Pairing partners at the Presidents Cup a little over a week earlier, Aussie stars Geoff Ogilvy and Robert Allenby squared off in an animated exchange before dozens of dinner guests after the Australian PGA Championship on Sunday night, looking more like sparring partners than countrymen and mates.
Allenby, who earlier had lost the PGA title in a playoff, has been taking plenty of heat for being the only pointless player at the Presidents Cup, so to speak, where he had a record of 0-4. Frustrated over being singled out for the defeat, he since has countered by explaining that he was hampered at times by his pairings partners, including Ogilvy, who hit three tee shots into the trees during their match.
Which might be true, though it's certainly bad form to blame your mates in a team defeat, as was pointed out last week in the Aussie media, which made the point clear at Allenby's expense. It's also a fact that Ogilvy can read, and caught wind of Allenby's remarks.
When Allenby sat down at a Hyatt Regency banquet table Sunday where Ogilvy was seated, the two began an exchange that surprised those in attendance. According to an Aussie newspaper account, Ogilvy accused Allenby of throwing him under the bus with regard to their pairing at the Presidents Cup, then questioned his character, which reportedly sent Allenby into a fury.
It was reported that Allenby accidently broke a wine glass and asked Ogilvy, “Do you want to have a go?” Allenby, who a couple of hours earlier had lost the playoff to Greg Chalmers, eventually left the banquet area.
Another characterization surfaced Monday in which it was said that Allenby was booed out of the room by those in attendance and that the wine glass might not have been broken by accident.
Talk about an alternate-shot match.
''Look, it wasn't TV Ringside or anything,'' Paul Galli, Ogilvy's manager, told the Sydney paper. ''I wasn't there, but from what I've been told, it's a storm in a teacup. There were a few words spoken. They will be fine. I've got no doubt they can come together at the [Australian] Masters in a few weeks, have a beer and move on.''
Since Ogilvy is considered the more thoughtful, introspective and sensible of the pair, Allenby was quickly painted as the villain, which isn't exactly a simple truth. While he shot his mouth off about the Presidents Cup, that's often part of his charm.
Allenby is rarely afraid to offer an opinion -- just ask Anthony Kim – and in turn gets a bad rap. But Allenby has a magnanimous side, too. He broke down crying on the course two years ago at an Aussie event as his terminally ill mother watched him struggling to win the title for her. He sponsors a fishing tournament for leukemia victims in the Jupiter, Fla., area. Years ago, as teenage Aussie Jarrod Lyle was ill in the hospital with leukemia, Allenby dropped by for a visit. Lyle recovered and plays on the PGA Tour, too.
As for the caddie issue, Alllenby threw a lifeline to current bagman Robert Floyd earlier this year after the latter had been arrested on a DUI charge, not his first, and gave him a job. Floyd’s dad is Hall of Famer Ray Floyd. There might not be a better guy than Allenby to hang out with on weekends, for those who enjoy an adult beverage. When Allenby turned 40 earlier this year, the whole family went to Key West, where they partied so hard, a couple of family members needed, shall we say, medical attention.
So, as the old saying goes, regardless of who started the verbal fracas, it takes two to tango.