PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS INSIDER
Robert Allenby set for next chapter on PGA TOUR Champions
July 28, 2021
By Bob McClellan , PGATOUR.COM
- July 28, 2021
- Robert Allenby recently turned 50 and will play full-time on PGA TOUR Champions. (Getty Images)
Robert Allenby turned 50 on July 12 and made his PGA TOUR Champions debut 10 days later, at the Senior Open Presented by Rolex.
The Australian tied for 64th at Sunningdale, which, when one considers the circumstances, wasn’t the worst start in history.
Between practice rounds and a four-round event, Allenby figured it was the most golf he had played in a week in more than a year. Allenby injured his back and ribs in a freak accident 10 weeks ago that prevented him from preparing for the Senior Open as he’d planned. He figured on playing in a few Korn Ferry Tour events to get his game tuned up, but he was too sore to swing properly.
“I fell off a boat,” Allenby said.
You know that hackneyed joke about not hitting water if you fell out of a boat? Allenby didn’t hit water.
Turns out he and a buddy were cleaning a boat on land. Allenby was trying to tighten the boat cover when he grabbed it and it ripped, and he took a hard tumble.
“I didn’t think much of it but about a week later I felt a lot of pain in the area where I’d fallen,” Allenby said. “I think the one thing out of the last couple of years … I probably haven’t worked out the way I used to. I was playing and practicing a lot, and I think my fitness and my strength through my back and core just isn’t what it used to be. This injury lingered a little bit. I had to get an epidural, a couple of shots in my T9 and T10 (vertebrae).
“I can still feel it. It’s still not 100%, but I got through last week. … The rehab has been brutal. Right now I feel good and I’m looking forward looking to feeling strong and fit for Calgary (site of the Shaw Charity Classic).”
Allenby, a four-time winner on the PGA TOUR, said he plans to play in all eight events before the Charles Schwab Cup playoffs in hopes of making it into the postseason.
“I’ll have to play pretty good,” Allenby said. “I’ll play them all and see what happens, see if my game comes to the surface and I remember what to do.”
Allenby said he’s looking forward to renewing acquaintances with the guys he grew up playing with and against over much of the past 30 years. He played on six Presidents Cup teams and made the top 125 on the PGA TOUR money list for 13 consecutive years (2000-12).
Allenby said he renewed acquaintances with Darren Clarke on the putting green before a practice round at Sunningdale.
“Darren was really cool,” Allenby said. “I hadn’t seen him in a while. He was like, ‘Oh my God, you’re gonna love it. It’s so good. But don’t think these guys can’t play.’ He just said be prepared to play really well. Nothing has changed. Everyone plays hard.
“One thing he did say was these are three-round tournaments and it’s just go. Go as hard as you can as quick as you can. You can’t shoot level par and think you’ll do all right cuz you won’t. That fourth round is not there, he said.”
Allenby opened with a tidy 3-under 67 at Sunningdale before sliding on Friday and Saturday. He wasn’t unhappy with his game from tee to green, but his putter gave him all kinds of problems.
He never got comfortable with the speed of the greens during the Senior Open. He said his opening round easily could have been three or four strokes better, and his third round just left him shaking his head.
“I think I hit 16 greens on Saturday and I shot (6 over) 76,” Allenby said. “My caddie told me I had like 42 putts. Oh my God, that’s awful.”
Allenby said he he’s still plenty long off the tee, and his iron game appears to be in good enough shape to compete. As it does for so many of his new/old compatriots, his short season of 2021 probably will hinge on the flat stick.
“I’ve always been a bit of a streaky putter,” said Allenby, who makes his home in Jupiter, Florida. “My putting has actually been really good but last week it just disappeared.
“I’ve always been a fast-green putter. Growing up in Australia, we have some of the fastest greens in the world. The PGA TOUR has a standard where a majority of the time greens are at least running a 12. And I know the Champions Tour will have the same sort of green speed as well. It’s good to get this one out of the way and think about taking away all the positives and look forward to Calgary and hopefully moving forward and getting some good results.”