Anthony Kim, Robert Allenby, and Golf's New Rivalry

Michael FitzpatrickFeatured ColumnistOctober 31, 2009

CASARES, SPAIN - OCTOBER 31:  Anthony Kim (L) of USA shakes hands with Robert Allenby of Australia on the 18th green during the Semi Finals of the Volvo World Match Play Championship at Finca Cortesin on October 31, 2009 in Casares, Spain.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Well, maybe “rivalry” isn't the best word to use when describing the tumultuous relationship between Anthony Kim and Robert Allenby.

After all, the word “rivalry” implies that these two players have been involved in some form of heated competition on the golf course.

The only heat involved in this competition has been in the form of hot air flowing from each player’s mouth.

Immediately following his 5-and-3 loss to Kim three weeks ago at the Presidents Cup, Allenby referred to Kim as a “loose cannon.”

He then went on to describe how some of his friends had seen Kim returning to his hotel room at 4 a.m. (just hours before his scheduled singles match against Allenby) and that Kim was not exactly sober at the time.

It’s always an ugly scene when an athlete appears bitter after a tough loss.

And the most obvious question that comes to mind upon hearing these allegations is why Allenby would possibly want to make it known that he was beaten by a guy who, according to his "friends’" account, was probably still drunk, or at least suffering from a terrible hangover when he stepped onto the first tee at 8 a.m. for their match.

Kim vehemently denied the accusations and said that if Allenby was bitter about the loss, maybe he should have practiced harder.

A PR nightmare was beginning to brew, and we all know how much the PGA Tour loves PR nightmares.

Less than 24 hours after the conclusion of the Presidents Cup matches, Allenby released a statement apologizing for his comments about Kim, while Kim released a statement of his own saying that he and Allenby had spoken by phone and the issue was “dead.”

But this week at the Volvo World Match Play Championship, which is taking place in Malaga, Spain, it's clear that the issue is far from “dead.”

Yesterday evening, when it became official that Kim would be facing off against Allenby in a 36-hole semifinal match, Kim was quoted as saying “I'm going to tell you what I'm going to do, 'Dinner at 6:30 here, be done by 7:30, shower eight, Internet and talk to some friends eight to nine, be in bed by 9:30!”

Aside from a quick “good luck” on the first tee box this morning, the two players barely acknowledged each other over the course of the next eight hours.

In a move that might have appeared spiteful to many, Kim declined to concede any putts to Allenby during the first 18 holes of the match.

Perhaps the move did show a touch of spite, or perhaps it was just intelligent match-play strategy.

Allenby is, after all, one of the worst putters on the PGA Tour.

With a large sum of money on the line, would you really be prepared to concede four-footers to a guy who would have trouble rolling a golf ball through a basketball hoop?

The match ended on the 32nd hole of the day with Kim leading by five holes with just four to play, thus concluding the latest episode of the Kim/Allenby high school soap opera.

The Volvo World Match Play Championship, being a European Tour event, falls outside of Principle Finchem’s jurisdiction.

However, before Kim decides to steal Allenby’s lunch money, or Allenby starts bullying Kim in the locker room, perhaps it would prudent for Principle Finchem to call both players into his office and settle this childish feud once and for all.

“Anthony Kim, you will refrain from all late-night activities before high-profile PGA Tour might actually win another tournament if you do so,” Finchem could begin by saying.

“And Robert Allenby, you will keep all gossip to yourself, and maybe you could also work a little harder at your putting so we could finally have a decent Presidents Cup match in 2011.”