In Other Golf News

Chastised Garcia will return to Saudi Arabia for free, report says

After his on-course rage last year, Spaniard waives appearance fee as condition to avoid suspension, London's Telegraph reports

Waived: An appearance fee for playing in the 2020 Saudi International by Sergio Garcia as a make-good for his temper tantrum in the inaugural event earlier this year, according to a report by James Corrigan in London’s Telegraph newspaper. Garcia angrily swiped repeatedly at the sand in a bunker, which preceded his damage to as many as five greens before the European Tour disqualified him for “serious misconduct.” He apologized but reportedly kept the appearance fee, which the Telegraph estimated at £500,000 (about $643,000). He agreed to play without the inducement in 2020 as a condition to avoid suspension by the tour, according to the report. American Brooks Koepka, who competed in the inaugural event, chastised Garcia for “acting like a child.” Koepka, who has been ranked No. 1 in the world since winning the 2019 PGA Championship, and countryman Dustin Johnson, the defending champion in Saudi Arabia, are among the top players who have committed to returning to the kingdom. Major champions Shane Lowry, Patrick Reed and Henrik Stenson also are entered. The Saudi International is scheduled for Jan. 30-Feb. 2 at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City. It will be played opposite the PGA Tour’s Waste Management Phoenix Open.

United: The LPGA and the Ladies European Tour, in a joint partnership announced Tuesday by the tours. With the news, which was short on details, the LPGA and LET vow to build on each tour’s strengths and “push women’s professional golf to new heights in Europe and around the world.” The LET has struggled to attract sponsors as its schedule has dwindled in recent years, leading many of the continent’s top players to compete primarily on the LPGA. The LPGA, by comparison, has grown in the past decade under commissioner Mike Whan, who recently signed a contract extension, and announced a 33-event, $75.1 million schedule for 2020.

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