Sources Sabbatini in trouble with Tour

By Doug FergusonMay 5, 2011, 1:38 am

Wells Fargo ChampionshipCHARLOTTE, N.C. – Rory Sabbatini could face suspension from the PGA Tour for what was described as a profanity-laced argument with Sean O’Hair during last week’s Zurich Classic in New Orleans.

According to multiple players and officials, it was the second time this year that Sabbatini has run into trouble because of his behavior on the golf course. The first incident was at Riviera in the Northern Trust Open, where Sabbatini was said to have spoken harshly to a teenage volunteer who was trying to help him find a lost ball.

The players and officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the Tour keeps all disciplinary matters private.

O’Hair also was in Sabbatini’s group at Riviera. Two people familiar with the incident said the volunteer wrote a five-page letter to the PGA Tour, but Sabbatini escaped punishment by offering to apologize to anyone he offended.

Sabbatini won two weeks later at the Honda Classic.

Stewart Cink also played in the group with O’Hair and Sabbatini at Riviera.

“It was raining. It was hard. We were all stressed trying to make the cut, and I think we might have been behind,” Cink said Wednesday. “There were a lot of factors. And then the incident happened.”

Cink didn’t go into details and said it involved “another player in my group,” without mentioning Sabbatini by name.

“It was embarrassing for me as a golfer,” Cink said. “He did apologize directly to me. I hope he meant it and he moved on.”

Two people with direct knowledge of the Riviera incident said the teenager placed an empty plastic bottle on foot-high grass right of the fifth green where he thought Sabbatini hit his ball. Sabbatini is said to have berated the youth for affecting his ball, although it turned out the ball was not his. The grass was so dense that three other balls were found, none belonging to Sabbatini.

PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw would in an email state that the Tour was aware of what happened in New Orleans, and that it had responded to the Riviera matter.

“We don’t discuss disciplinary matters,” Votaw said.

Two officials said Sabbatini hasn’t been suspended and that he has 14 days to appeal any discipline. He is playing in the Wells Fargo Championship this week and is expected to play next week at The Players Championship.

Another official said a 30-day suspension would be typical in this case, although he did not know how it would be resolved.

Asked by reporters for comment, 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?”

Asked if the Tour was going to suspend him, he replied, “You’re going based on rumors. How many times do I have to tell you?”

O’Hair, who has missed his last five cuts on Tour, withdrew from the tournament Monday. He recently fired his second caddie in four months, and split with swing coach Sean Foley earlier in the week. He could not immediately be reached for comment.

It was not clear what triggered the argument between Sabbatini and O’Hair on the 14th hole at the TPC Louisiana last week. Both players missed the cut. Pat Perez was the third player in the group, and when contacted Tuesday evening by The Associated Press, he said, “I can’t really say anything. The Tour has asked me not to talk about it.”

Two other players who were near Sabbatini’s group in New Orleans said the argument became so heated that Steve Lucas – O’Hair’s father-in-law and caddie – stepped in to keep the dispute from getting physical. Lucas is a college basketball referee.

A voice message left for Lucas was not returned.

Player confrontations in golf are not uncommon, although they typically are handled privately between players in the locker room or the scoring trailer after the round. What made this unusual is that it happened during the round.

Not so unusual is that it involved Sabbatini, a spunky South African with six career wins.

Sabbatini showed a quick temper in 2005 at the Booz Allen Classic when he became so frustrated with Ben Crane’s pace of play that he played ahead on the 17th hole and walked to the 18th tee as Crane was still in the fairway.

There was a buzz about Sabbatini at Quail Hollow on Wednesday, unrelated to the allegations from the previous tournaments.

Sabbatini’s wife, Amy, walked with him in the fairway while pushing their infant son in a stroller during a practice round, according to two players who saw it.

If he is suspended, it would come at a pivotal time for Sabbatini. The two tournaments that follow The Players Championship are in the Dallas area, where Sabbatini lives – Colonial and the Byron Nelson Championship. Sabbatini is a past champion at both events.

Sabbatini is No. 58 in the world and not yet exempt for the U.S. Open. He would have until the Colonial to get into the top 50 and avoid having to qualify.

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.



It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.



Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.



Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.



Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.



After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.



Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.


Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.