Wednesday 27 March 2019

Sabatini's snub fails to impede Woods' waltz to Sherwood victory

Karl MacGinty

TIGER WOODS came loping straight out of the nursery to pick up his eighth win of 2007 at Sherwood Country Club, while Padraig Harrington brought his "unbelievable" year to a modest conclusion in 10th place on two-under par.

Yet Rory Sabbatini was the talk of the Target World Challenge as he became the first player in nine years not to finish this end-of-season benefit for Tiger's Foundation. Sabbatini, who irked Woods a couple of times this year with controversial public comments, cleared out his locker on Saturday, saying he was heading for Hawaii, his usual Christmas retreat.

A third round 76 had left him in last place on 10-over and while PGA Tour officials announced he'd withdrawn for "personal reasons", Sabbatini's management later said he had shin splints.

Tiger simply shrugged when asked of Sabbatini's non-appearance but Fred Couples commented: "He (Sabbatini) is messing with the wrong guy."

Sabbatini's entitled to $170,000 for last place but Couples said "he should give that back to the Foundation."

Harrington's putter was too cold to mount a serious bid for his second victory at Sherwood -- he eclipsed Tiger here in 2002.

Though his closing 73 included a bogey on the 72nd hole, where he took his ninth three-putt of the tournament, Harrington still saw the big picture.

He described 2007 as "tremendous, phenomenal. It was unbelievable to win The Open. I do a lot of talking about having to move on but I'll look back and enjoy this year for a long time."

Woods took 10 weeks off to help wife Elin with their new baby girl, Sam, but anyone who expected golf's top cat to become domesticated during this sojourn at home was mistaken. He mauled the opposition and tore Sherwood apart with Friday's record 62. Furyk whittled Tiger's overnight lead down from six to two through the turn but blew up badly on the back nine as Woods romped home.

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