Rory Sabbatini, who was widely rebuked for his discourteous behavior toward playing partner Ben Crane in the final round of the Booz Allen Classic on Sunday, issued a statement on the matter yesterday.

"I would like to apologize for the unfortunate incident that took place at the Booz Allen Classic," Sabbatini said in a news release sent out by the PGA Tour. "I was quite frustrated with the pace of play, something that has become an all too frequent occurrence on golf courses around the world, and reacted inappropriately. I have spoken to Ben Crane and the PGA Tour on this matter and it is now behind us. Ben and I remain good friends and have already discussed scheduling a practice round together in the near future."

Sabbatini, one of the PGA Tour's faster players, was paired with Crane, a notoriously slow player. Several times during the day the players were warned by rules officials that they were on the clock for slow play. By the end of their round, Sabbatini's frustration peaked. Sabbatini putted out on No. 17 before Crane reached the green, then walked to the 18th tee before Crane finished the hole. The crowd chastised Sabbatini for his imprudence, soundly booing him. PGA Tour players Paul Azinger and Nick Faldo, himself a slow player, castigated Sabbatini during the ABC telecast for violating golf's etiquette.

Crane, speaking to reporters on Sunday, blamed himself for the incident.

"I do feel bad," Crane said. "I need to work on picking it up."

-- Kathy Orton