Sports Outside the Beltway

Golfer Rory Sabbatini gives $170,000 to US military charity

Before we get to that, we have to hear about the Tiger Woods-Rory feud.

The weather at Torrey Pines was unseasonably cold during Thursday’s first round of the Buick Invitational, but things got even chillier in the press room when Rory Sabbatini and Tiger Woods walked past each other after both shot five-under 67s to tie for third place.

No hello. No smile. No handshake. Nothing.

So much for their frosty relationship warming up since Sabbatini angered Woods and other top golfers by pulling out of Woods’ Target World Challenge last month before the final round without talking to a tournament official. Before that, Sabbatini took several verbal jabs at Woods last year, saying the world’s No. 1-ranked player was “as beatable as ever.”

Woods said after Target’s final round he would “get to the bottom” of why Sabbatini withdrew from his tournament, but clearly Woods hasn’t wasted much time worrying about Sabbatini.

“I haven’t talked to him about any of it,” Woods said. “It is what it is.”

Sabbatini also was tight-lipped when asked about his relationship with Woods. “As far as I understand there’s no animosity,” Sabbatini said. “We’re both competitors and we both want to win. That’s the situation.”

Sabbatini’s agent said his client withdrew because he had shin splints, but Sabbatini admitted that wasn’t the case, saying he was “tired.”

Sabbatini at least took a step toward mending his image this week when he donated his Target last-place check of $170,000 to the United Through Reading Foundation, which assists servicemen and women and their families who are in combat overseas.

This isn’t the first time Rory has been generous to US servicemen and their families. Read this news from three years ago.

Dublin, Ohio: If Rory Sabbatini qualifies for the NEC Invitational this year, those in the know won’t disparage his unusual choice of Thursday attire, which is actually a tribute to soldiers in Iraq.

The 29-year-old South African started wearing camouflage pants in February as a tribute to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, which provides aid to families of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

His wife, Amy, read an article about the US government’s poor death benefits and the charity in an airline magazine and called it to his attention.

With Sabbatini donating $US250 ($332) for each birdie and $US1000 for each eagle, the fund jumped by $US1500 after the first round of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club. Sabbatini turned in his best score in camouflage, firing a six-under-par 66 to trail leader Jeff Sluman by one shot.

Rory, who’s South African not American, should be cut more than a little slack. He’s not a saint, Tiger Woods isn’t. They don’t get along, do all players get along on tour? Tiger’s relationships with Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson has been frosty also. Some of Tiger’s conduct has included-

1- A hot headed caddy named Steve Williams whom he refuses to reel in,
2- Deliberately defaced a green at the US Open
3- let go another caddy for little more than making money because he had become well known for being Tiger’s caddy. Remember Mike Cowan’s television commercials in the late 90′s?

Rory and Tiger have issues between themselves. Tiger has some issues also. The Golf media blows things up bigger than they ever should be. Like how much Tiger is becoming a Daddy talk did we hear in 2007? Zack Johnson, The Masters Champ, became a first time Dad last year. Four LPGA golfers gave birth in 2007, some even coming back to play in the same year. How much press did Zach or Hee Won Han get for their baby making? Catorina Matthew came within one 30-foot putt from winning the Kraft Nabisco less than six months after giving birth. I think we can all agree, Mothers have it a great deal tougher than fathers when it comes to child rearing.

Kudos to Rory for his generosity. How many US born pros on the PGA Tour are that generous to our fighting men and women?

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