x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Bridges need mending between Allenby and Ogilvy

The Australian golfers must put their recent spat at the Presidents Cup behind them at the Australian Masters.

The Presidents Cup ended on a sour note for the International team when they lost at Royal Melbourne.

It deteriorated a week later when Robert Allenby and Geoff Ogilvy, both Melbourne natives who were partners in a foursomes loss, exchanged heated words in the hotel restaurant.

Allenby spent a week answering questions about his 0-4 record as a captain's pick, in which he said his partners also contributed to the loss. He mentioned Ogilvy's tee shots into the trees and Retief Goosen missing his share of putts.

When they confronted each other in the hotel, according to various reports, Allenby suggested they take the matter outside and Ogilvy did not back down. It ended with Allenby walking away.

Ogilvy said on Twitter last week when Allenby got into contention at the Australian PGA Championship, "Warms the heart to see Robert playing so well this week." He later told the media the tweet was genuine, although Allenby interpreted it as sarcastic.

At the root of this spat is the tendency to rate individual play in a team competition, which is never a good idea, and rarely accurate.

Allenby was the only player who did not win a point.

But he was on the losing end to Jim Furyk and Phil Mickelson, one of the strongest American teams, and he and Ogilvy were beaten by Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson, a tandem that lost only one of their four matches.

In the Allenby-Ogilvy match, Ogilvy hit three successive tee shots to the right. Two led to a loss of the hole, and on the other, Allenby made a 15-foot par putt for a half. Allenby also made a 20-foot par putt to extend the match on the 15th, yet he missed four birdie putts inside 12 feet that would have won the holes.

When Allenby hit into a tree on the 15th, Ogilvy said: "Getting back at me?" It was good banter by two Aussies who understand "sorry" is the worst word in a team match.

And when the Presidents Cup was over, Ogilvy was genuinely disappointed for Allenby, knowing he would be pounded by the press. And he was.

Allenby did not want to rehash the argument with Ogilvy when contacted on Tuesday.

"I had nothing bad to say about Geoff at all, and I never really will," Allenby said.

"It's such a shame it happened the way it did."

Now, he returns to Melbourne for the Australian Masters with relationships to mend.

* Associated Press