Monday, December 17, 2007

Rory Takes A Walk

Rory “The Mouth That Roared” Sabbatini is in the news again and it’s not good. Sabbatini, who has a penchant for feasting on his foot (“Tiger is more beatable than he’s ever been”) withdrew from Tiger’s Target World Challenge before the final round Sunday. He failed to inform his host or tournament organizers and apparently got an early start to Hawaii where he spends the holidays. Tournament director Greg McLaughlin petitioned the PGA Tour to without one-fourth of the $170,000 that Sabbatini earned as the last place finisher in the 16-man field at the event and rightly so. Woods apparently was not amused by Sabbatini’s flimsy excuse – shin splints – and other pros properly roasted him for ducking out of the event. Common courtesy dictates that if you accept the invitation to a special event with guaranteed money, you should at least finish the tournament. Remember the uproar after Michelle Wie cited a phantom injury and left the tournament hosted by Annika Sorenstam this summer? Sabbatini has now firmly established himself as the number once scoundrel on the tour.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Isao Aoki.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

PGA Tour Releases Drug Policy

Perhaps it was just a coincidence but on the same day that former Sen. George Mitchell released his long-awaited report on steroid use in major league baseball, the PGA Tour sent players copies of its anti-doping policies and procedures. The Tour had previously announced that drug testing will start this summer. Predictably, players interviewed at the Tiger Woods Target World Challenge had not read the 41-page document. Several players, including Woods, made inane statements about how “thick” the handbook was, suggesting it would be beyond their comprehension to read anything more difficult than a scorecard or a pin sheet. The booklet contains a list of prohibited substances that fall under 10 categories, ranging from anabolic steroids to human growth hormones (HGH), which were a focus of the Mitchell report on baseball. The banned substances also include narcotics to beta blockers. Unlike baseball, which apparently told players about “random” tests in advance, the PGA Tour can test players any time and any where without notice, event at non-tournament sites. In fairness, Woods and other pros said they are in favor of drug testing. The LPGA Tour also will start drug testing this year. Until the first tests are conducted, right now golf is perhaps the only major sport devoid of questions about drug use. Let’s hope it stays that way.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Lon Hinkle.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Q-School Notes

The most gut wrenching tournament of the year, the PGA Tour’s Qualifying School, concluded this week as 166 professionals attempted to win privileges for the 2007 season. Q-School always has more than its share of triumphs and heartaches and this year was no different.

Veteran Frank Lickliter opened the six-round event with back-to-back rounds of 62 to finish first. Veterans Duffy Waldorf, a former Q-School medalist, and Jim McGovern also won their cards. Tommy Gainey, a Golf Channel Big Break winner, will take his unique swing and nickname (“Two Gloves” because he wears golf gloves on both hands) to the Big Show next year. The feel good story of the week had to be Todd Demsey, a former Nationwide Tour player who played with Phil Mickelson at Arizona State. Demsey recovered from two operations to remove a tumor in his brain.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Mac O’Grady.