LIV Golf’s Sergio Garcia falls short of The Open, frustrated by slow play warning

Sergio Garcia has failed to qualify for The Open Championship.

The LIV Golf star headlined the final qualifying event at West Lancashire Golf Club in Liverpool—one of four final qualifiers across the United Kingdom—but Garcia shot a 3-under 141 over 36 holes, missing out on one of the four spots available by two strokes.

“I tried my hardest to get into The Open; it would have been nice to make The Open my 100th major,” Garcia said on the radio broadcast after his round.

“I love The Open, and I love playing majors. But it’s tough when you’re that close and finish right on the edge. But unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it.”

Garcia attempted to qualify for last year’s Open Championship at Royal Liverpool by way of West Lancashire Golf Club as well. But he said the course played tougher this year, thanks to more challenging conditions. That said, Garcia felt comfortable making his way around these seaside links, thanks to his experience from a year ago. He knew his lines and where to miss shots, but the conditions—and other factors seemed to have got the best of him.

The Spaniard expressed frustration midway through his first 18 holes, when R&A officials put Garcia on the clock for slow play, per Ben Parsons of Bunkered.

Garcia said that all the fans following him disrupted the pace of play, not his routine and deliberations.

“The marshals were trying to do the best job they could do, but obviously, we had to stop pretty much on every tee for two to three minutes to hit our tee shots because people were walking in front of the tee and on the fairway,” Garcia said per Parsons.

“Unless we wanted to start hitting people, we couldn’t hit. I don’t think they took that into account, and that was unfortunate. It made us rush. On a day like today, when the conditions are so tricky, and you might need a little bit of extra time here and there, it doesn’t help out. Because of that, I made a couple of bogeys that might cost me getting to Troon.”

He tied for fifth at the 2016 Open Championship, the last time Royal Troon hosted golf’s oldest major. That year, Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson staged a duel for the ages, with the Swede fending off the American during an epic final round that saw Stenson win by three at 20-under-par. Stenson’s score of 264 remains the lowest aggregate score in Open history.

As for Garcia, the Spaniard could only make it back to Royal Troon via qualifying because of his LIV Golf affiliation, which has consequently plummeted his Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) to 312th in the world. The R&A invites only the top 50 players to round out its 156-man field, meaning Garcia did not receive an automatic bid.

His exemption into this championship expired in 2022—five years after he won The Masters.

“You come out here, you play as hard as you can and hope it’s good enough,” Garcia added on the radio broadcast.

“If it’s not, then we’ll keep trying. Then, you know, The Masters will be my 100th major next April. That’s also a good choice.”

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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