Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 17 January 2020

Sergio Garcia says returning to Saudi International after last year's disqualification was an 'easy decision'

Spaniard says he wants to 'show his respect' after being thrown out of the tournament due to misconduct

Sergio Garcia during the Pro-Am ahead of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. Getty Images
Sergio Garcia during the Pro-Am ahead of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. Getty Images

Sergio Garcia says it was “an easy decision” for him to agree to return to the Saudi International later this month, despite being disqualified there last year.

The tournament’s introduction on the European Tour in 2019 was chiefly memorable for the Spaniard being thrown out for “serious misconduct”.

Garcia damaged a number of greens in frustration during the third round of that tournament, leading to his censure by the tour. He subsequently issued an apology.

He is due to return to the Kingdom, having been named in another star-studded line up for this year’s competition, which will take place between January 30 and February 2.

“I feel terrible about what happened last year,” Garcia said, ahead of starting his 2020 campaign at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, presented by EGA.

“Obviously, there were some outside things that got me to that point. I want to go there. I want to show my respect to them.”

In his apology after last year’s disqualification, Garcia had said his behaviour was “not who I truly am”, and he now says he wants to “show the true Sergio”.

“The easy thing would have been for me to hide and never go back there,” Garcia said.

“But I love the people there, and I love the guys, all the people we met, and the Sheikh and everyone that takes care of us during the tournament. They are amazing people, and they wanted me to go back.

“So that was an easy decision, and I'm excited to go back there. Show myself, show the true Sergio, and show them my respect and try to play the best that I can, and hopefully have a great tournament.”

It is nearly three years now since Garcia broke his majors duck by winning the 2017 Masters.

A second major has yet to follow, but, having turned 40 on January 9, he says he is satisfied with his achievements so far.

“Already I felt like it was a great career before winning the Masters,” Garcia said.

“Obviously after winning it, it's even better, with everything I've been able to do worldwide and Ryder Cup-wise.

“Don’t get me wrong, I would love to get the second one, and hopefully more. But it's not like do-or-die.

“If we get the second or the third or whatever, it will be great, but if it doesn't, I'm happy with everything that's gone on in my life.”

Updated: January 15, 2020 03:06 PM

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