Sir Nick Faldo has ridiculed Sergio Garcia for claiming Rory McIlroy “lacked maturity” by labelling the Spaniard the “most immature player I’ve ever witnessed”.
Garcia made the comments in an exclusive interview with Telegraph Sport here at the Mayakoba resort where the 2017 Master champion has been competing in the first LIV Golf event of the year.
When asked what he thought about McIlroy – who had been one of his closest friends in the game and who had acted as Garcia’s groomsman at his wedding – cutting off the relationship after the duo had rowed by text messages over the latter joining the Saudi-funded circuit, Garcia was brutally frank.
“I think it is very sad,” Garcia said. “We’ve done so many things together and had so many experiences together that for him to throw that away just because I decided to go to a different tour, well, it doesn’t seem very mature; lacking maturity, really.”
The golf world was quick to see the irony in that statement, not least Faldo, who is Europe’s most successful golfer with six majors. “Now this is rich coming from the most immature player I’ve ever witnessed!” he posted on social media.
It must be said that Garcia and Faldo have history. At the 2008 Ryder Cup, Garcia – who since that defeat in Kentucky has become the leading points-scorer in the biennial dust-up’s history – only won half a point and Faldo, the captain that year, later said live on TV that Garcia had been “useless”.
“Half a point, bad attitude,” Faldo said. “He was always labeled as the man who brings emotion and passion. We didn’t have it that week.”
After hearing the criticisms, Garcia declared: “There’s a lot of things I could say about Nick Faldo, but I’m not going to put myself down to his level.”
In fairness to Faldo, he has been far from alone in referencing Garcia’s past brattish behaviour. In his garlanded, but also controversial, career, Garcia has been reprimanded for – among other things – throwing a shoe at a rules official, spitting in a cup and damaging greens with his putter.
McIlroy always defended his former Ryder Cup partner and emphasised the bond that the pair felt when admitting to crying when Garcia at last broke his major drought at Augusta six years ago. “It was a goosebump moment,” the Northern Irishman said at the time. But although Garcia indicated he would be willing to talk and try to reconcile, that now seems highly unlikely.
Meanwhile, Garcia finished in a tie for 23rd on level-par after a final-round 72, 15 shots behind winner Charles Howell. The American veteran is a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, but this $4million first prize was almost four times more than his previous biggest payday.—Agencies