Friday, January 25, 2008

Rory and the Spin Machine

It's Presidential politics season, so the spinners from all campaigns have been out and about in every conceivable fashion to get their candidate elected. Apparently, Rory Sabbatini has a few of those types on retainer. Sabbatini announced yesterday on TGC's Post-Game Show that he was donating that last place prize check from the Target World Challenge that he didn't really earn to charity:

Couples was among those who suggested that Sabbatini donate his $170,000 to the Tiger Woods Foundation, but on Wednesday Sabbatini visited a nearby naval base, where he gave the money to the United Through Reading Foundation. The organization provides a video program for military personnel to keep in touch with their families.

"It's unfortunately one of those things that we seem to forget about and we take for granted out here on the tour," Sabbatini said. "And we were just fortunate that we were able to contribute to it." When asked if he donated the winnings from Woods' event, Sabbatini said: "That is what the situation was. Unfortunately, the media took a lot of criticism towards me after the event, and in that situation I was there, I was tired, and we thought about it and we thought we'd put it to some good use."
So, if everyone hadn't recognized Sabbatini for being completely out of line, not apologizing, allegedly leaving a courtesy car God knows where, and making almost $200K for bailing out, then he wouldn't have made the donation? Maybe not entirely...

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette got an interview with Rory and the story detailed this:

He said he felt bad for Target, the title sponsor, so he has decided to donate the money to Target's United Through Reading program in which disconnected military families are reconnected through tapings of bedtime stories by parents serving in war-zone areas.

Such donations to support the military are nothing new for Sabbatini, a South African native who lives in Dallas. He has helped raised more than $750,000 for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund -- a program that supports wounded U.S. soldiers. Last month, after finishing 10th in the Australian PGA championship, Sabbatini donated his earnings of $40,000 to Australia's Legacy Fund, which cares for spouses and children of deceased veterans in Australia, including families of U.S. soldiers.

Charitable causes appear to be a part of Rory's career, though I still long for the days when giving to charity did not result in a press release. It was made clear in the piece, though, that Rory felt bad for Target. I'm not sure what the implies. Does that mean that he didn't expect to get paid, as he claims in the article? Does it mean that he didn't feel bad for Woods and the embarrassment caused him? I guess we may not find out.

I wonder if this is another in a series of moves that Rory seems to be employing to reinforce to everyone that he will do just what he wants and does not mind annoying the best golfer in the world in the process. Perhaps he thinks the mind games will eventually give him an advantage against Tiger.

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