Other caddie supports Middlemo's version of dispute with Allenby

By Al TaysJuly 25, 2015, 1:49 pm

It was only a matter of time before one of the witnesses to the dust-up between Robert Allenby and his caddie, Mick Middlemo, in the first round of the RBC Canadian Open came forward with his version of events. 

Speaking out on Friday was Simon Clarke, an Australian who was looping for another player in the group, South Korean S.J. Park. Clarke, who said he has known fellow Aussie Allenby for more than two decades, told Reuters, “I wouldn’t be talking about it if he [Allenby] didn’t tell the media afterwards a whole lot of porky pies [Australian slang for lies]."

As was reported Thursday, Allenby and Middlemo became embroiled in a bitter on-course argument after the player claimed bad club selection cost him a penalty stroke and a triple bogey. Each blamed the other for escalating the dispute, and Middlemo either quit or was fired after nine holes. Allenby played the rest of the round with a spectator carrying his bag, signed for an 81 and later withdrew.

“I’ve known Rob for a long time and I’ve known Mick for a long time," Clarke said. "It’s disappointing that at age 42, or however old he [Allenby] is, he’s still treating people that way and how many good caddies he’s gone through.

"It’s sad that he speaks to the guys this way and doesn’t wait until after the round. It’s disappointing that he’s up to his old tricks.”

Reuters said Allenby did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

Clarke said Allenby called Middlemo an “overweight so-and-so.

“Mick took exception to that. He got fired up. Mick demanded [Allenby] call him that again. Adreneline and all, it wasn’t pretty. Robert didn’t call him that anymore because I don’t think that he was sure what was going to happen.”

Clarke said Middlemo asked him and the other caddie in the group for advice after the incident, which took place on Allenby's fourth hole of the day, the par-5 13th at Glen Abbey. He said they both advised him to complete the round in silence.

“It’s a death march that nobody likes,” Clarke said.

After Allenby made another triple bogey to finish his first nine, he said something to Middlemo as they walked off the green. Clarke said he couldn't hear what Allenby said, but he saw Middlemo take off his caddie bib and then yell at his player.

“It was clear as day - ‘Try talking to me like that off the golf course,’” Clarke said. Allenby told a reporter that Middlemo challenged him to meet in the parking lot.

“If Rob tells the true story, I’m not speaking out,” Clarke said. “Lies affect Mick’s career.”

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DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials phoned Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial. 

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.