An eventful year for Robert Allenby became even more so Thursday when his caddie walked off midway through the opening round of the RBC Canadian Open.
Playing their fourth hole of the day at Glen Abbey, Allenby and caddie Mick Middlemo began bickering over club selection for the fourth shot. The wind switched and Allenby went with less club (8-iron), but his shot came up short, in the creek, leading to a triple bogey.
That’s when the rift between player and caddie began.
Allenby told Jason Logan of ScoreGolf.com: “I said to [Middlemo], 'You know this happens every week. This has happened for, like, the last three or four or five months. We keep making bad mistakes and you’re not helping me in these circumstances.' And he just lost the plot at me. He just told me I could go eff myself. And I said ‘Look, you need to slow down. I mean, just calm down.’ And then he just got right in my face as if he wanted to just beat me up. I said, ‘Stop being a such and such and calm down and get back into the game.’ And he just got even closer and closer and I just said, ‘That’s it. You’re sacked.’ I said, ‘I will never have you caddie ever again.’”
Middlemo told GolfChannel.com that it was Allenby who went on a profane rant, telling the caddie, “I’m so sick of this fu----- bu------ you c---.”
“I said, ‘Look, if you want someone to abuse, get someone out of the parking lot,’” Middlemo said. “And then he said it to me again and I said, ‘I dare you to call me a c--- again.’ That was it.”
Middlemo stayed on the bag for the rest of the opening nine, but according to Allenby, the looper made a “smartass remark” coming off 18.
“I said, ‘You don’t deserve to be caddieing out there,’” Allenby said. “And he just got right in my face and threatened me, so I said, ‘Go.’ So he left.”
Middlemo had a different account of what transpired. “He said, ‘I’m going to get a caddie banned for life on this Tour.’ And I asked if it was me and he said, ‘Yes.’ That was it,” he said.
“He was 20 yards ahead of me and I put the bag down and got my stuff and hung my bib on the bag and then I walked away and went home.”
Middlemo, who spoke with Tour officials afterward about the incident, said he is the fourth caddie to walk off during a round while working for Allenby.
Allenby lugged his own bag from the 18th green to the first tee, where he met with a rules official to discuss his options.
That’s when Tom Fraser, a school principal from Ontario, Canada, who was outside the ropes, volunteered his services.
Allenby eventually signed for an 81 and planned to withdraw after the round. He told ScoreGolf that “this is the worst incident I’ve ever witnessed as a player,” and he requested a security escort out of the golf course after claiming that Middlemo threatened him.
“He said, ‘I’ll be waiting for you in the car park,’” Allenby said.
It is another bizarre episode for the 44-year-old Australian, who said that he was robbed and beaten earlier this year during the Sony Open. Earlier this month, a Hawaii man pleaded guilty to using Allenby’s credit card to buy gift cards, clothing and jewelry.