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sergio garcia

Sergio Garcia: ‘Immature’ Rory McIlroy ruined our friendship

The Spaniard didn’t take any prisoners when describing why he and his old pal are no longer on speaking terms

 

Sergio Garcia lumped the blame on four-time major champion Rory McIlroy for why the pair no longer speak.

Speaking to the Telegraph at the opening LIV event of the season, Garcia said McIlroy lacked maturity after the Spaniard made the controversial switch to the rival league last summer.

McIlroy has previously admitted his relationships with some players who joined the Saudi-financed league have gone south, but none more so than Garcia for whom he was a groomsman at his wedding.

The major-winning duo’s friendship largely stemmed from the Ryder Cup having played together in a pair at the 2014 edition at Gleneagles and at Le Golf National in 2018.

Garcia almost certainly won’t be involved in the Ryder Cup again and he noted the lack of respect from McIlroy’s end for his decision to join LIV Golf for a lucrative contract offer.

“I think it is very sad,” Garcia said. “I think that we’ve done so many things together and had so many experiences that for him to throw that away just because I decided to go to a different tour, well, it doesn’t seem very mature; lacking maturity, really.

“But Rory’s got his own life and he makes his own choices, the same way that I make mine. I respect his choices, but it seems like he doesn’t respect the ones I make. So a one-way street.

sergio garcia

“I don’t have a problem with him. He’s the one that has a problem. So if he wants to reconcile, then I’m willing to talk. But I’m not sure he’ll put himself down to that level.”

The 2017 Masters champion is the record points scorer in the history of the Ryder Cup, but without access to world ranking points and just one major in 2023, he has limited chances to climb Team Europe’s points standings.

Not that this will affect the 43-year-old. He “wouldn’t want to harm the atmosphere in the team room” with his presence as captain Luke Donald tries to wrestle back the trophy from America in Italy in September.

Although Garcia largely holds McIlroy responsible for their relationship breakdown, some golf fans may sense some irony and cast their minds back to times when Garcia hasn’t covered himself in glory with his behaviour.

At the BMW PGA Championship in September, Garcia withdrew after the first round for an unspecified reason following the death of the Queen.

He was later pictured pitchside with PGA Tour star Scottie Scheffler at a college football match in Texas which sparked huge criticism for his actions.

Ahead of his move to LIV Golf, he said during the Wells Fargo Championship that he “couldn’t wait to leave the tour” after being on the wrong side of a ruling while searching for his ball in tall grass.

He was also heard using strong language in anger when he was told by a rules official that despite finding his ball, the three-minute allocated window had expired.

These occasions would be just a couple of times when Garcia’s character has been questioned, but perhaps he has newfound happiness in the rebel league which restarts this week in Mexico.

Garcia believes the players are heard loud and clear by Greg Norman and other LIV officials, whereas the PGA Tour only takes notice of a select few players. No prizes for guessing who they could be.

He is the captain of Fireballs GC and each captain is responsible for growing the franchise and managing sponsors, a particularly important part of his role now that he is no longer associated with Adidas.

“We had so much criticism when we started off last June that it unified us all together and that included with the bosses,” Garcia said.

“You can suggest things, ideas, and although they are not always followed up and acted upon, you are listened to. That didn’t happen on the PGA Tour. There are only two, maybe three players who the bosses listen to on that Tour.

“I’m fine and my focus is on this new campaign. I have a great team. They’re great players and beautiful people. We’re really excited.”

Will Sergio Garcia ever be involved in the Ryder Cup again? Tweet me and let me know!

  • NOW READ: Thomas Pieters: LIV Golf move won’t stop Ryder Cup ambition

Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spoken to the likes of Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Henrik Stenson, to name just a few.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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