PGA Tour veteran Robert Allenby and his caddie had a heated dispute during the Canadian Open that led a midround firing.
Caddie Mick Middlemo said Thursday he walked off the course in Oakville, Ontario, because of a series of “personal insults.” Allenby had a fan jump in to caddie for his last nine holes.
Allenby and Middlemo had a discussion before his fourth shot on the par-5 13th at Glen Abbey Golf Club. According to Golf.com, Allenby wanted a use a 7-iron, but the discussion focused on the 8-iron for the shot, which was about 150 yards out.
Allenby’s shot fell short of the hole and into a creek. The 44-year-old Australian tripled-bogeyed the hole and went on to shoot a 9-over 81. Allenby later withdrew from the tournament after the first round.
“I said to him, ‘You know this happens every week. This has happened for like the last three or four or five months. We keep making bad mistakes, and you’re not helping me in these circumstances,'” Allenby told ScoreGolf.com. “And he just lost the plot at me. He just told me I could go eff myself.
“And I said, ‘Look, you need to slow down. I mean just calm down.’ And then he just got right in my face as if he wanted to just beat me up. I said, ‘Stop being a such and such and calm down and get back into the game.’ And he just got even closer and closer, and I just said, ‘That’s it, you’re sacked.’ I said, ‘I will never have you caddie ever again.’
“And we never spoke for the rest of the (first nine), and when we got to 18 we walked off, and he said some smart (expletive) remark to me, and I said, ‘You don’t deserve to be caddying out there.’ And he just got right in my face and threatened me, so I said, ‘Go.’ So he left.”
Middlemo confirmed most of Allenby’s remarks, but the caddie disputed the initial conversation that led to the dispute.
“I just wished it had never gone this far. But he is again using the media to make himself look like the victim,” Middlemo told
ESPN.com. “The discussion was only about waiting for the wind to die down and hit the 8-iron; the 7-iron was never discussed. Not once. He came up 10 meters short of the front of the green. … He hit a bad shot.
“He said, ‘I can’t believe this fat (expletive),’ loud enough for everyone to hear. There’s a lot as a caddie I can take but a personal attack like that. … If this was an office in any country in the world, that would be considered bullying. … I can take it if you call me the worst caddie in the world, tell me I’m horrible at picking clubs, but there’s a line you just can’t cross.”
Middlemo told GolfChannel.com that it was Allenby who lost his cool.
“I said, ‘Look, if you want someone to abuse, get someone out of the parking lot,'” Middlemo said. “He said, ‘I’m going to get a caddie banned for life on this tour.’ And I asked if it was me, and he said, ‘Yes.’ That was it.”
Middlemo is the fourth caddie to walk off during a round while working for Allenby, according to ESPN.com.
“I’m a pretty big bloke — 6-2 and (243 pounds) — and can handle myself,” Middlemo told FoxSports.com. “He wouldn’t have said that stuff to me anywhere other than on a golf course. He’s just a bully. He likes to bully caddies. You couldn’t get away with that in any workplace in the world, but somehow he thinks it’s appropriate on a golf course.
“It’s the worst I’ve ever heard. But it’s not like I’m the first guy this has happened to with him. I’m the fourth caddie to walk off the golf course with him.”
In January, Allenby said he was beaten and robbed several hours after he missed the cut in the Sony Open in Hawaii.
Allenby said he had no memory of what happened for 2 1/2 hours after he left a Honolulu restaurant, where he was dining with friends, until he woke up in a park with a bloodied face. A resident of Hawaii pleaded guilty last month to using Allenby’s credit cards.