Sergio Garcia v Rickie Fowler, plus Trump plays with Woods & Nicklaus
Sergio Garcia could learn plenty from Rickie Fowler. The Spaniard was guilty of appalling petulance in Saudi Arabia, while Fowler rose above the unluckiest of breaks to salvage a most emotional win in Arizona.
The contrasting conduct of these two star names came during another bizarre weekend for the sport. There were further rules skirmishes and President Trump boosted the game's social media hits by posting after a knock with golf's two biggest personalities.
Events on the two main tours dominated our thoughts, though. If there was a player entitled to vent fury and take it out on a golf course last weekend it was Fowler at the Waste Management Open in Phoenix - and certainly not Garcia.
But the 39-year-old conducted an unprecedented third-round assault on the Royal Greens course at King Abdullah Economic City. He damaged five greens through a clear lack of anger management.
- Rickie Fowler claims dramatic victory at Phoenix Open
- Sergio Garcia disqualified after 'damaging greens'
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Apart from instances of blatant cheating, it surely constituted a new low for on-course behaviour in professional golf. It is one thing to fling a club in fury, it is quite another to affect playing surfaces for fellow pros.
It was an egregious breach of Rule 1.2a - conduct expected of all players. On five front nine greens Garcia dragged the sole of his golf shoe across the top of the turf to leave noticeable damage. He also left a divot mark on the sixth green.
It was pathetic. A day earlier he had repeatedly and furiously lashed out at bunker sand after his ball landed in what he felt was a badly raked hazard.
Yet Garcia will face no further action. "The incident is over," European Tour boss Keith Pelley said. "We have dealt with it. Sergio has apologised to the players and we move on."
The feeling among our officials is that Garcia did enough damage to his reputation with this latest episode and the harm done to his image is punishment enough.
But this is a player who has form. The Spanish star spat in a hole at Doral in 2007, threw a shoe in anger at Wentworth in 1999 and racially insulted Tiger Woods at a tour dinner in 2013 by saying he would serve him "fried chicken".
But since winning the Masters two years ago with a notably serene, composed display at Augusta - along with becoming a husband and father - it was believed Garcia had outgrown such behaviour.
This, though, was a return to the bad old days for someone who is also blessed with a charismatic charm that has made him one of Europe's most popular players.
And this latest meltdown begs the question, what does a golfer have to do to earn a playing suspension? How bad do you have to be?
The Tour's inaction, beyond disqualifying him, shows how difficult it is to hand out a ban especially to a marquee name.
After all, which European Tour sponsor would tolerate being told that a player of Garcia's stature - Europe's leading Ryder Cup points scorer - is unavailable for their tournament?
How do you transfer a ban to the other side of the pond? If a player has the option to play the PGA Tour instead then that is what any suspended golfer would do, providing it is not a global sanction for a doping offence.
And so this shameful episode ends with a simple quote of contrition. "I am not proud of what happened this week," said the winner of 29 tournaments worldwide.
"We are all human, and we all make mistakes. The biggest mistake is not learning from your mistakes."
It was a weird week for golf. How much reputational damage was done to the European Tour and its players in Saudi Arabia for allowing their product to showcase such a contentious country?
And why did so few people turn up to watch a field containing four of the world's top five players? The inaugural and lavish Saudi International was most certainly not funded by gate receipts.
Meanwhile it was the usual bumper attendance for the boozy and vibrant Phoenix Open in the States, better known as 'The Wasted'.
But despite its reputation, this was an event with an environmental dimension. Fans were encouraged to wear green last Saturday as organisers boasted of how this was the largest "zero waste" event in the world.
A good weekend, therefore, for golf's two biggest names - Woods and Jack Nicklaus - to steal some of the Phoenix Open's thunder by having a game elsewhere with President Donald Trump. Or maybe not.
You could hardly make it up, especially when you consider that golf's governing bodies are now at loggerheads over the increasingly controversial rule changes over caddies lining up their players. Such is the level of player fury, new rulebooks could soon be heading for the recycling bin.
And then there was Fowler's victory which included suffering a penalty for going into a water hazard despite not hitting his ball into it.
Yes, here was cause for a serious meltdown. Comfortably ahead with eight holes to play, his third shot to the 11th ran into the water at the rear of the green.
Fowler dropped under penalty and while surveying his next shot his ball tumbled back into the drink of its own volition. This led to another stroke being added to his score for the next drop from the penalty area.
Then he commendably got up and down for a triple-bogey seven. Moments later, in an event where he has squandered winning positions before and with his close family watching, Fowler's lead was gone and he trailed Branden Grace.
So it was with real guts and composure that he carved out two late birdies to sneak this much needed win that had cruelly looked like escaping him down the stretch.
That is how to behave on a golf course if you want to sell the sport. Like I say, Sergio should take note.
I'll be debating these issues in more depth on The Cut podcast with Andrew Cotter and the recently retired six-time European Tour winner Simon Dyson. It will be available to download on Wednesday.