Sergio Garcia accepted he “screwed it up” after letting his emotions get the better of him in a loss to Matt Kuchar at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
Garcia, the 2017 Masters champion, narrowly missed a putt on the seventh green and Kuchar was ready to concede with the ball just a few inches from the cup, but the Spaniard had quickly followed up and swiped a rushed attempt around the lip.
It all happened too soon for Kuchar to have formally conceded which led Garcia to lose the hole and fall two behind in their quarter-final.
“It’s quite simple. I screwed it up, it’s as simple as that,” Garcia said after his round.
“Obviously I missed my putt and I kind of tapped it with the back of my putter before he said anything. Yeah, it’s a loss of hole. I understand that. The only issue that it was, was that [Kuchar] was like, I didn’t see it good, but I don’t want to take the hole. I don’t want to do this like this.”
Garcia added: “So I was like okay, it’s fine, what do you want to do? Because there are many options that you can do if you don’t want to take the hole, even though I’ve already lost that hole. But obviously he didn’t like any of the options that were there.
“It’s fine. At the end of the day, I’m the one that made the mistake.”
Matt Kuchar did not have a chance to concede Sergio Garcia’s second putt.
Therefore, Garcia lost the hole.
Kuchar told the official he wanted to give Garcia the putt, but that cannot be done retroactively. pic.twitter.com/AJFF8N5J7h
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 30, 2019
Despite Garcia initially narrowing the gap with a strong finish, which included three birdies from the 13th to the 16th holes, Kuchar eventually won 2up.
Kuchar had his own reaction of what happened at the hole, where he carded a bogey.
“I kind of made a mess of things with the hole,” he said, “[I] ended up making about a 15-footer for a bogey. Sergio had about a 10-footer, I think, for par. I made my putt, walked to the back of the green. Sergio I saw missed it and as I looked up again, I saw he had missed the next one.
“I saw him off the green, I said, ‘Sergio, I didn’t say anything, I’m not sure how this works out.’ I didn’t want that to be an issue. So I asked [PGA Tour rules official] Robby Ware, I said, ‘Listen, I don’t know how to handle this, but I didn’t concede the putt, Sergio missed the putt.’ Sergio said [it was] totally his mistake. He knew he made a mistake. I said, ‘I didn’t want that to be how a hole was won or lost.’
“It’s not a – certainly I don’t use any gamesmanship, it’s not a match-play tactic, it’s not anything. It was just one of those mistakes that Sergio made. And I said it’s kind of one of those tough deals in the game of golf.”