In case you missed it, Olympic silver medallist Rory Sabbatini was bizarrely disqualified from the weekend’s PGA Tour event. After birdieing five of his final six holes to post an opening four-under 68 over the Plantation Course, the Slovakian fell foul of one of the game’s stranger rules at the RSM Classic.
The rule in question is 4.1, which relates to the performance characteristics of a club, and as per the PGA Tour Communications’ Twitter account, Sabbatini had a “non-conforming external attachment” on a fairway wood he used at the Tour’s final regular stop of the 2020/21 season.
Rory Sabbatini DQ from The RSM Classic due to a violation of Rule 4.1. Sabbatini had a non-conforming external attachment to the face of a club he used during the round.November 18, 2021
Officials confirmed the violation was the result of a small reflective sticker, the kind of which is regularly used by pros when practising with a launch monitor to improve the accuracy of data returned. Realising he hadn’t removed the sticker, the 45-year-old requested a post-round ruling, after which he learned his fate.
“There are stickers, reflective stickers. [They are] tiny,” John Munch, the PGA Tour’s senior tournament director of equipment standards, told Golf Channel. “The players use them to track club head speed when they practice and he just didn’t take them off.”
Although Sabbatini, who has yet to comment on the incident, had nothing to gain by taking to the Sea Island golf course with the sticker still attached, there was no other option under the Rules of Golf. To make matters worse, he now has to wait until the Sony Open in the middle of January before he will be eligible to play on the PGA Tour again.
American Talor Cooch went on to capture his first PGA Tour event, shooting a closing bogey-free 64 to beat Mackenzie Hughes by three. In doing so, he became the seventh player since 2017 to hold a 54-hole lead and post a 64 or better to win, joining the likes of Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka.
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A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.
Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.
As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.
What's in Andy's bag?
Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)
3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus (15°)
Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)
Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)
Putter: TaylorMade Spider X
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
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