(Reuters) – Sergio Garcia said he was “ashamed” of the actions that got him disqualified from the Saudi International two weeks ago.
The 2017 Masters champion was banished from the European Tour event when he intentionally damaged at least five greens at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in the third round.. Earlier in the tournament, he was also seen angrily belting his club over and over again in a greenside bunker.
“I’m sorry to my fans and fellow competitors. What happened is not an example I want to set, and it’s not who I truly am,” Garcia said on Instagram.
“I am an emotional player and while I believe that’s one of my biggest strengths, it’s also one of my biggest flaws.
“I’m focused on working hard to channel that emotion the correct way and to be the best, learn from it and move forward.”
The 39-year-old Spaniard posted his comments before returning to competition on the PGA Tour at the Genesis Open in Los Angeles this week.
He also told a television network that he was ready to show that his actions in Saudi Arabia were out of character.
Garcia has always played with his heart on his sleeve, though he seemed to have mellowed after winning the Green Jacket, getting married and becoming a father in the space of 12 months.
“It’s obviously something I feel ashamed of,” he told Golf Channel, referring to his behavior in Saudi Arabia.
“I’m not proud but the only thing I can do is apologize for it, hope that people accept it, show everyone how I am and how I can behave on the course, with respect to everyone, not only the fans but my fellow players.”
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Andrew Both; Editing by Peter Rutherford and Pritha Sarkar)