Rory Sabbatini has enjoyed a highly memorable year but he added a small forgettable chapter at the RSM Classic. The Olympic silver medallist put together an opening four-under 68 but was then disqualified for violating Rule 4.1.
This rule involved having a non-conforming external attachment on the face of his fairway wood which was a reflective sticker that he used on the 1st hole of the Plantation Course. He then realised that he hadn’t taken them off after using them in practice and self-reported the sticker.
“There are stickers, reflective stickers. [They are] tiny,” said John Munch, the PGA Tour’s tournament director for equipment standards. “The players use them to track clubhead speed when they practise and he just didn’t take them off.”
Under the Rules, Sabbatini could have actually avoided punishment had he not actually used the club.
The sticker is a reflective dot which feeds data to a launch monitor to check what the clubface is doing – the players normally use Sharpie marks on the clubface during testing which are allowed under the Rules of Golf.
Sabbatini, who picked up that silver medal for Slovakia in Tokyo, didn’t comment afterwards.