Sports | May 6, 2022 11:04 am

Ex-Masters Champ Sergio Garcia “Can’t Wait to Leave” PGA Tour for LIV Golf 

A frustrated Garcia will likely be one of the players who hit the links in the Saudi-backed LIV Golf International Series event outside of London in June

Sergio Garcia of Spain at the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship
Sergio Garcia of Spain at the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship.
Gregory Shamus/Getty

Though nothing is official due to confidentiality agreements, it certainly sounds like Spaniard Sergio Garcia will be one of the 70 or so golfers who head to London to play in the first Saudi-backed LIV Golf International Series event next month.

A LIV Golf spokesperson told SI.com that the upstart organization run by Greg Norman is expecting 15 players who are ranked among the top 100 in the world to head to the U.K. for the event. Based on comments 47th-ranked Garcia made yesterday on the course at TPC Potomac that were picked up by a hot mic, the 42-year-old projects to be one of those players.

After shooting a 1-under 34 through nine holes in the opening round of the 2022 Wells Fargo Championship on Thursday and making the turn, the 2017 Masters champ blasted his tee shot way left of the 10th fairway into a hazard and had to go hunt for his ball on the other side of a stream that it took him a little while to cross.

Garcia, who has 11 wins on the PGA Tour and has earned more than $54 million on the circuit, eventually found his ball but was informed by the rules official that it had taken him too long to locate it and that it was technically lost. Though the PGA clarified afterward that the official made an “inadvertent error” and that Garcia had found his ball within the time limit permitted by the rules, he was forced to take a drop on the course (and his score did not change despite the clarification). 

As a mic on the course picked up, Garcia was none too happy about the ruling, which he later called “absolute bullshit.” “You want me to swim through the river? I wasn’t looking for the ball there. I was looking for the ball once I got over to this side. Does that make sense? I knew it was on this side of the river,” he said. “I can’t wait to leave this Tour. I can’t wait to get out of here, my friend. Just a couple more weeks and I won’t have to deal with you anymore.” 

With the Saudi-backed LIV series set to kick off on June 9, it seems fair to assume that’s what he was talking about. If Garcia, who has played in the Saudi International series before, does head to London for the LIV Golf Invitational, he’ll have company in fellow European golfer Lee Westwood, who downplayed the moral complication of getting involved with a Saudi Arabian-funded organization.

“I think Saudi Arabia obviously know they’ve got issues,” Westwood told Jamie Weir of Sky Sports. “I think they’re trying to improve. They’re trying to do it through sport, which a lot of countries do. I think they’re doing it a lot quicker than some countries are trying to do it and that maybe worries people or scares people because people don’t like change.”

It seems like Garcia, who declined to speak to the media following his round, certainly might.