It’s becoming difficult to tell who irritates Robert Allenby more: His opponents? Or his teammates?
News of Allenby’s confrontation with fellow Australian Geoff Ogilvy in the wake of the Internationals’ Presidents Cup loss immediately brought back memories of the controversy that Allenby touched off after the Internationals lost at Harding Park two years ago.
In case you forgot, in the wake of the ‘09 loss, Allenby went off on American Anthony Kim after losing to him in singles. Allenby said back then that he was frustrated getting beat by a guy who on the eve of their match returned to the team hotel “sideways” at 4 a.m. after a night of drinking.
Though Allenby said his friends saw Kim return in this condition, just five hours before their match, Kim routed Allenby, 5 and 3.
“Maybe we should all take the theory of Anthony Kim,” Allenby said back then. “Get home at 4 o’clock and then go shoot 6 under.”
Allenby called Kim “the current John Daly” and “the loosest cannon on that team.”
So who’s really the loose cannon in these international team events? I was there when Allenby went off on Kim and had the unpleasant task of running down Kim in the parking lot to get a response to the accusations.
A couple days later, Allenby issued an apology, then basically blamed the media for coaxing the controversy out of him and taking his quotes out of context. I was there. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Allenby went off without any prompting even after he was given the benefit of the doubt in being asked if he meant his comments for the record.
Basically, Allenby threw the four reporters who were there under the bus. Now, we’ve got some charming company. Allenby’s thrown Ogilvy under the bus with us.
In the genteel world of golf, Allenby blamed Ogilvy and other teammates for putting him in bad spots. He specifically cited three errant shots Ogilvy hit in the woods when paired with Allenby in the Day 3 foursomes. Pointing that out is worse form than Ogilvy might have shown over those shots.
Within the delicate sensibilities of golf, Allenby's comments are figuratively akin to Ndamukong Suh stomping on another NFL player after play has ended, except it’s a teammate Allenby's stomping.
Allenby was 0-4-0 at this last Presidents Cup. He was obviously frustrated.
That brings us to the Blame Game, which is practically an art form in golf. It’s also a defense mechanism. A bad shot, or a loss, is almost never a player’s fault. There was an unexpected puff of wind, a caddie giving bad yardage, somebody moving in the gallery. The rationalizing is understood in the game because a player must zealously guard against allowing doubt to enter his head. Doubt comes before the fall in golf.
So, while there may be no doubts in Allenby’s head after his winless performance at the Presidents Cup, with blame attached elsewhere, there has to be some serious doubts in the heads of future International captains who might want to pick Allenby again. He’s proving he’s not a very gracious adversary. He’s not even a very gracious teammate.