Koepka tells Garcia to 'grow up' after on-course outburst

Brooks Koepka, in New York with the PGA Championship trophy, found Sergio Garcia's behaviour at the Saudi event upsetting.
Brooks Koepka (above), in New York with the PGA Championship trophy, found Sergio Garcia's behaviour at the Saudi event upsetting.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Brooks Koepka, in New York with the PGA Championship trophy, found Sergio Garcia's behaviour at the Saudi event upsetting.
Brooks Koepka found Sergio Garcia's (above) behaviour at the Saudi event upsetting.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LOS ANGELES • Three-time Major champion Brooks Koepka has publicly rebuked Sergio Garcia for his temper tantrum at the European Tour's inaugural Saudi International last Saturday, calling on the Spaniard to "grow up".

Garcia was disqualified from the event, which Dustin Johnson eventually won, for what the Tour deemed as "serious misconduct".

The tournament attracted a star-studded field - including four of the world's five top-ranked players - by paying out huge appearance fees, but the Spaniard failed to live up to billing as one of the big names.

Video footage posted on social media showed the 2017 Masters champion slamming his golf club into the sand three times after a mediocre bunker shot, before angrily speaking in Spanish as he departed the trap at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City.

Although Garcia, 39, later apologised for his overreaction in a statement released by the Tour, Koepka felt he had "acted like a child".

In an interview with the Playing Through podcast on Tuesday, the American said: "It's unfortunate that he's got to do that and complain. Everybody's got to play the same golf course.

"I didn't play very good (Koepka finished joint-57th), but you didn't really see anybody else doing that. I mean, you're (almost) 40 years old.

"It's frustrating as a player to see. To act like that, the disrespect to everybody, is not cool. It's not setting a good example and it's not cool to us, showing us no respect."

While the 28-year-old took umbrage with Garcia's meltdown, he was in a far better mood when asked about the PGA Championship moving from August to May for the first time, claiming the change in date would give him a better chance at golf's "Grand Slam".

He added: "If I can get on a nice run, you can rattle off all the Majors, which would be nice."

The event, which will take place from May 16-19 at the Bethpage Black Course, is now second in the calendar order of Majors, preceding June's US Open and the British Open in July.

Koepka revealed that he was "super excited" to defend his crown.

He said: "New York fans are a lot of fun and, any time you can play in front of them and you're doing well, that's an added bonus. I know the course and I'm excited to play it.

"It's definitely a lot different, but it's a good change. I like the fact that everything is so congested, or feels that way, from the Players (Championship) in March to basically when the Open is done.

"You've seen guys get hot and they go for four months where they just play some incredible golf and, hopefully, I can set myself up to do that."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 07, 2019, with the headline 'Koepka tells Garcia to 'grow up' after on-course outburst'. Print Edition | Subscribe