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Spanish golfer Sergio Garcia has dropped the biggest hint yet that he's on the verge of joining Greg Norman's LIV Golf Invitational series, after an ugly blow-up at the Wells Fargo Championship.
Garcia was left fuming after hooking a wayward drive into the marshes on the 10th hole, before being pinged for an infringement after trying to find his ball in the thick rough.
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The 2017 Masters champion eventually found his ball, but the rules official said he took too long.
The two quibbled over when the clock should have started for Garcia's search, with the Spaniard ending up having to take a drop.
Once the battle was lost, Garcia wasn't exactly subtle with his future plans, specifically how long he would have to continue to deal with PGA Tour rules officials.
"So you're saying I took too long," Garcia questioned the official.
"I can't wait to leave this tour. Can't wait to get out of here, my friend ... Just a couple more weeks, and then I don't have to deal with you anymore."
Despite the drop, Garcia wound up saving par on the 10th and finished the round tied for 17th at 3-under.
While the 42-year-old hasn't officially confirmed that he's signed up for Norman's Saudi-backed rebel golf competition, his comments suggest that it is a done deal.
The LIV Golf Invitational series, which is largely seen as another attempt by Saudi Arabia to use sports to elevate its international profile and distract from its atrocious human rights record, is scheduled to hold its first event in early June at the Centurion Golf Club in London.
The purse will be US$25 million, $10 million more than the 2022 Masters, available for any player willing to do business with the Saudis and potentially break away from the PGA Tour.
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Garcia has been reported to be one of those players, with others reported to be making the leap including Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Bubba Watson.
The UK's Daily Telegraph reported recently that Garcia was “willing to snub the Ryder Cup” so he can play in the lucrative rebel series, whose prize purses dwarf those seen on the PGA Tour and European Tours.
Garcia's involvement in the Liv Golf series could alo see him risk expulsion from the PGA Tour and jeopardise his chances of playing and captaining Europe in the Ryder Cup.
The Spaniard's comments come after Westwood this week confirmed he has requested a release to play in the Centurion event next month.
Robert Garrigus and Phil Mickelson have done the same, even though it's apparently thanks to the latter that a number of big names backed away.
Norman revealed Mickelson's comments about the Super Golf League momentarily derailed the $3 billion breakaway group.
The Aussie golfing legend is the CEO of LIV Golf Invitational Series, formerly known as the Super Golf League, which was reportedly throwing $3 billion towards a breakaway league to compete with the PGA Tour.
However, former World No.1 Mickelson hasn't played on the Tour since sparking outrage in February following publication of his remarks made last year to author Alan Shipnuck concerning the new Saudi-funded venture.
Mickelson described the Saudi financial backers of the proposed league as "scary" with a "horrible record on human rights", but said he was willing to deal with them in order to gain leverage to "reshape" the US PGA Tour
The comments caused widespread criticism prompting Mickelson to later apologise and step away from the PGA Tour, even skipping the Masters at Augusta.
"There's no question (it) hurt. It hurt a lot of aspects," Norman told ESPN about Mickelson's comments.
"It hurt the PGA Tour. It hurt us. It hurt the game of golf. It hurt Phil. So yeah, across all fronts. It wasn't just specifically to us. But it definitely created negative momentum against us."
Norman made the big claim that up to 30 per cent of the World's Top 50 players had agreed to participate in the lucrative league.
However, Mickelson's comments appeared to dissuade many of those players as they all recommitted to the PGA Tour.
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