Spanish veteran Sergio Garcia has become the latest golfer to weigh into the most divisive issue in the sport at the moment.

Sergio Garcia can’t wait to join the Saudi-led rebel tour. Picture: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images
Sergio Garcia can’t wait to join the Saudi-led rebel tour. Picture: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Sergio García was overheard saying “I can’t wait to leave this tour” to a PGA Tour rules official on Thursday in the latest indication that he will defect to the Saudi Arabia-backed breakaway series.

The Spaniard has requested a waiver from the PGA Tour to play in the LIV Golf Invitational series opener in St Albans in June.

The incident occurred in the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship at TPC Potomac in Maryland when the Spaniard hooked his tee shot into a marsh area to the left of the 10th hole.

Despite García finding his original ball, a rules official forced him to take a one-shot penalty drop because he had taken more than three minutes to find it.

Garcia was overheard saying he can’t wait to join the breakaway tour. Picture: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Garcia was overheard saying he can’t wait to join the breakaway tour. Picture: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Frustrated with the ruling, the 2017 Masters champion was overheard saying: “I can’t wait to leave this tour. Can’t wait to get out of here. Just a couple more weeks until I don’t have to deal with you anymore.”

The world No 47 made par on the hole en route to a first-round score of three-under par.

It was reported last week that 15 players in the world’s top 100 had requested releases from the PGA Tour to play in the first event of the controversial LIV Golf Invitational Series at the Centurion Club.

The tournament has a prize purse of about £20 million.

If García, who has career earnings on the PGA Tour of more than $54 million (around £44 million), defects to the Saudi-funded tour he would risk bans from majors and the Ryder Cup, with Jay Monahan, the PGA Tour commissioner, and Keith Pelley, the CEO of the DP World Tour, insisting they are capable of issuing lifetime suspensions to rebel players.

Greg Norman, the chief executive of LIV Golf Investments who is fronting the breakaway, denies that players could be banned.

Greg Norman (L) and Phil Mickelson (R) are two of the most high-profile supporters of the rebel tour. Picture: Luke Walker/WME IMG/Getty Images
Greg Norman (L) and Phil Mickelson (R) are two of the most high-profile supporters of the rebel tour. Picture: Luke Walker/WME IMG/Getty Images

García’s outburst comes after Lee Westwood, another European who has requested a release from the PGA Tour to play in St Albans, once again leapt to support the proposal despite Saudi Arabia’s history of human-rights abuses.

“Formula One is there, Newcastle [United] is partly owned by Saudi Arabia, there’s been boxing fights,” the 49-year-old said.

“Golf is not the first sport to have links with Saudi Arabia but it seems to come under more scrutiny.

“This is my job. I do this for money. It’s not the only reason for doing it, but if anybody comes along and gives any of us a chance at a pay rise, then you have to seriously consider it.”

Lee Westwood has lent his support to the Saudi tour. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Lee Westwood has lent his support to the Saudi tour. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Phil Mickelson and Robert Garrigus have also requested releases for the first 54-hole event, from which the winner will take home $4 million (about £3.2 million).

Other notable players thought to have signed up include Ian Poulter, Martin Kaymer, Bubba Watson, Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen. The total prize purse for the eight-event series is $255 million (about £200 million).

Brendan Bradford
Brendan BradfordContent producer

Brendan Bradford is a sports writer for CODE Sports. He primarily covers combat sports, league, union, cycling and athletics. Brendan has worked in sports media for a decade, covering world title fights, World Cups, Grand Slams and Spring Tours.