IN SIX startssince early April, Rory Sabbatini (below) has been one of the hottest playerson Tour, with a tie for second at the Masters and ties for third at the Nelsonand the Wachovia. Still, Sabbatini has received the most attention for whatmany saw as a swipe he took at Tiger Woods. After the two were matched in thefinal round of the Wachovia, which Woods won, the always blunt Sabbatini notedthat Woods had not hit the ball that well, adding that he "liked the newTiger." Told of the comments, Woods quipped that he had won as many eventsthis year (three) as Sabbatini had won in his career.
So after Sabbatiniput a cherry on his sizzling six-start run by winning the Crowne PlazaInvitational at Colonial with a 15-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole,he was looking to have a little fun. "Somebody might let Tiger know heneeds to win another one," Sabbatini said, before quickly adding, "I'mkidding, of course."
Sabbatini, whoshot a 14-under 266 to get into the playoff with Jim Furyk and Bernhard Langer,is used to controversy, as he and his equally feisty wife, Amy, have had publicspats with Paul Casey, Ben Crane and Nick Faldo in the last two years. "I'dprefer to be known as a four-time winner who is getting ready to win somemore," Sabbatini said on Sunday, although it's hard to believe he meant itas he flashed one of his huge belt buckles, showed off one of the 12 bright-redITALIAN STALLION¬†T-shirts that Amy brought out on Sunday and headed off toa Mexican-themed bar, where he planned to shave the head of his caddie, KevinFasbender, fulfilling a bet made earlier this year. In other words, it was justanother boring night with Rory.
• NICK FALDOannounced his assistant captains for the 2008 Ryder Cup, and they were asnotable for who was left out as for who was chosen. Paul McGinley and JoséMaría Olaàbal got the nod, which is a bit odd since each is still playing welland would seem to have a good chance to make the team. Meanwhile, two Cupstalwarts who are considered likely future captains, Sandy Lyle and ColinMontgomerie, were passed over. Faldo would only talk about whom he chose butmay have inadvertently given a clue as to why he skipped his two former rivalswhile simultaneously giving them a jab. "It is very important that theyhave a good rapport with the whole tour," Faldo said of his assistants."They are both well-seasoned players as well as being very well-liked andrespected."
June 3, 2007
• WITH THE BritishOpen returning to Carnoustie, Jean van de Velde has been swamped by interviewrequests--reportedly 300 and counting--so his agent is considering only thosefor which van de Velde will be paid. The price he quoted one American mediaoutlet? A tidy $300,000. That's how you can be a loser and a winner at the sametime.
• SUGGESTED WOODSBABY NAME OF THE WEEK Roar E.
• For AlanShipnuck's Hot List, go to GOLF.com.
Pros who've won $1 million (career) on the Nationwidetour. Paul Claxton reached that total last week.
"They can alienate other players and hurt thetour." --PEPPER MILL, PAGE G14