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November 19, 2009

Robert Allenby


GORDON SIMPSON: New clubs, the new grooves, new course record; all in all, good day's work.
ROBERT ALLENBY: Yeah, it was nice. I played well. Hit the ball very well tee-to-green. I think I only missed one green, which was 17, and I was just in-between clubs there and didn't really commit to the 5-iron. But made a good up-and-down in the trap.
You know, overall, I hit it well and just sort of cruised around.
GORDON SIMPSON: What made you change clubs at this stage of the season, when the new regulations don't come into force until January?
ROBERT ALLENBY: Well, I figured that -- I only just got the clubs last week when I got home from HSBC, they were sitting there. So I hit them once on the range and I was like, oh, will I, will I or won't I? And then I just left them in the box until Sunday afternoon, or Sunday morning.
I thought, oh, b*&#*r, I'll get them out and hit them again. I really liked the way they felt and I really liked the way the trajectory, the way the ball was coming off the face, and I got with on the TrackMan back home in Florida at the Bear's Club and we worked out that I wasn't losing any distance. I wasn't gaining a lot of distance. I tried to work out what I needed to do to actually create more spin if I needed it, and so I worked on that part. And it really -- as long as they say new, the grooves, I don't think -- my ball flight is so much better than what it was, and I've really noticed a big change in that part of it.
Obviously the greens here this week are a little slow -- I mean, a little soft, very quick, actually. They are a little soft at the moment, so it's a hard thing to gauge whether the grooves are -- but I definitely like them and I think it's going to help me.

Q. How difficult have you found it playing globally on more than one tour, and do you think it's a trend that will catch on?
ROBERT ALLENBY: Well, I can only speak for myself. I've definitely enjoyed it. The last couple of months, I've been in Spain for a couple of weeks, in China, and I went back to Florida and now I'm here this week in Dubai. I'm going to be back in China next week and then I'm going to be in South Africa the week after that. And then I'll be down in Australia the week after that.
So I think for me, it's no problem. As an Australian, you've always -- we had to learn how to travel and we had to learn how to travel young. If we're ever going to survive and we're ever going to make it in this game, we had to go outside of Australia.
Australia, I know when I first turned pro about 18 or so years ago, we had 23, 24 tournaments down in Australia. Australia was a good tour. It still is a good tour, but we just don't have the tournament numbers that we used to. So in that respect, we have to go to Europe, we have to go to Japan, we have to go to America, one or the other.
So you learn to travel. Yeah, it's tiring. It's definitely tiring. It takes more of a toll when you get to the age of 38. It was a lot easier when I was 26. I think I'm just more wiser now, so I know how to recover a lot quicker, and obviously I'm stronger and I'm playing a lot better, as well.
My plan next year is to do exactly the same thing. Maybe play a few more tournaments on The European Tour. I've really enjoyed coming across and seeing all of my old friends again and playing with them. It's just been -- it's definitely been a lot more relaxing, that's for sure. It's been nice.

Q. Do you think your American colleagues find it harder to adopt that mind-set? Seems a bit more tricky to get them out of their home country.
ROBERT ALLENBY: You know what, I've got to word this right so I don't get into trouble, because I'm good at getting myself into trouble.
You know, America plays for so much money, and when you've got a purse where $1 million it, a million plus, is first prize, not to say that they are spoilt, but it's a little bit that way. It's like, well, why would I want to travel, when I can make a million bucks instead of going to Europe and only making 500-, or 600,000.
Me, personally, I don't look at that part of it. I look at -- the reason why I want to travel and play elsewhere is because I want my game to get better, and always, even at the age of 38, I want to get better. And the only way you can get better is to play different golf courses. If you're playing the same golf course every week, every year that you come back to, it just gets a little boring. For me, that's what I've found. I've got a little bit bored playing in America. I'll still play there full time, but I'm still going to try to play more tournaments in Europe at the same time and combine the two together.
But I just think, you know, they have got it a little bit too easy. It's just everything is handed to them on a silver plate. And not to be rude or anything like that, because I'm very respectful for the amount of money that we do play for in America. We are very lucky and very fortunate. But I think the money that we play for in America, that's the reason why you don't see a lot of Americans or a lot more international players coming over and playing in Europe. They are in a comfort zone, and I think that's pretty much what it is.
GORDON SIMPSON: Did you not think the standards have also improved here, since you played in Europe in the 90s?
ROBERT ALLENBY: Well, yes, you only have to look at The Ryder Cups. Europe has dominated The Ryder Cups over the last ten years. Look at all of the Europeans that are in the Top-50 in the world. Europe is as strong -- this is as strong as I've ever seen it. And especially with the talent that is right there, I mean, you've only got to look at The Race to Dubai, there are flawless golfers. You look at Paddy Harrington, three majors, as well, in the space of a year or so.
Europe's got just as good of golfers as America does, no doubt about it. Maybe better.

