I’d like to take a moment to thank occasional reader and fellow golf forum member Martee for pointing out THIS STORY to me earlier this evening.
Apparently there’s some sort of history here between Sabbatini and Sean O’Hair, going all the way back to the tour stop at Riviera earlier in the season. Last week at the Zurich Classic, the two were paired up once again and a fairly heated confrontation arose, heated enough that O’Hair’s caddie felt it necessary to step in between the two to settle things down. Players in-the-know have been directed by the PGA Tour to not comment on the situation, as the incident is currently under review by the tour officials. PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw noted the tour’s non-disclosure policy of player disciplinary issues, essentially saying that the issue would be resolved behind closed doors.
O’Hair isn’t exactly the fastest player on tour, but he’s certainly not the slowest player. Yet anyone who doesn’t sprint around the golf course at his preferred pace seems to find himself at odds with Sabbatini as a playing partner, given his history of notable outspoken frustrations with the tour’s pace-of-play. And besides that – he also comes across as a major hothead when he’s not playing well, of which was the case last week in New Orleans. Neither O’Hair or Sabbatini advanced to the weekend. But despite two incidents that have evolved already this season, Sabbatini’s attitude continues to remain unchanged. When asked about the incident last week, Sabbatini said, “Comment on what? Those crazy rumors going around? Well, I’m playing this week, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much, OK guys?” When asked if he felt he might be suspended by the tour for his behavior, he responded, “You’re going based on rumors. How many times do I have to tell you?”
At his victory back at the Honda Classic a few months ago, an emotional Sabbatini spoke afterward about how the birth of his new child and his skin cancer scare had completely changed his outlook on life. He did appear to change, at least for that week. But here we are again several weeks later talking about his ever-increasing temper that has involved not only fellow playing partners on a few occasions, but even more seriously – fans in the gallery. It’s not a reputation that he wants to continue maintaining, nor is it a reputation that the tour can accept. When you become a negative distraction to your playing partners, and then take it upon yourself to confront a fan in the gallery, and then pretend as though nothing is wrong afterward – you have issues.
And Rory Sabbatini, indeed, has issues.