With an exemption for the U.S. Open in his pocket, Rory Sabbatini withdrew from this week’s Memorial Tournament, renewing speculation that he had begun serving a rumored 30-day suspension from the PGA Tour.
Sabbatini, reportedly in hot water with tour officials over two recent tiffs, said he blew off Jack Nicklaus’ event because he no longer needed it to make the Open.
“The only reason I was going to play is because I had to qualify for the Open. Now I don’t have to,” Sabbatini told reporters after missing the cut with a second-round 12-over 82 at last week’s Byron Nelson Championship. “After the way I played today, I definitely know I need some time off.”
With the U.S. and British Opens (USGA and Royal and Ancient events, respectively), the next two contests on Sabbo’s dance card, the hot-headed South African would likely serve his suspension and no one would be the wiser. The PGA Tour famously does not divulge any information about fines, suspensions, or any other types of punishments it may mete out to golfers who flout its policies.
Meanwhile, across the pond, Scottish golfer Elliot Saltman returned from a three-month European Tour ban to can a hole-in-one Thursday at the Wales Open at Celtic Manor. Saltman, bounced in January from the Euro Tour for cheating, watched his ball drop into the cup on the 211-yard 17th hole, according to the U.K.’s Orange sports news. Saltman won a magnum of champagne for his troubles.
The European Tour powers-that-be have no qualms going public with matters such as Saltman’s. News of the hearing that determined his fate was splashed across headlines worldwide.
On the other hand, we’ll likely never know for sure whether Sabbatini got the boot, but he faced potential disciplinary action after verbally abusing a volunteer at the Northern Trust Open in February and almost coming to blows with fellow tour player Sean O’Hair during April’s Zurich Classic. Sabbatini earned his way to Congressional Country Club for the Open’s June 16 start date by climbing into the top 10 of the PGA Tour’s money winners by May 23.