These are the misdeeds that could put a golfer back on the course.
It is arguably one of golf’s greatest stories that, on his way to winning the 2016 Masters, Sergio Garcia had the FBI, the SEC and the USGA investigate him after an incident on the eve of the Masters.
A group of friends went out for a night out in Palm Beach, Florida, shortly before the Masters, and it appears something happened that got everyone up and running.
It was deemed legal because they were with a PGA employee who had no opinion on who was involved, and there was no suggestion of illegal activity.
The next morning, the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrived at Garcia’s home in Florida to collect copies of his phone, but the 34-year-old golf champion was actually in Naples, Florida, along with 10 friends.
The group was given the impression they could see Garcia for the next few hours and would stay in a big house in the tony Golf Colony community where each member was given a set of golf clubs.
After a very private dinner, Garcia went to sleep, and a picture was taken showing the Pro-Golfer asleep in a bed wearing nothing but his golf shoes and a t-shirt.
The photographer, the man the FBI were looking for, was among the group, so it was a very simple case.
The next morning, before the official inquiry from Garcia and his manager, there was a meeting, and the idea came to them that they needed to use special immunity to cover up their involvement.
Whilst the group were being fed the details of how exactly the FBI could be involved, the owner of the villa — a well-known world-famous celebrity investor — was there to introduce himself and introduce a number of people from his company to the FBI and golf authorities.
The cocaine was discussed and an offering was made, but Garcia explained it wouldn’t be his problem.
He knew he had crossed the line with his indiscretion on the night before the Masters. It was the wrong time for him, the wrong place and the wrong company, and he got a proper punishment and deserved one.
Garcia won the Masters by five shots that year, and has won three more worldwide titles since.
Alba, a golfer himself, has written about the details of Sergio’s night out in his autobiography, “La Ciudad Oeste”, where the Argentine reveals the FBI were called in to assist, and former world number one Jose Maria Olazabal joined them at a party after a host of golfers in Florida that night were allegedly inhaling cocaine from balloons.
“I chose the safest place I knew in this crazy world,” he said. “I chose the tennis courts of Palm Beach. I chose the smooth blue blue against the most glorious sky I’ve ever seen. In those special moments I felt nothing. I was safe.”
While this cocaine-fueled story is a familiar topic in golf and even in tennis, Alba has now broken from the norm by revealing it is really just the tip of the iceberg in what is an incredibly complex and cynical world of professional golf.
“The real story is much, much bigger than the story that is covered up. The story is at the heart of my book,” he told a press conference.
“The world is suspicious of tennis players and athletes, at least in the US, and they’re even more suspicious of athletes. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with drugs… but this story is different.”
The other thing that sets this story apart is that few people know about what happened at the hotel that night.
“People I trusted, people I wanted to be on the same page with, and yet they told the truth.”
It will be fascinating to see what day Garcia decides to offer an apology.
Alba does so in his book.
Alba is a freelance sports writer and columnist.
For more from the Eternal Masters, check out “Good Morning, Goodwood” on Fox News Insider
Golf Scoop: Sergio Garcia reveals undercover FBI probe, Nike contract, scandal