Rory Sabbatini overcame a tweaked back a year ago at the RBC Heritage Open to roar out to a 7-under par for a 1st round lead. He eventually faded for a No. 23 finish, but a year later, he finds himself within striking distance of his 7th PGA Tour win.
The South African-born American citizen trails Dustin Johnson by a single stroke, and is tied with 3 others at 9-under par on the last day at Hilton Head in South Carolina. One more surge today could notch him his first tournament title since the Honda Classic in 2011.
His wife Martina “Tina” will be cheering for him to give that final push necessary to earn the $1.24 million payout for the Open winner. Here’s what you need to know about her.
1. Martina Sabbatini Stofanikova Hails From Slovakia, Originally
Tina is from Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia. Her maiden name is Martina Stofanikova. This was confirmed in a Slovakian publication called Plus.
It also talks about her previous relationships, which include libertarian political leader Boris Kollar and tennis player Dominik Hrbatý. She has a son named Simon that she had with Kollar.
Martina Sabbatini Štofaníková (38) has nothing to be ashamed of. The son of Simon Heliodor’s son (9), whom he has with Boris Kollar (53)…
Kollar founded the Slovakian political party We Are Family, which preaches libertarian economic policies and is critical of the European Union. He also reportedly had ties to Slovak mafia, according to the Slovak Spectator based on a government investigation.
Hrbaty, who is referred to as a “former lover,” was a former top-10 player in the world and made the semifinals of the 1999 French Open.
2. She Met Sabbatini at His Last PGA Tour Win at the 2011 Honda Classic
Sabbatini triumphed at the 2011 Honda Classic by edging out Y.E. Yang by a single stroke with a 9-under par. It’s at this Palm Beach Gardens event that he met Martina, according to the AP.
Sabbatini, who won the World Cup with Trevor Immelman for South Africa in 2003, last won on the PGA Tour in 2011 at the Honda Classic. That’s where he met his wife a few years later.
“It was my first event, and I wanted to see the professional level, how they were, what’s their routines,” she said.
“This is why I came there.”
At the time, Sabbatini was married to his 1st wife Amy.
3. His Ex-Wife Accused Him of Cheating on Her
Amy Sabbatini was a very vocal supporter of her husband when they were married. After Rory had a minor spat with Ben Crane is 2005 due to the latter’s slow play, she defended Rory amidst criticism from ABC commentator Paul Azinger. Other examples include flareups with Nick Faldo.
She was mentioned as pushing their son in a stroller during a very public altercation with Sean O’Hair at the Zurich Classic in 2011. Per Fox Sports:
Sabbatini’s wife, Amy, walked with him in the fairway while pushing their infant son in a stroller during a practice round, according to two players who saw it.
Despite this, she tweeted in 2013 about Rory’s “extra-curricular activities with other women.” The original tweet, which was deleted, was screengrabbed by Golf.com.
The site points out that she was developing a TV show at the time, which may have been a motivating factor to dredge up ratings.
Amy went on to tweet that she is filming a new reality show with Liz Estes, wife of Bob Estes, who has been shopping around a show based on PGA Tour wives for a few years.
It’s not clear when Rory remarried with Tina.
4. Tina Helped Rory Earn His Slovak Citizenship
Rory is a man of many countries. He was born in South Africa, has a passport through the United Kingdom and has dual citizenship in the United States. Make that tri-citizenship, as he successfully earned his Slovak citizenship this past January.
The idea to add another country to his belt came from Tina’s cousin Rastislav Antal, the vice president of the Slovak Golf Association.
“Her cousin came up with the idea,” Sabbatini said to the AP. “This is an opportunity to bring more kids into the game of golf, because they really haven’t had an exposure on an international stage to really have someone to follow. They have a lot of hockey players, skiers, tennis players, all sports. But nobody in golf.”
The Sabbatinis maintain homes in both Bratislava and south Florida. Rory said that she has encouraged him to play for European Tour tournaments.
“My wife and I have talked about maybe playing a few more events in Europe, but for 21 years I played predominantly on the U.S. tour,” he said. “I haven’t made any clear-cut decision exactly what direction we’re going. We’re still trying to get everything organized and going in the right direction.”
He is able to represent Slovakia in the 2020 Olympics, but said that his decision is not about that.
5. The Couple Have Enjoyed Some Beautiful Vacations
Rory and Tina share an Instagram page titled roryandtina. They have posted a ton of pictures of their travels, which range from St. Maarten’s to the Haiku Stairs in Oahu, Hawaii.
Rory has earned over $31 million in his career, according to his PGA Tour profile.