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Sabbo in hot water with tour again

Posted on: May 4, 2011 4:08 pm
Edited on: May 4, 2011 6:59 pm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- This time, it looks like Rory Sabbatini has burned his last get-out-of-jail-free card.

The colorful South African star last week was involved in his second on-course incident this year when he engaged in a public argument with another player, just weeks after he was put on a short leash by PGA Tour administrators for a similar outburst in Los Angeles.

As a result, he is facing an almost certain suspension in the near future, a tour official familiar with both incidents who spoke on condition of anonymity said Wednesday at the Wells Fargo Championship.

Sabbatini, a six-time tour winner who sometimes wrestles to keep his emotions in check, last week got into an argument on the course at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans with playing partner Sean O'Hair, who was also his playing partner earlier in the year when Sabbatini went ballistic at Riviera Country Club in L.A.

Sabbatini, after completing his pro-am round Wednesday evening, shrugged off any suggestion that he's in dutch with officials and dismissed it as a crazy rumor.

"Well, I am playing this week so I wouldn't worry about it too much, OK, guys?" he said. "That's what it is, it's a rumor."

At Riviera, Sabbatini berated a Shotlink volunteer who tried to come to the player's aid on the fifth hole after the South African hit a shot into some deep rough. The volunteer left the Shotlink tower, found a ball in the calf-high rough, and marked its location with a beverage container.

When Sabbatini arrived, he lost his temper and screamed at the volunteer, claiming the ball had been pushed deeper into the rough as a result of the bottle being placed in close proximity. According to caddie Frank Williams, who works for Stewart Cink, the third member of the group, Sabbatini had a complete meltdown.

"It was as bad as I have ever seen," Williams told a few weeks after the incident.

A witness said Sabbatini ultimately removed his belt and threw it to the ground in disgust. According to the tour source familiar with the incident, Sabbatini was initially suspended for the Riviera behavior, but volunteered to a complete a list of stipulations in order to escape the penalty. Included was writing a formal letter of apology to the Shotlink volunteer.

The tour eventually rescinded the suspension and he didn't miss any starts. Sabbatini acknowledged to in March that he was out of line and working on his temper issues, had agreed to pen the apology and that even his wife was furious at him, but because no suspension was meted out, he continued to play and the incident went largely unnoticed.

As the Riviera incident was being considered by the tour, Sabbatini won the Honda Classic in early March. The particulars of the New Orleans outburst remain hazy, including what precipitated it and whether it was related to the Riviera incident.

Pointedly asked after the pro-am if he was facing a suspension or under scrutiny, Sabbatini was equal parts defiant and testy.

"No, that is just all rumor, bud," he said. "You are going based on a rumor. How many times do I have to tell you?"

Pat Perez, the third player in the group in New Orleans, on Wednesday repeatedly declined to describe the altercation, which took place in a tee box during the second round.

"I am not going to be the guy on the front page," Perez said Wednesday at the tournament site. "It's for us to sort out."

The process has already begun, apparently. Andy Pazder, the tour’s No. 2 man and the czar of discipline, was seen speaking with Sabbatini on Tuesday on the Quail Hollow Club grounds, according to one report.

O'Hair, the 2009 tournament winner at Quail Hollow, withdrew from the tournament on Monday, though the tour source said it was for personal reasons and unrelated to the Sabbatini incident. Given O'Hair's even, low-key disposition, a suspension seems unlikely.

"[He] wasn't suspended and doesn't care to comment," O'Hair's agent, Jon Wagner, said in an email.

As has always been the case, tour communications chief Ty Votaw declined to comment on any pending disciplinary issues or confirm that the matter was under review.

According to the PGA Tour's handbook, players have two weeks from the time they’re notified of the punishment to respond with “facts or evidence of mitigating circumstances.” However, Sabbatini's circumstances are a little more complicated given his probationary status of sorts.

Given that Sabbatini, 35, was playing on a zero-tolerance leash because of his previous behavior, a suspension with little possibility of appeal was all but certain, the tour source predicted.

If the tour sticks to its two-week appeals window, that means Sabbatini could be benched during the Byron Nelson and Colonial events, tournaments he has won over the past four seasons. He lives in Fort Worth, Tex.

