Sunday, December 16, 2007

2007's Most Irritating Professional Athlete

No doubt about it: "Professional" golfer Rory Sabbatini

While watching the Tiger Woods Target World Challenge today I heard that Rory withdrew today because of "personal reasons". This is an event that Tiger Woods hosts at the conclusion of the PGA Tour season in which 16 top players compete and his charity, the Tiger Woods Foundation benefits. Tiger and his Father Earl started this event nine years ago.

Sabbatini is the first player in the history of this event to withdraw. Personal reasons or the fact he was in last place headed into the final round, 28 shots behind Tiger?

He still received $170,000. "He should give that back to the Foundation," Fred Couples said. "He's messing with the wrong guy."

Sabbatini cleaned out his locker Saturday afternoon and told reporters he was headed to Maui, where he spends his Christmas vacation.

His agent later reported Sabbatini told him he withdrew because of shin splints.

Why is he this blog's Most Irritating Athlete of 2007? Read on.

Woods, who won the tournament for the 4th time by seven shots today, shook his head when asked about Sabbatini on his way to the practice range before the start of the final round.

Sabbatini qualified for the 16-man field thanks to his world ranking, which now is at No. 11. If getting into this tournament were a popularity vote, the only way he sees this golf course is if he bought a ticket. 2007 is the year he will be remembered for calling out Woods.

They played in the final round at the Wachovia Championship in Charlotte, NC this Summer. Woods overcame a one-shot deficit to win. Sabbatini, who had said he wanted Woods in the final group at that tournament, said that Woods looked as "beatable as ever."

Woods responded by saying he had three victories in 2007 at that point, "the same amount he's won in his career." Woods won eight times in 2007, including his 13th major title, the PGA Championship.

So later in the Summer they were paired again in the final round at the Bridgestone Invitational, and Sabbatini said it would be a rubber match. According to Rory, Woods beat him at Wachovia, but Sabbatini said he outscored him in the final round of the 1996 NCAA Championship, where Woods had an eight-shot lead going into the last round and won the title by three shots in his last year at Stanford. Um, ok.

At the Bridgestome Invitational, Woods turned a one-shot deficit into an eight shot victory. Game over and you'd think Rory learned his lesson? Apparently not.

Mark Calcavecchia wrote today off as "Rory being Rory."

"I think I could have toughed out one more round," Calcavecchia said. "I don't think the fans missed him."

To borrow a line from the late singer Jim Croce, you don't tug on Superman's cape, spit in the wind or pull the mask off the Lone Ranger. Sabbatini did all that and more this year. That's why he's my Most Irritating Professional Athlete of 2007. Congrats Rory. I'd give you your MIPA personally if you were to get an invite from Tiger for next year's AT&T National at Congressional Country Club but somehow I doubt an invitation will be coming your way.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sabatini has always been an ass. I hope he loses everything he plays in. Bye bye misfit.