Allenby the play-off king
Monday 02 September 1996
The usual journeyman Tour pro's reaction to any further criticism of the Tour by world-class players is that for the money they play for - the purse for the One2One British Masters was pounds 700,000 - they would be happy to play on the M1. Collingtree Park is the nearest thing to it, and after an attack of annual meadow grass decline, the greens were rolled into something resembling the surface of a battered motorway.
Collingtree is a European Tour Course, bought from the receivers two years ago by European Design, a joint venture between the PGA European Tour and the International Management Group. The British Masters, which enjoyed a long run at Woburn before moving to Collingtree last year, is promoted by a joint venture between the Tour and IMG. The television pictures, shown on Sky in Britain, were produced by European Tour Productions, a joint venture between the Tour and IMG.
Two years ago, Seve Ballesteros said: "Very soon it will be the IMG tour and not the players' tour." At the same time Nick Faldo upped and left, miffed that his well-intended criticisms of the Tour were shot down in flames. Colin Montgomerie, the European No 1, has repeated he will not be following Faldo full-time to the US Tour, despite increasing his transatlantic schedule next year, but said: "We can't afford for this to happen again." Before leaving the tournament on Saturday, Monty made the point of seeking out the sponsor's marketing manager to "explain the position of the players".
The tournament did get a worthy winner in Robert Allenby. Miguel Martin, who made up five shots to tie with the Australian, lost on the first play- off hole. Allenby has won three times this year, has a four-nil play- off record and should now play all four majors next year after only making two of them this year.
Last week in Melbourne, he attended the funeral of Matthew Fleming, a 20-year-old haemophiliac who died of Aids. "He came to my golf day last year," Allenby said. "He said I was his hero and he touched my heart. I went to see him in hospital and it makes you sit back and think how lucky you are. It was always in the back of my mind this week."
Final scores, Digest, page 21
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