Category: Golf

Since: May 12, 2011
Posted on: May 12, 2011 5:04 pm

Sabbo in hot water with tour again

RS makes me embarrassed tobe South African

Since: May 8, 2011
Posted on: May 8, 2011 10:40 pm

Sabbo in hot water with tour again

I remember a few years ago Rory got all worked up about the pace of play of his playing partner, Ben Crane (an incredibly calm, nice guy).  On the 17th hole Rory hit his approach shot into the green, but instead of waiting for Crane to hit, he went ahead and walked up to his ball, marked it, and stood literally 10 feet behind the pin while Crane stood 150yds back in the fairway and hit his approach shot.  Then, while Crane was walking up to the green, Rory pulled the pin, putted out, replaced the pin, and walked off to the next tee - all before Crane even reached the green... The entire gallery on 17 and 18 boo'd him incessantly, even the announcers were totally dumb-founded.  After they finished the 18th hole he walked right past Crane, without even slowing down or looking him in the eyes and just kinda barely touched his hand when Crane reached out to shake hands.  And if that wasn't enough - what's even worse, they were paired together the next day, and Rory's wonderful wife was following him during his round, and she actually wore a t-shirt that she had custom-made, that said in big letters "Keep Up!".  You can't get any more classless than that. 

It's obvious that these aren't just isolated incidents - but the norm for this guy.  I'm sure that nearly every playing partner he's had has witnessed something familiar.  It's clear that warnings, suspensions and fines just don't get through to him, so there has to be a point where the PGA Tour just has to take his card away for a whole year, and make it clear that if/when he is allowed back that the next offense will be a lifetime ban from the tour.  In any other workplace where an employee behaved in this fashion after numerous warnings and disciplinary actions he would have already been fired. 

Since: Mar 30, 2011
Posted on: May 6, 2011 11:12 am

Sabbo in hot water with tour again

Some years back I attended the Memorial at Jack's place and I was sitting at the beautiful par 5 11Th. It was the 4th Round and R. Sab. was well down on the leaderboard. He hit his layup shot too far and & nestled down in the thick rough. He then hit a wedge to the green that  was a poor shot. After his swing he threw his wedge at his caddie baton style & verbally berated him for giving him bad yardage. I have disliked Spoiled Rory ever since!

Since: Sep 1, 2006
Posted on: May 5, 2011 12:57 am

Sabbo in hot water with tour again

He "Is" and "Has" always been the biggest Jerkoff on the tour.These 2 incidents are not the first for Rory..He's had meltdowns many times before, while playing in a tournament, with other players for such things as playing too slow.He's just a jerkoff.It's a shame too..He should be one of the happiest go luck guys for even getting a chance to play on the tour.Suspend his butt for a month until he straightens up!!

Since: Feb 15, 2008
Posted on: May 4, 2011 8:59 pm

Sabbo in hot water with tour again

I bet his wife has kept a pet mouse ot two under her eye, if that's how he'll behave in public.

Since: Mar 6, 2011
Posted on: May 4, 2011 6:56 pm

Sabbo in hot water with tour again

Don't dispute that he's an egotistical pompous jerk but until we have the information on what this second incindent consisted of I think we should back off commentary on Rory in this case. Let the truth come out then we rip Rory a new one.

Since: Sep 30, 2009
Posted on: May 4, 2011 6:31 pm

Sabbo in hot water with tour again

What a jerk...and to draw O'Hair into a heated argument, you must have really gone ballistic Rory.  ( Riveria: who takes off their belt and throws it to the ground when angry?)

Since: Jul 8, 2009
Posted on: May 4, 2011 6:10 pm

Sabbo in hot water with tour again

I was just arriving at a local qualifying for the US Open years ago. RS was still playing in college. I literally had to jump out of the way to keep from getting hit by his car as he drove away. It wasn't like he was preoccupied with his phone or anything...we looked at each other as he came towards me and he didn't give one rats arse about anyone but that it was his car, his parking lot and how dare anyone be in his way or slow him down. 
Anger issues...perhaps. Somewhat of a mean spirited person...I would say yes. 
It is too bad he cannot comprehend how lucky he is to be doing what he does. The story about the volunteer is amazing. These volunteers spend hours to help the events go. Rory...take a chill pill.

Since: Dec 19, 2006
Posted on: May 4, 2011 6:01 pm

Sabbo in hot water with tour again

What a loser this guy is. Grow up.

Since: Oct 9, 2007
Posted on: May 4, 2011 5:41 pm

Sabbo in hot water with tour again

Missing the Texas 2-Step with the Byron Nelson and the Colonial seems fitting since he lives in Texas.

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