Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Aussie golfers blow off a bit of steam
One's record in a team competition such as the Presidents Cup is probably never as good or bad as it may appear. Take the case of Robert Allenby, the Melbourne native who went 0-4 for the International team, the only player on either side who failed to earn a point.
Allenby spent the next several days after the 19-15 U.S. win hearing how bad he was, and finally had enough, basically unloading at last week's Australian PGA Championship on his partners -- which precipitated a near-fight with fellow Aussie Geoff Ogilvy, according to several Australian news outlets.
According to the Australian AP, Allenby and Ogilvy got into a heated exchange Sunday night in Coolum at the resort used for the Australian PGA. A witness told the AAP that Allenby invited Ogilvy "to step outside and settle it." At least one glass was smashed during the argument before Allenby stormed off.
"It was just two guys who'd had a few tough weeks letting off some steam and getting some things off their chest," said Allenby's manager, Tony Bouffler. "It appears, from what I've heard, things may have been blown out of proportion. They're good mates and they're still good mates. They've supported each other on the tour for years and I'm sure they'll continue to do so in the future."
Ogilvy was not happy that Allenby had publicly called out several of his teammates -- including Ogilvy. After the first round of the Australian PGA -- which Allenby ended up losing in a playoff to Greg Chalmers -- the veteran went off.
Allenby said Retief Goosen had missed several makeable birdie putts after "I hit it inside 10 feet a few times" in Thursday's foursomes (alternate shot). He said Y.E. Yang had left him playing alone too many times in the closing nine of Friday's fourball matches. And he said that Ogilvy had "hit me in the tree three times off the tee and I had to chip out three times" in Saturday's foursomes.
"Everyone's making me look like I'm playing like s--- and then it starts wearing on your mind a little bit, maybe you are," Allenby said. "It's quite draining ... there was a lot of pressure on me to hit the shots and also make the putts and it was windy and it was tough conditions.
"It was a combination of a lot of things. People look and say how disappointing can you be, because you didn't get a point, but when you're relying on someone else as well, it's sometimes not all just you, it can be other people hitting you in the s--- ...
"Sunday was just a wipe out. [David] Toms hit every fairway [in a 7-and-5 victory over Allenby], every green and made six or seven putts.
"He probably would have beaten everyone on our team on that day -- he played awesome. But there's probably guys in their team that I could have played and probably would have beaten. It's pot luck at times. I hit a lot of good shots before that Sunday, and just got nothing out of it, so I probably lost a little confidence from that.
"But that's golf. It wasn't as if I wasn't trying, but I wasn't overtrying either, just trying to go out there and play my game. But I'm not hitting the ball that bad, not playing that bad. I made some good ones when I needed to keep the matches going."
Allenby's play at the PGA seemed to bear that out as he got into a three-man playoff with Chalmers and another Aussie, Marcus Fraser, losing after a bogey on the first extra hole.
Bob Harig covers golf for ESPN.com. He can be reached at BobHarig@gmail.com.