ItÂs been a quiet year for Rory Sabbatini, and he goes into the Masters tomorrow with few or no expectations to burden him.
HeÂs made five cuts in the nine events he has played, and his best performance came in the first event of the year: He finished in a share of ninth in the season opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions early in January, despite receiving a two-stroke penalty for being late to his second-round tee time and his best since then was a share of 14th two weeks later in the Humana Challenge.
Since then, itÂs been a tough year for the feisty Durbanite/Texan: Three consecutive missed cuts, a share of 62nd, 74th and another missed cut make for gloomy reading ahead of the challenge posted by a major championship at the difficult Augusta National Golf Club.
But it is as well to note that SabbatiniÂs finest hour in a major came at the Masters: He finished in a share of second in 2007 when Zach Johnson won. Since then, however a share of 20th in 2009 was the best he could muster in the midst of three missed cuts.
HeÂs had health issues in the meantime. He had lesions removed from his face which were potentially cancerous, and he now plays in an eye-catching cowboy hat for extra protection from the sun.
HeÂs made it into the Masters on the strength of his top-30 finish in last yearÂs PGA Tour money list, and he will be hoping that he has pulled his game around to cope with the rigours of Augusta National.