With reports that Aussie golfer Robert Allenby has taken his public spat with International Presidents Cup teammate Geoff Ogilvy on the road, golf watchers may wonder whether the bespectacled 40-year-old from Melbourne needs a timeout.
It seems that Allenby — who seems to be in meltdown mode following his 0-fer turn at the recent Presidents Cup matches in his hometown and nearly coming to blows with Ogilvy following Sunday’s Australian PGA Championship finale — can dish it out but can’t take it. Case in point: the two friends from Down Under had it out verbally Sunday night following Greg Chalmer’s playoff win over Allenby and Marcus Fraser.
The immediate issue was a Twitter blast from Ogilvy on Saturday that, on the face of it, praised Allenby for his good play last week. Allenby — who threw Ogilvy and several other teammates under the bus for letting him down during the recent biennial matches — interpreted the tweet as a snarky rip at him for becoming only the second player in Presidents Cup history to record no points (*extra credit if you can name the other PC golfer to go winless; see below for answer).
Here’s what went down, according to multiple reports: the two verbally sparred during a post-PGA dinner Sunday night at the Hyatt Coolum, Allenby apparently inadvertently broke a wine glass during the tiff and challenged his long-time pal to step outside, Ogilvy responded “I’d like that,” according to sportal.com.au, and Allenby eventually stalked off to jeers from the partygoers who witnessed the incident.
The back story took wings following the Presidents Cup, for which Allenby was a Greg Norman captain’s pick. After failing to post any points, Allenby blamed playing partners Ogilvy, Retief Goosen, and Y.E. Yang for “hitting [me] in the s***,” according to reports. He seemed to aim his most pointed criticism at Ogilvy, who, according to Allenby, “hit me in the tree three times off the tee and I had to chip out three times” during Saturday’s foursomes (alternate-shot format).
Allenby escalated his own war of words by stating after the competition that, “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.”
Sounding like someone who could use some serious time away from the tension-filled world of professional golf, Allenby continued. “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,” he said.
Indeed, Allenby noted that he lost some confidence during Sunday’s “wipeout” against David Toms, who “hit every fairway, every green, and made six or seven putts.”
Just don’t blame him, Allenby clarified. “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,” he said.
Ogilvy maintained radio silence about Allenby’s post-Presidents Cup mouthing-off until the latter played his way into contention at the PGA event on Saturday. Ogilvy’s comment that, “Warms the heart to see Robert playing so well this week,” apparently irritated the already agitated Allenby, who reportedly told Ogilvy Sunday night that he did not appreciate the sarcastic tone of his tweet.
Ogilvy claimed his intentions were honorable and reportedly suggested that Allenby own up to his playing problems. In fact, a fellow Aussie recommended the same strategy for the four-time PGA Tour winner who last hoisted a trophy in 2009.
“I think he acts like a five-year-old when he plays golf,” former U.S. PGA Tour golfer Paul Gow said in a weekly podcast. “He has to understand he plays golf for a living. He was in a team environment and to throw out those comments was really immature.
“It’s probably time for Robert to grow up, let his clubs do the talking because he’s a really, really good player,” Gow said. “With this attitude, he will probably never win a major.”
Allenby, who finished second in a playoff to Chalmers Sunday, is scheduled to meet Ogilvy again at the Australian Masters next month. Stay tuned….
* (Answer: American John Huston, 0-4-0 in the 1998 Presidents Cup — the only year the Internationals have won the event)