The arrival of the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf International Series is slowly approaching, and one more of its defectors may have just revealed his plans.
While playing the opening round of the 2022 Wells Fargo Championship, Sergio Garcia hit his tee shot wide left into a hazard on the 10th hole. Garcia eventually found his ball, but the rules official said he took too long. The two quibbled over when the clock should have started for Garcia's search, but Garcia ended up having to take a drop.
Once the battle was lost, Garcia wasn't exactly subtle with his future plans, specifically how long he would have to continue to deal with PGA Tour rules officials.
"So you're saying I took too long. I can't wait to leave this tour. Can't wait to get out of here, my friend ... Just a couple more weeks, and then I don't have to deal with you anymore."
Despite the drop, Garcia wound up saving par on the 10th and finished the round tied for 17th at 3-under. The PGA Tour later released a statement clarifying the rules official should have stopped the clock at one point due to circumstances involving a TV spotter, but did not adjust Garcia's score, citing the Rules of Golf.
Sergio Garcia, frustrated with what he thought was the early start of the clock to look for a lost ball, seemingly telling a rules official…
…I cant wait to leave this tour
…cant wait to get outta here
…just a couple more weeks until I don’t have to deal with you any more pic.twitter.com/k1qRRYbmsF
— The Fried Egg (@the_fried_egg) May 5, 2022
On a related note, LIV Golf, which is largely seen as another attempt by Saudi Arabia to use sports to elevate its international profile and distract from its atrocious human rights record, is scheduled to hold its first event in early June at the Centurion Golf Club in London. The purse will be $25 million, $10 million more than the 2022 Masters, available for any player willing to do business with the Saudis and potentially break away from the PGA Tour.
Garcia has been reported to be one of those players. He fits the standard LIV Golf profile to a T: a well-known name far enough from his prime to make an enormous payday and potential ban from the PGA Tour worth it.
Other players reported to be making the leap include Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Bubba Watson, with Westwood already announcing he has requested a release to play in the Centurion event next month. Robert Garrigus and Phil Mickelson have done the same, even though it's apparently thanks to the latter that a number of big names backed away.