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Golf news | PGA Tour | Sergio Garcia | LIV Golf series | Greg Norman | Phil Mickelson | Saudi Arabia


The 2017 Masters champion, Sergio Garcia, has effectively confirmed his defection to Greg Norman‘s Saudi-backed rebel tour during a heated dispute at the Wells Fargo Championship.

Having hooked his drive into waist-high rough at the 10th hole, Garcia was deemed to have taken longer than the rules allowed to find the ball.

The Spaniard disagreed with the assessment, claiming the rules official had started the clock too early.

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“I can’t wait to leave this tour,” Garcia was heard to say.

“Can’t wait to get out of here.

“Just a couple more weeks until I don’t have to deal with you anymore.”

Garcia was able to make par on the hole, as he finished with a round of three-under 67, leaving him in a tie for 17th place, four shots behind Australia’s Jason Day, who has a one shot lead.

Garcia declined to speak to the media after his round, although the PGA Tour subsequently conceded he had a point, having been incorrectly told his ball was on the far side of a creek, which he spent some time trying to cross.

The Spaniard has previously been linked to the LIV tour, which is headed up by Norman.

His participation would effectively spell the end of his Ryder Cup career, and likely lead to his expulsion from the PGA Tour.

As a former Masters champion he has a lifetime exemption at Augusta National, although it’s unclear what impact his defection to the Saudi tour would have. Norman was reportedly not invited to this year’s tournament, an honour usually extended as a courtesy to all former major champions.

The LIV tour is due to kick off in London in June, a week before the US Open. However, it’s the second tournament, set down for Portland in July, that’s likely to cause massive upheaval in the golf world.

That’s because the PGA Tour will not grant a release for any of its players who want to compete at a rival tournament in North America, possibly leading to court action.

A total of eight tournaments are planed between June-October, five of them in the United States. The first event will offer prizemoney of $35 million for the 48 competitors, with no cut in the 54-hole tournament.

All up, just under $360 million will be on offer over the eight events.

Earlier this week, former world No.1 Lee Westwood confirmed he’s asked for a release to play in the first of the Saudi-backed tournaments.

“This is my job. I do this for money,” he said.

“It’s not the only reason for doing it, but if anybody comes along and gives any of us a chance at a pay rise, then you have to seriously consider it, don’t you?”

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