Allenby chalks up 500th PGA Tour start

It’s time to give credit where it’s due folks.

For all the recent issues dominating the headlines surrounding the infamous night out in Hawaii, multiple caddie-related ‘misunderstandings’ and poor form over the past couple of years in particular, it’s a player of rare distinction that makes it to the PGA TOUR and stays long enough to chalk up a milestone of 500 appearances.

Robert Allenby Robert Allenby (Credit: Anthony Powter)

Victorian Robert Allenby will reach that mark when he tees up at the Barbasol Championship in Alabama, being played opposite The Open Championship starting tonight.

Allenby has struggled to show even a glimmer of form this season, making just one cut in 18 appearances to date.

However, over a career dating back to the early 90s, Allenby has amassed a considerable list of career achievements not to mention contributed significant time and money to charities in this country and the US.

Concentrating on the European Tour after bursting on the scene with a runner-up performance behind Wayne Riley as an amateur at the 1991 Australian Open – do you remember Riley’s outrageous birdie putt on the final green at Royal Melbourne to pip Allenby for the Stonehaven Cup.

Allenby quickly won two events early on in both 2000 and 2001 to establish what looked like being a prolific career in the winner’s circle after taking up PGA Tour membership.

While that certainly was the case for Allenby at home in Australia, the wins dried up in America even if the cash register didn’t stop ringing.

Allenby won in excess of a million dollars per season for 12 consecutive years in the US alone between 2000 and 2011 and represented the International team in six Presidents Cup fixtures along the way.

His $27.4 million in career earnings see him comfortably ensconced inside the Top 50 in all-time earnings which, barring a rapid and complete turnaround in form in the remainder of the 15/16 wraparound season, will see him capitalising on that status to secure a one-time exemption on Tour for another season.

Allenby has enjoyed and endured a tumultuous relationship with fans and media over the years but there’s no arguing he has been a constant presence on the PGA Tour and annually back home in Australia for the past 25 years.

Only his old mate Stuart Appleby (515) has played more PGA TOUR events among the Australians who have played the Tour in its history. For that alone, he deserves our respect as a player of rare skill and considerable longevity at the highest level.