AUGUSTA, Ga. — Former Masters champion Sergio Garcia is tired of answering questions about the rift between the PGA Tour and the LIV Golf League.
Speaking to reporters after carding a 2-over 74 in the first round of the 87th Masters on Thursday, Garcia became irritated when he was asked how normal it felt to return to Augusta National Golf Club.
“Totally normal,” Garcia said. “You guys need to stop it. You guys are making a big deal out of this, and it’s you guys.”
When a reporter pushed back, Garcia said, “Yes, it is. I’ve had nothing but great things from every single player I talk to. So please stop it and talk about the Masters.”
Garcia, the 2017 Masters champion, is among 18 players from LIV Golf who were invited to compete at Augusta National this week. Garcia is one of six past Masters champions who have been suspended by PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan for playing in LIV Golf events.
Garcia declined to comment on Thursday morning’s decision by an arbitration panel in London, which ruled that the DP World Tour can suspend and fine members who competed in LIV Golf tournaments without conflicting-event releases.
Garcia, who was a member of the DP World Tour and a longtime player for the European Ryder Cup team, said he hadn’t yet seen the panel’s decision. He had been among the 16 appellants in the case but withdrew before the February hearing.
“How can I talk about something I don’t know?” Garcia said. “Obviously I don’t look at the news. So I don’t know what happened. I’m not going to talk about something without all the information that I need. I don’t want to get into [it].”
During a PGA Tour Champions breakfast last month in Newport Beach, California, PGA Tour member Fred Couples referred to Garcia as a “clown” and three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson as a “nutbag.”
On Monday, Couples said: “On my [radio] show, I’ve told everyone, ‘Sergio is one of the top 10 players I’ve ever seen hit a ball,’ but if he’s going to make comments about the tour that I play, I’m going to make a comment back, and if it’s offensive, I apologize, but they’re on another tour. Go play and have a good time.”