September 15, 2009

Just Deserts For The Man With An Alligator Mouth And a Hummingbird's Tail Feathers

Some people seem to have congenital Cranial-Rectal Inversion Syndrome, a sadly less than rare condition in which every time they open their mouths they seem to stick their head straight into their own rear end. In short, they are "The Jerk." When people first encounter them, they ask themselves "what the heck is wrong with this guy?" Later, when the behavior pattern inevitably repeats itself, they mutter "what a jerk!" After that, they rarely listen.

Golfer Rory Sabbatini seems to be determined to be the poster-boy for the afflication. Last week, Sabbatini was at it again. At the BMW Championship, Sabbatini went into a diatribe about missing the President's Cup team, where he couched the situation in his feeling slighted because no one called to tell him that he was not going to make the team.

This caused a few ripples around the golf world for about, well, fifteen minutes. That said, golf fans sighed collectively sighed and wondered if Tiger would use three-wood or driver on his next hole.

If Sabbatini was trying to make International captain Greg Norman look bad, he failed. If he was trying to re-position himself as golf's anti-hero, well, he failed in that regard too. Sabbatini has drained that well far past dry, and anything he says that is intended to stir controversy barely lasts a news cycle.

With Sabbatini, we've heard it all before and will almost certainly will hear it all again. Like the little boy who cried wolf, no one much listens to Rory these days. As Frank Nobilo, a co-captain of the International Team said from behind his desk at Golf Channel, "There are two sides to every story." Nobilo, a well liked commentator, added that Sabbatini would eventually get his phone call.

Truth is, a lot of PGA Tour members never got a call from either Greg Norman or US Captain Fred Couples. None made any headlines about it, and if they had a problem with feeling slighted, they handled it privately.

With Rory, It's All Happened Before, And (Sigh) Will Happen Again

You might remember that Sabbatini also made waves following the 2007 Wachovia Championship in Charlotte when he was the third round leader and then gave up five strokes to Tiger Woods to lose the tournament on Sunday. Inexplicably he proclaimed that Woods was "more beatable than ever." Since then, Rory has one once. Woods, two majors, and a couple of handfuls of wins, despite being out for months thanks to major knee surgery. If Tiger is more beatable than ever, it certainly isn't Sabbatini that's doing it, then or now.

Sabbatini's animus towards the World's #1 didn't get left behind in Charlotte. Later in 2007, during the final round of the Bridgestone Invitational he had a fan removed who heckled him with a question about Tiger Woods. Steve Banky, the fan in question, asked Sabbatini if he still thought Woods was beatable. Sabbatini took exception and had Banky thrown off of the course. "I figured he was talking a better game than he was playing,'' said Banky in a article. "I wasn't trying to dog him. At the press conference he had, he said Tiger was beatable. I just called him on it.''

In the press conference following that particular round, Sabbatini addressed the situation by saying, "we're out here to do our job - let us do our job. Have a little bit of decorum, a little bit of class out there. " This is something that apparently only applies to fans, as Sabbatini has repeatedly shown. Granted, Steve Banky probably should never have called out Sabbatini, but Sabbatini should have known well that he couldn't possibly win in the eyes of public after his remarks in Charlotte largely resulted in him being pilloried by not only the press but also by golf fans generally. At the Bridgestone, he only added fuel to the fire of fan dislike towards him.

Then, in December of the same year, more controversy was stirred when he withdrew from the final round of the Target World Challenge, an off-season event hosted by Tiger Woods. He cited "personal reasons," but once again Sabbatini failed to recognize that he would not be the winner in the public eye. That's because he was dead last going into that final round. He still collected a $170,000 check.

Of Sabbatinis behavior at the Target, Woods said in a USA Today article

"I've heard he had shin splints. I heard he pulled out for personal reasons. He packed his locker up at 3 o'clock yesterday, I think headed to Hawaii. A lot of different things going on. And I'd like to try and get to the bottom of it when I'm done here, and we'll see what happens."

Later, he was asked if he minded that Sabbatini left, and a cold stare spoke volumes.

While Sabbatini had no chance of winning the prestigious sixteen man event (chosen on the basis of world rankings) he did repeat as winner of Goat of the Month in not only fan's eyes, but also in those of his peers. Fred Couples said that Sabbatini should turn his "winnings" back into the foundation that hosted the event. Mark Calcavecchia was more direct, saying that the situation was "Rory being Rory. I think I could have toughed out one more round," Calcavecchia said. "I don't think the fans missed him."

Nor will fans likely miss Sabbatini in Atlanta next week at the Tour Championship.

As for the International Team for the President's Cup, Norman will almost certainly enjoy the quiet that will come with Sabbatini's absence. It's doubtful fans will bother to miss him there, either.

Those are the spoils of a man whose alligator mouth constantly overloads his hummingbird, err, tail feathers.


  1. CB, you should put a nice picture frame around Mr. "Cranial-Rectal Inversion Syndrome" and award a weekly "The Jerk" award.

    Of course, you will also need a picture of a female 'C-RIS' if Serena continues on her rant. But, the list of recipients is seemingly endless if you exclude golfers: Kanye West, Michael Jordan, Serena Williams.

  2. I won't sob a teeny bit.

    (Remedial class: Say the middle part fast.)

  3. CB, ya might wanna delete an S in desserts in your headline (a common misspelling) and add a G to Hummingbird. (I only mention these cuz it's the headline.)


Have something to say? We'd love to hear it.