Ask Robert Allenby a question and he won’t respond with a lame, BS non-answer. He knows his honesty can cause plenty of controversy, but he just can’t help himself. When a reporter asked the Australian why American players don’t compete in more international tournaments, he stopped to think for a minute [via Golf.com]:
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.
Self-awareness! But then these words spewed out:
You know, Americans play for so much money, and when you’ve got a purse where $1 million, a million plus, is first prize, not to say that they are spoiled, 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 $500,000 or $600,000?
…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.
Translation: American players are ungrateful and xenophobic and PGA Tour course set-ups are lame and lack character. Oh, snaps! He makes good points — ones that many agree with — it’s just unexpected to hear them from a guy who plays full time on the PGA Tour. Of course, he means them with all due respect. But credit him for his refreshing candor.
We criticize Tiger Woods for his lack of opinions and monotonous answers that sound like he’s reciting a press release. When a player, like Allenby, actually speaks his mind, he’s dubbed an arrogant jerk. Well, you can’t have it both ways. Golf and the PGA Tour would probably be better off if more players had the nerve to take on Allenby’s approach. But unfortunately, most guys have been programmed to protect their pristine images that they wouldn’t dare utter anything slightly off-book.