Sergio Garcia disqualified from Saudi International for 'serious misconduct'

Sport360 staff 19:59 02/02/2019
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Sergio Garcia.

Former Masters champion Sergio Garcia was disqualified from the inaugural Saudi International on Saturday.

The Spaniard began his third round on one under par after opening the tournament with rounds of 69 and 70. He added a 71 on day three but was disqualified and will miss out on Sunday’s final round.

The world No27 is believed to have damaged a few greens at the Royal Greens Golf Club, slamming his putter in frustration.

Garcia thus became the first player on the European Tour to be disqualified under Rule 1.2a, which deals with serious misconduct.

Garcia apologised for his behaviour and said in a statement : “I respect the decision of my disqualification. In frustration, I damaged a couple of greens, for which I apologise, and I have informed my fellow players it will never happen again.”

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Harrington says he is putting career on the line by accepting Ryder Cup captaincy

Phil Casey 19:04 08/01/2019
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Padraig Harrington.

Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington believes he is putting his career on the line by taking on the Ryder Cup captaincy in 2020.

Harrington won the Open Championship in 2007 and successfully defended the title the following year, before winning the US PGA Championship just three weeks later.

However, the 47-year-old is well aware of the damage a Ryder Cup defeat can do to a captain’s reputation having played under six-time major winner Sir Nick Faldo in Europe’s defeat at Valhalla in 2008.

“It’s something I did think long and hard about,” Harrington said during a press conference to announce his appointment at the European Tour’s headquarters at Wentworth.

“It’s possibly easier to be Ryder Cup captain at home, but I realise it was good timing in my career and probably the best chance for the team in an international setting, going to the US having me as captain at this time.

“Then it really came down to whether I wanted to be in the hat and put what is a successful career on the line. It is a different element to your career and we know a successful captain is great and a losing captain, it’s his fault. I am putting something on the line going out there.

“I’m well aware that it’s win or nothing, that’s the way it goes. You go out there and win and you’re a successful captain; you lose, you’re not. I’m aware that I could have passed up on this and just kept on going as a nice tournament golfer.

“When you’re a Ryder Cup captain, you’re putting the history of your game – your legacy – on the line.”

Harrington has served as a vice-captain at the last three Ryder Cups and appeared in the biennial contest against the United States six times as a player, beginning at Brookline in 1999. He was on the winning team in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2010.

He succeeds Thomas Bjorn as captain for next year’s contest at Whistling Straits, where Europe will be bidding to defend the trophy won in convincing fashion in Paris in September.

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Europe captain Thomas Bjorn backs Rory McIlroy to give team strong start on Sunday

Sport360 staff 08:47 30/09/2018
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A big day: Rory Mcilroy.

Europe captain Thomas Bjorn is convinced Rory McIlroy will thrive on the responsibility of going out first in Sunday’s decisive singles at the Ryder Cup.

Former world number one McIlroy has had a mixed event so far but Bjorn has no doubt the Northern Irishman can set the right tempo for the trophy-chasing European side.

The home side take a 10-6 lead into Sunday’s 12 matches and need to claim four and a half points to triumph at Le Golf National in Paris.

McIlroy will face Justin Thomas in the opening match, Thomas and Jordan Spieth having beaten McIlroy and Ian Poulter 4&3 in the Saturday foursomes.

“There’s a lot of reasons to send Rory out first,” Bjorn said. “He’s a fantastic player. He likes to play fast. He doesn’t like to be held up. He likes responsibility.

“He feels like he’s in a place where he can go into that position and get the best out of himself. I have a lot of belief in him, and I trust him as a player, but also trust him very much as a person.

“So it’s a great place for him to be with responsibility.”

After McIlroy and Thomas get the action under way at 11.05am BST, Paul Casey will tackle Brooks Koepka, Justin Rose will face Webb Simpson and Jon Rahm will go up against Tiger Woods. Both Woods and Rahm will be searching for their first point of the competition.

Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari, who can become the first European players to compile a perfect 5-0 record in the ryder cup, will take on Tony Finau and Phil Mickelson in matches five and nine respectively.

“I went with this set-up because of personalities and the way I see them,” Bjorn added. “And I went with this group of guys in this order because I think it covers all the way through the order.

“That American line-up was always going to be extremely strong and it doesn’t matter; we need to win our points. They can come from any match.”

If it goes down to the final match, all the focus will fall on Europe’s Alex Noren and America’s Bryson DeChambeau.

United States captain Jim Furyk is confident Thomas can get his side’s attempts to fight back off to a flying start in the opening match.

Alongside Spieth, in-form rookie Thomas has won three of his four matches in the competition.

Furyk said: “You know, we want to get out to a fast start. That’s key, it’s imperative, everyone knows it.

“Any time a team’s come back from four points, it’s been a fast start and a solid middle to late part of the line-up.

“Right now we’ve got a feisty guy in Justin Thomas leading us off. He’s kind of a little spark plug.”

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