Robert Allenby got into a heated argument over club selection with his caddie Mick Middlemo just four holes into his first round at the RBC Canadian Open yesterday, culminating in screaming, cursing, and Middlemo being fired right there on the course, leading Allenby to pull a fan out of the gallery to carry his bag.
Just another incident in a weird, weird year for the 44-year-old Australian. With 150 yards to the pin on the par-5 13th, Middlemo recommended an 8-iron. Allenby wanted to go with a seven. Middlemo held fast, and Alleby’s short landed in a creek short of the green.
What happened next depends on who you ask. Here’s how Allenby described it to ScoreGolf.com:
“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. 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 smartass 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.”
And here’s Middlemo’s version, recounted to GolfChannel.com:
Middlemo told GolfChannel.com that it was Allenby who went on a profane rant, telling the caddie, “I’m so sick of this fu——- bu——— you c—-.”
“I said, ‘Look, if you want someone to abuse, get someone out of the parking lot,’” Middlemo said. “And then he said it to me again and I said, ‘I dare you to call me a c—- again.’ That was it.”
And that “smartass remark” on 18?
Middlemo had a different account of what transpired. “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,” he said.
“He was 20 yards ahead of me and I put the bag down and got my stuff and hung my bib on the bag and then I walked away and went home.”
Middlemo, who spoke with Tour officials afterward about the incident, said he is the fourth caddie to walk off during a round while working for Allenby.
Allenby, who withdrew from the tournament after carding an 11-over 81, requested a security escort when leaving the course because he claimed Middlemo had threatened to wait for him in the parking lot.
The mess turned out to be a dream for Tom Fraser, a 61-year-old school principal who noted Allenby carrying his own bag and volunteered to help. Allenby said why not, and Fraser caddied for the final nine holes. He called it “the experience of a lifetime.”