sport

Garcia 'disgusted' by cheat slur

Sergio Garcia said he was "disgusted" to be suspected of cheating after video footage emerged of a possible rules violation in Abu Dhabi.

Garcia was seen tapping down something on the line of his putt on the 18th green, which would have been in breach of the rules if it was a spike mark.

However, the world number 10 explained that it was in fact a pitch mark and European Tour chief referee John Paramor ruled Garcia was in the clear when the pair revisited the 18th green on Friday morning.

"I talked to John and I said I'm pretty sure that it was a pitchmark that I repaired," Garcia said after a second round of 68 saw him make the halfway cut of level par.

"I think the confusion was that I repaired it and then Martin (Kaymer) was going to putt, so I backed away to let him putt. And then what you can see in the video is him putting, hitting it to tap it in and I'm tapping the pitchmark down. I think that's where everybody got confused.

"I went with John this morning to the green to the exact spot where my ball was, we looked at it and obviously you could see the ball mark there where it's supposed to be.

"It does feel quite bad to be related to that word, though, to the word cheating, when you have no proof and when I've never, ever cheated in my whole life. And I've given myself plenty of penalty strokes when nobody saw it and I did."

The incident is the latest in a long line to come to light via television viewers, but Garcia is not against such a process.

"I think the people that say that without having any proof, that's what's wrong," he added.

"If you can really tell, you can really see that it's wrong, that someone has cheated, it's fine, but not if you have no proof at all and you're just guessing what happened.

"Like I said before, being related to that word is the most disgusting thing that can happen to someone, and someone like me that has never, ever cheated."

Coincidentally, England's Simon Dyson returned to action in Abu Dhabi for the first time since being handed a suspended two-month ban from the European Tour for tapping down a spike mark during the BMW Masters in October.

Having reviewed the incident after being alerted to it by television viewers, European Tour officials charged Dyson with a serious breach of the tour's code of behaviour, a charge which was upheld when he appeared before a disciplinary panel at Wentworth in December.

Dyson missed the cut after two rounds of 73.