Q. Apologies if the Australia writers got your opinion on this some weeks ago, but what did you think of the Tiger Woods appearance money issue last week?
ROBERT ALLENBY: I thought it was fine. About a year ago, I encouraged them. I said, well, if you're sick of golf in Australia and you're bored, you need to get someone like Tiger Woods. You know, pay the money, get him down there. The economy will make more money; the state will make more money from it. You know, they paid what -- 3 million or whatever it was and I think they made 34 million. So not a bad deal. Not a bad gig.
You know, he's the best in the world. He is the best, and probably when he finishes his career, he will be the greatest of all time. He only has, you know, four more majors to match Jack Nicklaus, so I think every cent they spent was worthwhile. I mean, I think they should really concentrate on getting himself and maybe Mickelson and combining it.

Q. But do you gather that effort is being made?
ROBERT ALLENBY: I'm not -- I wouldn't know, because I wasn't there last week. I think it's worth it. I think we need to do it, because you know, the media and all that down there are definitely saying that golf is getting old and washed up down in Australia. We've got more great players than we've ever had, but you know, we can only do as good as we do, and we just leave it up to the promoters and the media to go from there.
But I think it was a great success having Tiger Woods, definitely.

Q. Just going back to this European Tour/PGA Tour sort of differences, and I think you may have answered this, but I'd just like to put it to you specifically. When you tee up in a European Tour event, do you feel that the level of competition you're going to face that week, is it the same standard or higher or below what you would do if you were doing the same thing in America?
ROBERT ALLENBY: I think it's about the same. It might even be -- I'd say it's very similar, yeah. I mean, I'm bordering on maybe better. You've only got to look at the field this week.
But yeah, I think it's pretty equal. It's hard to say which way it's going to go.

Q. Just turning back the clock, you were talking about the 90s. You were famous for one shot about this time of the year, then you sort of got held up in your career by injury. Do you feel like you were playing as well now as you were at that time when potentially you could have won the European Order of Merit then and perhaps kicked on a little quicker? Did the injury actually hold you back, do you feel?
ROBERT ALLENBY: Yeah, definitely, a few years, yeah. You know, physically, probably two years. And then the mental parts that come with it, as well.
So you know, definitely. It was a bit of a struggle there for a few years to get -- really just to try and find the play that I had prior to the accident. You know, I've just won three times and I was looking good to try and beat Monty for the Order of Merit. I couldn't play in the last five tournaments, and still come third.
You know, a lot of things happen in your life, and at the same time, I'm very grateful that I'm still alive. Because it was a near-fatal car accident. So then you've got to look at the other side of the scale, as well. You've got to look at the positive side as I'm here and I still have the opportunity to play the game that I love so much.
You know, I've had times where I've played like I did in '96, and then I've had times where I haven't, but if I was ever going to say that I was close to '96, that would have been back in '05 where I won the Triple Crown down in Australia, the PGA, the Open and the Masters, three weeks in a row. That would be the equivalent to the way I was playing in '96. I had no fear and I could do anything I felt like I wanted to.
So I'm playing well now, too. This year's been a little bit up-and-down, obviously, with losing my mom. That was a bit of a struggle early in the year. But things are coming good now. I feel like I've spiced up my game a little bit by coming back over to Europe and playing.

Q. I was going to ask you, I'm not too sure Gordon mentioned this in his introductory remarks, apologies if he did; the fact that you now have the course record on this course, a course designed by a player who has been so important in the career of many Australians, how special would that be?
ROBERT ALLENBY: It's good. I hope it stands up for the rest of the week. Or hopefully I'll beat it.
Yeah, you know, I've always admired Greg Norman and obviously all of the golf courses I've played that have been his, I've always loved them, as well. I love the way the bunkering is. These greens, they are pretty severe in some spots, but very fair. And they do give you great opportunities if you hit great shots. It gives you great opportunities for a lot of birdies. But I think it's a great design.
You know, obviously I've played really well to shoot 7-under. You know. We've got perfect conditions, as well. So I think if the wind got up, it might make things a little trickier. But yeah, very happy to shoot the course record on his course.
I did see him yesterday. I was about to tee off the first hole and I saw this sort of blond-haired sort of person, a little bit of grey hair mixed in there, as well. Saw him draw in on the golf cart and I was like, 'Hey, what are you doing here.' No, it was good. Yeah, I think he's done a good job.
GORDON SIMPSON: Okay, keep it going. Thank you very much, Robert.

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