“In all honesty I’ve felt more welcome here than I do when I go home,” he said. “People have been very excited for me to be here playing.
“I can feel the appreciation from the people around that I’m here playing and I don’t feel that when I’m at home. That’s probably why I came down here this year.”
Tim Clark will be back at the Australian Open to defend his title this year at NSW Golf Club but it is somewhat ironic that Robert Allenby has chosen to tee up at the invitational Sun City Challenge in South Africa, which is held in the same week – missing his first Australian Open in 21 years. Immediately after being abused by the drunks in last year’s event he said:
“That was 20 years straight of the Australian Open and I thought, that’s it. I’m not ever playing another Australian Open again and I’m not playing in Sydney again.
Reports have said he did not choose to bypass the Australian Open due to his outburst about the ‘party hole’ at last years event. That may well be the case with the Sun City Challenge carrying a $US1.2 million winner’s purse compared to the total prize money for the Australian Open of $A1.5 million dollars.
The ‘party hole’ has been scrapped though as reported by Aussie Golfer in August which is probably a good thing. I’m not sure the golf course really is the place heavy drinking. This isn’t some outback tournament, this is the Australian Open.
An Australian heads to South Africa and a South African returns to Australia to play. Despite some evidence to suggest otherwise, I can’t help but think it’s largely due to the tall poppy syndrome us antipodeans do so well.