Robert Allenby says he’s devastated after false claims following his Hawaii robbery prompted rumours a children’s cancer charity wanted to axe him as patron.
After missing the cut at the US PGA Tour’s Sony Open a month ago, Australian golfer Allenby reported being beaten and robbed in Honolulu, causing a media storm.
Reports then surfaced of Allenby running up a large bill at a local strip club during a period of time he cannot recall.
But a detective involved in the case last week confirmed there was no evidence of Allenby visiting the club, saying it was a case of mistaken identity.
In regards to Allenby’s stolen wallet, phone and credit cards, police have charged Honolulu man Patrick Owen Harbison, 32, with identity theft, attempted theft and unauthorised possession of confidential information.
A separate investigation on how Allenby received facial injuries and wound up passed out for a two-and-a-half-hour period when possibly drugged remains open.
“I’m not relieved or anything like that,” said 43-year-old Allenby ahead of this week’s Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles.
“I am disappointed more than anything.
“I am disappointed in the media worldwide and how they can report such false information about a human being.
“The whole time I have been the victim but my name will always be attached to a strip club that I was never at.
“I have my own children and a lot of children who follow me.
“I have a children’s cancer foundation (Challenge – supporting kids with cancer) where I have been the head patron for 24 years and raised $29 million and when there were rumours of them wanting to get rid of me as a head figure, it is devastating.
“I have put my heart and soul into that my whole life because a family friend died of cancer when we were 13 and for something like this to come up and potentially destroy that for me, is devastating, especially because I have done nothing wrong. Nothing.”
A winner at LA’s famed Riviera Country Club in 2001, Allenby is hoping the return to his favourite US tour course can kick start his season and get the focus back on his golf game.
“It’s a course I love, it’s a course I have played well many times before, not just when I won and it is a place where I come and I feel like I can just tee it up and play well,” Allenby said.
“It is just a matter of doing all the right things and having a clear mind.”
Allenby concedes having a clear mind is the battle he has been facing for the last month.
“This will always stick with me, I don’t think there is a way around that, it is now about finding a way to deal with it and move forward.”
Stuart Appleby, John Senden, Geoff Ogilvy, Steven Bowditch, Matt Jones, Marc Leishman and 2011 winner Aaron Baddeley join Allenby in the field.