How close did Robert Allenby’s birdie putt come to going in the hole on the par-3 17th Sunday at THE PLAYERS Championship?
“It went up to the hole, stayed on top then rolled back about an inch,” said Allenby, who came up one stroke short of forcing a playoff with Tim Clark at TPC Sawgrass. “That was probably the most disbelief that I've ever witnessed, especially in those circumstances, knowing that it's got to go in to tie Tim. For it to go up to the hole and take a little look over the top and then come back, that was a bit rude.”
Allenby had a chance to extend the tournament with a birdie on the next hole, too, but what he’ll be remembered for here this week is that putt. Another half-roll, maybe even a quarter-roll, and it drops.
“I thought that putt was in,” Allenby said. “It was a very bumpy looking line and track all the way to the hole, a lot of spike marks and stuff. But I really did think it was going to get to the hole.”
If not for one spike mark in particular, it might have. There was a spiked up piece of grass just at the front edge and the hole was slightly raised up.
“Obviously they put nothing on [the greens]. That's why they were just brown, no greenness to them, and they were super, super slick,” Allenby said. “I can't tell you how some putts are so nerve wracking because they were just so slick. You could tap it, and that ball could just get away from you very, very easily. So you really had to be in control of what you were doing and your emotions, as well.
“That was a putt that if I hit it a little bit too firm, I could lip it out on the high side and go six feet past. My main goal was I picked my line to just get to the hole, and I hit it exactly the way I wanted to do it. I know I hit a good putt.”
Just not good enough, though it’s hard to fault Allenby whose 2-under 70 was better than average on a day when the field average was more than two strokes over par.
“Obviously the golfing Gods were with Tim today, and I can accept that,” Allenby said. “I did everything that I could possibly do to try and win the tournament.” -- Brian Wacker