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Notes Sabbatini Helping Troops Through Pets

PGA Tour (75x100)KAPALUA, Hawaii -- Rory Sabbatini is expanding his support of U.S. troops by giving new meaning to dog tags.

Sabbatini, a South African native who is married to an American, has been involved the last two years in a program called 'Birdies for the Brave,' donating money for every birdie he makes on the PGA TOUR.

Now, he has hooked up with Banfield, The Pet Hospital, to raise money for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, which supports U.S. soldiers and their families who have been affected by military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

People can buy pet tags for $2 at Banfield hospitals and TPC courses around the country, with all proceeds going to the fund.

'Everybody gets attached to their pets,' Sabbatini said. 'We thought a feel-good issue with pets, try to raise some money and awareness, and expand it further for the families of the Intrepid Heroes Fund.'

Given the minimal cost and affection for their pets, Banfield executive vice president John Payne expects to be able to raise about $500,000 for the troops. Banfield is a privately owned veterinary practice that has more than 600 locations in the United States, the United Kingdom and Mexico. He said 70,000 people come through their clinics each week.

Sabbatini also will have a logo of the 'dog tags' program on his golf bag.

He has two miniature Dachshunds, Chloe and Zoe, and thinks so highly of them that Sabbatini had their names stitched onto his head covers a few years ago, with his son's name (Hartley) on the other.

'My daughter didn't even make it into there,' he said. 'They're part of our family. It's really a great way to expand on trying to get people involved in supporting the troops. Two dollars for most people ... they go into a pet hospital and see this, and it's kind of like the Lance Armstrong bracelet for cancer.'

Geoff Ogilvy's father was at a golfer tournament where Judy Rankin was working as a reporter when he introduced himself. Little did he know that his son would join Rankin's family in a roundabout way.

Ogilvy's wife is Juli, whose sister's husband is Rankin's son.

'Judy's son is my brother-in-law,' Ogilvy said. 'If there is such a thing, she's my aunt-in-law.' Their relationship is close enough that Rankin, a Hall of Famer who later joined ABC Sports, came to the Ogilvy's house for Christmas dinner. He doesn't know much about her career, such as becoming the first women to earn more than $100,000 in a season, but he knows she was a great player.

And she can offer some great advice.

Going into the final round of the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, he was at 3 over par and one shot out of the lead. Rankin left a message with Ogilvy's wife about what to expect on Sunday.

'It was very prophetic in the end,' Ogilvy said. 'She said, 'Everyone always opens the paper on Monday morning and is always very surprised at the score that wins the tournament.''

The winning score was 5-over 285. Ogilvy won after double bogeys on the 18th hole by Phil Mickelson and Colin Montgomerie.


Adam Scott brings his golf clubs, clothes and surf board to Mercedes-Benz Championship. He said the waves have been relatively small this year, which is probably a good thing.

'I've surfed the last two days, and the waves have not been good, and I'm not good,' Scott said.

The Aussie grew up on the beach near Queensland and surfed as a kid, but gave it up when he was 13 to concentrate on golf, then resumed about three years ago when 'I needed something else to do.'

Asked for a handicap in surfing, Scott called himself a 10.

Once the PGA Tour leaves Hawaii, the Champions Tour moves in.

Ben Crenshaw, Raymond Floyd, Gary Player and Lanny Wadkins have accepted sponsor invitations to the season-opening MasterCard Championship on Jan. 19-21 at Hualalai Golf Course on the Big Island.

It will be the first time in six years that Wadkins, a former PGA champion, could concentrate solely on golf. He had been CBS' golf analyst until leaving late last year when Faldo replaced him in the tower.

Swing coach Butch Harmon is wearing the initials 'D.H.' on the back of his cap in honor of his brother, Dick Harmon, who died last year. Dick Harmon's clients included Lanny Wadkins, Lucas Glover and Fred Couples. ... Rich Beem came to Hawaii early, filling in at the pro-am Wednesday for Tiger Woods. He also played in the pro-am at Woods' Target World Challenge three weeks ago. Also spotted at Kapalua was Dudley Hart, in Maui on vacation before next week's tournament in Honolulu.

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