Sergio Garcia breaks silence after screaming at officials in Open qualifying | Golf | Sport

The R&A had to step up their game with extra marshals at Sergio Garcia’s opening round of Open Qualifying, following LIV Golf star Sergio Garcia’s concerns over crowd control issues.

Garcia, once again finding himself in the throes of Open Qualifying for the second consecutive year, faced a challenging start at West Lancashire golf club.

The Spaniard, whose ranking has been slipping in the OWGR, was determined to make a solid impression during the 36-hole qualifier but encountered some hurdles early on. Tensions frayed when he was handed a time warning by officials, leading to Garcia snapping back and maintaining that the course conditions and the heavy fan presence was making it tough to go quickly.

The former Masters winner drew a significant crowd on Merseyside, with throngs of fans tracking his every move. Yet, this attention soon turned problematic for the Fireballs’ captain.

Garcia was caught up in a notable delay on the eighth tee, which led to his drive landing in a tricky position on the left. Subsequently, his group received a slow play warning, a decision Garcia found to be unwarranted.

He pointed the finger at the inadequate crowd management as the root of their sluggish pace, venting to an official: “It needs controlling better,” making no secret of his frustration. Despite a rocky start and finishing the front nine one-over-par, Garcia bounced back impressively, carding three-under on the back nine to sit two-under at the midpoint of the competition.

This isn’t Garcia’s first rodeo with large audiences at the qualifiers; he witnessed a similar scene last summer at the same venue.

However, just like in 2023, the LIV golfer faced the same outcome, missing out on a spot in the year’s final major by a mere two shots.

Reflecting on earlier crowd control issues, Garcia since broke his silence over the issue and said: “When you have 2,000 people following us with no ropes, nothing.”

“The marshals were trying to do the best job they could do but obviously we had to stop pretty much on every tee for two to three minutes to hit our tee shots because people were walking in front of the tee and on the fairway.

“Unless we wanted to start hitting people we couldn’t hit. I don’t think they took that into account and that was unfortunate. It made us rush.”

“On a day like today when the conditions are so tricky and you might need a little of bit of extra time here and there it doesn’t help out. Because of that I made a couple of bogeys that might cost me getting to Troon.”

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