Frustration got the best of Sergio Garcia on the fourth hole Sunday at the Dell Technologies Championship, and it cost him the use of his putter for the rest of the day.
After hitting a great drive past the hole and onto the fringe on the 284-yard par-4 hole, Garcia’s first putt veered sharply to the right about 10 feet from the hole and came to rest 13 feet away.
At that point, Garcia raised his right arm and swung the putter down in frustration, directly onto a sprinkler head about a foot away from where he’d addressed the ball. Hard.
Garcia almost immediately realized that the putter, a Toulon Design prototype, had bent due to the blow. According to the rules of golf, “If a club is damaged other than in the normal course of play and its playing characteristics have changed or it is rendered non-conforming, the club must not be replaced or used again during the round. If the damaged or broken club happens to be a putter, the player would need to putt with any one of the other clubs in their bag.”
It is not the first time this season Garcia has caused himself problems in a fit of pique, the world No 7 injuring his shoulder after lashing out at a gorse bush on the fourth hole at Royal Birkdale during this year’s Open Championship.
And after switching to using his driver on the greens in Boston, the 37-year-old then bogeyed the fifth, sixth, eighth and ninth on his way to a round of 75, with a miserable day completed with a double-bogey seven on the last.
That left Garcia, who used a three iron to hole birdie putts on the 13th and 17th, two over par and 14 shots behind clubhouse leader Justin Thomas, the US PGA champion firing eight birdies in a flawless 63 despite the wet conditions.