Karl MacGinty reports on Rory's latest brand-building moment.
Yet Rory Sabbatini was the talk of the Target World Challenge as he became the first player in nine years not to finish this end-of-season benefit for Tiger's Foundation. Sabbatini, who irked Woods a couple of times this year with controversial public comments, cleared out his locker on Saturday, saying he was heading for Hawaii, his usual Christmas retreat.
A third round 76 had left him in last place on 10-over and while PGA Tour officials announced he'd withdrawn for "personal reasons", Sabbatini's management later said he had shin splints.
Tiger simply shrugged when asked of Sabbatini's non-appearance but Fred Couples commented: "He (Sabbatini) is messing with the wrong guy."
Sabbatini's entitled to $170,000 for last place but Couples said "he should give that back to the Foundation."
Not our Rory!
** From Thomas Bonk in the L.A. Times:
Woods acknowledged that Sabbatini did not telephone tournament director Greg McLaughlin to tell him he was injured and would not be able to play. Woods rolled his eyes when asked whether he was angry.And this is just beautiful...
"I'd like to try to get to the bottom of it when I'm done here, and we'll see what happens," Woods said.
McLaughlin characterized Sabbatini's absence as disappointing and sad.
"Will he ever be invited to any of our events ever again? Highly unlikely."
Fred Couples was skeptical of the explanation from Sabbatini's agent, Bud Martin, when he said the absence was because of shin splints.
"Of course he did, and Roger Clemens' agent said he didn't do steroids," Couples said. "Until we hear from Roger . . . "
Mark Calcavecchia said Sabbatini was simply being himself.
"I think I could have toughed out one more round. But no big deal. I don't think the fans missed him anyway."