When it comes to Tiger Woods, Rory Sabbatini has let his mouth get him in hot water in the past. On Sunday, the former Arizona Wildcat let his driver and putter land him in trouble…and second place to Woods.
Woods capped off his come-from-behind surge with a remarkable 50-foot shot in 16 to win for the 73 time on the PGA Tour — tied now with Jack Nicklaus, who founded the Memorial Tournament at (Nicklaus-designed) Muirfield Village Gold Club 36 years ago.
Sabbatini once again played the foil to Woods. In 2007, the South African fueled controversy by claiming Woods was “as beatable as ever.”
Sabbatini was in control for much of the day, and most of the weekend for that matter.
But he seemed to unravel on the 15th hole as Woods was beginning his late charge. Sabbatini missed a putt on 15, then plunked his next drive into a bunker.
The resulting bogey tied him with Woods, who eventually stormed to the win with birdies on three of his final four holes. Sabbatini finished two behind Woods, tied with Argentinian Andres Romero for second.
Sabbatini could have used the win. He’s won five times on the Tour, but is winless since claiming the HP Byron Nelson Championship in 2009. He has only one top-10 and three top-25 finishes in 16 tournaments this season.
His highest placing on this season’s stats board is 31st place for putts per round with 28.6 putts.
Sabbatini joked on Saturday that tournament officials would erect a statue of him after leading the field for two straight days. He then made some comments that proved rather prophetic:
“If you hit a bad shot and go and get it up-and-down, that’s a help you. That’s as fine as the line gets. It’s ultimately — there’s going to be guys that are going to hit shots that are going to get upset, they’re going to go and focus on the next one. If you can let it go and be able to focus on the next shot and still not be thinking of the previous one or shots before or whatever, it’s not going to hinder you. But if you’re still stuck on two shots before, yeah, it’s definitely going to hinder.”
- Rory Sabbatini, via PGA Tour Media