Newsmakers 2007: Rory Sabbatini

November 19, 2007

Many people are prone to what the french describe as "the wisdom of the staircase." They think of the clever retort long after the conversation has left the dock. Others suffer from a much more insidious condition. They never reach the staircase--they don't even get out the door--before something comes flying out of their mouths that would sometimes be better left unsaid. The leader in that clubhouse this year, in a split decision, was Rory "Say What?" Sabbatini, wearer of the World Wrestling Federation Championship belt buckles, who managed to call out the best player who ever lived not once but twice, thereby shooting himself in both feet. Now, if you're going to play against Tiger Woods, there's no harm in thinking you can beat him (in fact, if you don't, you surely won't) but, in the name of all that's holy, never, ever say it out loud. To then clarify your remarks by declaring Woods "more beatable than ever" was, shall we say, ill-advised. Sabbatini, however, did not stand alone when it came to the hazards of the golf gaffe. Woody Austin's first slip of the year wasn't in a pond at Royal Montreal but on a dais at Southern Hills when he made his own Woodsian faux pas. Tiger, however, wasn't the only subject of the verbal pratfall this season. Down Under, Stuart Appleby wondered openly about the precise market value of Sabbatini's mouth. Dottie Pepper had that freakin' accident in Sweden, a comment for which she never received proper credit. Hey, at least, she kept it clean. Annika took umbrage with Team Wie, though not, we sense, inappropriately so. Colin Montgomerie and Nick Faldo traded Ryder Cup unpleasantries. Gary Player informed us that certain golfers (not to be named later) are using steroids. We're ruling out Tim Herron. At Carnoustie we learned of the worldwide plot to thwart Sergio. John Daly saw a steak knife the way Macbeth saw a dagger. And not even a Castle Pines milkshake could take the aftertaste of the PGA Tour out of Jack Vickers' mouth. They all let les mots juste roulez.