Monday, December 17, 2007

Rory, You're an Idiot

Rory Sabbatini became the first player to withdraw in the 9 year history of the Target World Challenge on Sunday morning. The PGA Tour officials at the event cited "personal reasons" for the WD, but Sabbatini's agent later claimed that the South African was leaving because of "shin splints."

That's all bulls**t, though. AP's Doug Ferguson explains:

A locker room attendant, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release information, said Sabbatini cleaned out his locker Saturday afternoon and gave away sweaters and shoes. He told them he was headed to Maui, where he spends his Christmas vacation.
Not that it was bad enough, but, Ferguson goes on to report that tournament officials were not informed of the WD until 8:30am on Sunday. What's worse is that Tiger even knew Rory has cleared his locker on Saturday afternoon!
"I've heard he had shin splints," Woods said. "I heard he pulled out for personal reason. He packed his locker up at 3 o'clock yesterday, I think headed to Hawaii. A lot of different things going on. And I'd like to try and get to the bottom of it when I'm done here, and we'll see what happens." Later, he was asked if he minded that Sabbatini left, and a cold stare spoke volumes.
Sabbatini stands to make $170,000 for finishing dead last in the 16 player field. He qualified for the event by virtue of being 11th in the Official World Golf Rankings. Thus, Tiger did not personally invite him to appear.

The other players in the field had mixed, but equally baffled, reactions to Sabbatini. Fred Couples called on Rory to donate all of his last place prize money to the Woods Foundation. Mark Calcavecchia said that he did not think the fans missed Rory.

And Open Champion Padraig Harrington wondered aloud:
"Is there anything you can say about it?" After a long pause, he added, "I don't think there is." Then came another long pause. "It's Christmas."
I've defended Rory's antics in the past. I said it was refreshing when he called out Woods because so many of his peers are afraid to do so for fear of reprisal (which Rory has received in spades on the course). I thought it was a bold statement for Sabbatini to walk ahead of Ben Crane at Congressional just a few years ago because of slow play.

This, though, is impossible to defend. Rory was in dead last and getting waxed by over 20 shots by the world number one. I'm sure the situation was not lost on Sabbatini. Rather than subjecting his statistics to that kind of trouncing, Rory decided to start his Christmas a little early, rip off the Tour, and anger Tiger Woods...more so.

Sabbatini simply cannot be this dumb. The message he sends is one that is way more frustrating that simply being different and outspoken. He has crossed the line here. And do not think that this will not impact his sponsor invitations to global events and the amount he can pull in for appearance fees. Tiger has global pull and he can make that kind of impact on Sabbatini (or any pro).

As Fred Couples so aptly put, "(Rory) is messing with the wrong guy."

1 comment:

Bill-DC said...

The late singer Jim Croce said it best. "You don't tug on Superman's cape, spit into the wind or pull the mask off the Lone Ranger". This year Rory tried to do all three. Guess I can put him down for a no when it comes to him getting an invite to Tiger's AT&T Invitational here in DC next July.