Allenby hopes to put 'nightmare' behind him at Sony

By Doug FergusonJanuary 11, 2016, 10:45 pm

KAPALUA, Hawaii – Robert Allenby returned to paradise with hopes of putting a nightmare behind him.

Allenby has missed the Sony Open only three times in his 17 years on the PGA Tour, and this would have been an acceptable occasion to miss. He went from victim of what he first described as a robbery and kidnapping to the butt of jokes over a bizarre night in Honolulu that left him with a bloodied forehead and no memory of what happened.

So why bother going back?

''I've got so many great memories here that I wasn't going to let one bad one interrupt it,'' he said Sunday night after checking into the Kahala Hotel at Waialae Country Club. ''I also thought for my own well-being that maybe I could come here and face it and put some closure on what happened last year.''

He had dinner at the hotel with friends and already has his dining plans laid out for the week.

''Room service and (hotel) restaurant,'' he said.

The 44-year-old Australian last year missed the cut in the first full-field event of the year, and then went to Amuse Wine Bar with his caddie and a friend. He recalls golf fans recognizing him and wanting a photo. He said police surveillance shows him leaving the restaurant. And that was it.

Whatever happened that night - Allenby says he still doesn't remember anything during a 2 1/2-hour window - it might have gone unnoticed except that Allenby posted a photo his private Facebook page of a bloody scrape on his head and a swollen eye.

Then came the tale of being tossed from the trunk of a car. Allenby said he was told that by a homeless woman who helped him escape from the park after his story was questioned. A homeless man said he saw Allenby pass out and hit his head on a rock.

He was found unconscious about a block from the restaurant.

Golf Channel cited unidentified sources at a strip club that Allenby ran up a $3,400 tab at Club Femme Nu. However, Honolulu Police Det. John McCarthy said the police investigation showed Allenby was never in the strip club.

Allenby believes someone slipped a date-rape drug into his drink at the restaurant when he was taking photos, which he said explains the memory loss.

A month after the incident, police arrested a Hawaii man for using Allenby's credit cards. Owen Harbison was sentenced in August to five years.

Through it all, his reputation didn't help.

He is renowned for a fierce temper on the golf course. Allenby once claimed Anthony Kim was out all night before the final day of the Presidents Cup - after Kim had beaten him badly in singles. He mixed it up with Geoff Ogilvy over who was to blame for a team loss in the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne two years later. And he has gone through more than a dozen caddies.

Allenby, however, said he felt as though he went from the victim to the culprit and that it marred the rest of his year.

With 21 victories worldwide - four on the PGA Tour - he made only seven cuts in 29 events and didn't finish in the top 50 on the PGA Tour. He said he has had nightmares of being chased down a street and that he has sought help from a psychologist.

''I needed it to help overcome the stuff I've been dealing with,'' he said.

He is using his one-time exemption from the PGA Tour career money list to play this year, so he could have just as easily started next week in the California desert. Until last week, he thought about skipping the Sony Open.

''I've always enjoyed coming here, and part of me just wanted to face it on the chin,'' he said. ''I didn't want people to think that I wouldn't come back. Not that I care what people think, but I wanted to come back and play well and move forward.''

Allenby remarried in October in Napa, California, the weekend before the Frys.com Open. His wife had work and did not join him on the Honolulu trip.

He has three top-10s in 14 appearances, including a runner-up finish in 2010 when Ryan Palmer beat him with a birdie on the last hole. He has missed the cut four of the last five years, but still considers Waialae a course he plays well.

''I thought long and hard about not coming,'' he said. ''But I said to (wife) Kym, 'I need to go. I want to go.' I love the golf course. The people are always so friendly to me. I know there will be media and all that, but I'm ready to move on with it. I'm not going to let it bother me. The reason I came here was to play and play well.''

Watch: Pros try to hit 2-yard wide fairway in Dubai

By Grill Room TeamNovember 18, 2017, 5:20 pm

While in Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour prestented a little challenge to Ross Fisher, Richie Ramsay, Nicolas Colsaerts and Soren Kjeldsen. On a stretch of road outside of town, the four players had to try and hit a 2-yard wide fairway. Check out the results.

Rose (65) leads Rahm, Frittelli in Dubai

By Associated PressNovember 18, 2017, 3:24 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Justin Rose will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the season-ending Tour Championship as he attempts to win a third straight title on the European Tour and a second career Race to Dubai crown.

The 37-year-old Rose made a gutsy par save on the final hole after a bogey-free round for a 7-under 65 Saturday and overall 15-under 201.

The Englishman leads South African Dylan Frittelli, who produced the day's best score of 63, and Spain's Jon Rahm, who played in the same group as Rose and matched his 65.

Rose is looking to be Europe's season-ending No. 1 for the second time. His leading rival for the Race to Dubai title, Tommy Fleetwood, is only two shots behind here after a second straight 65 on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates.

Fleetwood did his chances no harm by overcoming a stuttering start before making eight birdies in his final 11 holes to also post a 65. The 26-year-old Englishman was tied for fourth place at 13 under, alongside South African Dean Burmester (65) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67), who closed with five birdies in a row.

''So, last day of the season and I've got a chance to win the Race to Dubai,'' Fleetwood said. ''It's cool.''


DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship


Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Race to Dubai title, is tied for 13th on 10 under after a 67.

Fleetwood had a lead of 256,737 points going into the final tournament and needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

Rose is hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey.

Rose, who made some long putts for birdies apart from chipping in on the 13th hole, looked to be throwing away his advantage on the par-5 18th, when his second shot fell agonizingly short of the green and into the water hazard. But with his short game in superb condition, the reigning Olympic champion made a difficult up-and-down shot to stay ahead.

''That putt at the last is a big confidence-builder. That broke about 18 inches right-to-left downhill. That's the kind of putt I've been hoping to make. That was a really committed stroke. Hopefully I can build on that tomorrow,'' said Rose. ''I know what I need to do to stay at the top of the leaderboard. If I slip up tomorrow, he's (Fleetwood) right there. He's done everything he needs to do on his end, so it's a lot of fun.''

The last player to win three tournaments in a row on the European Tour was Rory McIlroy, when he won the Open Championship, the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship in 2014.

Fleetwood was 1 over after seven holes but turned it on with a hat trick of birdies from the eighth, and then four in a row from No. 13.

''I wanted to keep going. Let's bring the tee times forward for tomorrow,'' quipped Fleetwood after closing with a birdie on the 18th. ''Just one of them strange days where nothing was going at all. A couple sloppy pars on the par 5s, and a bad tee shot on fifth and I was 1-over through seven on a day where scoring has been really good ... Ninth and 10th, felt like we had something going ... it was a really good last 11 holes.''

If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

You don’t believe it, though.

She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

“In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

“I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

“She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

“She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

“Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

“It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

“No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon: