ROBERT Allenby has arrived in Australia ready to prove the critics wrong as he attempts to turn around a year from hell at the NSW Open in Sydney.
The 45-year-old is in action in Western Sydney this week and admits 2016 was one of the worst of his life, but for now he’s focussed on regaining full status on the US PGA Tour.
On course, the Aussie veteran struggled and made just two cuts from 23 tournaments to bank only $AU 33,070 in prizemoney. It pales in comparison to the near $AU 36 million he has won on the lucrative US tour in his career.
Off the course, the troubles started with reportedly being beaten and robbed in Hawaii in January 2015 and continued with a caddie quitting his bag mid-round before an arrest this year– that was later dropped – for disorderly conduct outside a casino, as well as having a feud with fellow Aussie Aron Price on Twitter.
In 2017, the four-time US PGA Tour winner has only conditional status and possibly invites to just eight events but hopes to change that by winning the PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit – which would get him invites to WGC, European and US PGA Tour events next year.
Should Allenby triumph at the Australian PGA Championship in December, the European Tour co-sanctioned event affords the winner from Royal Pines full status in Europe until the end of the 2018 season.
The Victorian native will surely draw inspiration from his historic triple crown – winning the 2005 Australian Open, Masters and PGA Championship – as he looks to find form on the fairways.
Speaking to reporters at the Greg Norman-designed Stonecutters Ridge ahead of the first round of the NSW Open, Allenby said he had nearly quit “a thousand times” during the past two years.
“It’s only through my wife Kym and my kids and my family that it just pulled me back,” Allenby told AAP.
“Otherwise I would have gone a year ago. No question.
Allenby pointed to the money he has raised tens of millions of dollars for charity over a 25-year period and said it was disappointing the media focussed on negative stories.
“At the end of the day, I’ve done a lot more good than bad,” Allenby told reporters. “I haven’t killed anyone. I haven’t taken drugs – apart from being drugged – and I really haven’t done a lot wrong.
“We’re all humans and humans make mistakes. Whether I made a mistake that was caused by me, I will always own up to it so you’ve got to live with it too.
“Hopefully others will live with it too.”