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Canadian Open: Robert Allenby fires caddie Mick Middlemo mid-round after dispute

07/24/2015 12:21 EDT | Updated 07/23/2016 05:59 EDT
Four birdies, five pars, seven bogeys and two triple bogeys en route to a nine-over-par 81 to begin the Canadian Open?

Sounds like a good time to assess all facets of your game, right?

Or, if you're Robert Allenby, turf your caddie mid-round.

Problems between Mick Middlemo and Allenby during Thursday's opening round at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ont., began on the par-5 13th hole, according to Golf.com.

Middlemo insisted Allenby use an 8-iron for his fourth shot from about 150 yards out. The Australian golfer preferred a 7-iron but went with his caddie's advice and then watched his shot fall short of the hole and into a creek, leading to a triple bogey.

"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,'" said Allenby of Middlemo.

"And he just lost the plot at me. He just told me I could go eff myself."

When Middlemo reportedly got closer to Allenby's face, the latter said: "That's it, you're sacked. I will never have you caddie again." And they never spoke for the first nine holes.

Middlemo, though, had a different account of how the start of Allenby's round unfolded.

He told foxsports.com.au that Allenby had abused him after the approach shot at the 13th hole.

"I said, 'Look, if you want someone to abuse, get someone out of the parking lot,'" Middlemo told GolfChannel.com. "He said, 'I'm going to get a caddie banned for life on this [PGA] Tour.' And I asked if it was me, and he said, 'Yes.' That was it."

Fan offers to carry bag

Prior to starting the back nine holes, Allenby, who is prohibited by PGA Tour rules from carrying his own clubs, summoned fan Tom Fraser, a 61-year-old principal at Ontario's Acheron College at Kingston Penitentiary, who carried Allenby's bag for the remainder of his round.

Fraser, who thought Middlemo had wandered off to the washroom and would return, hadn't caddied in the past and kept out of Allenby's way for the first few holes. Allenby birdied his first hole with Fraser on the bag but later had four consecutive bogeys, finishing with a 43.

Middlemo, who started working with Allenby this year, told GolfChannel.com that the golfer likes to bully caddies and that he is the fourth caddie to walk off the course during a round while working for him.

Fans in Oakville have seen the last of Allenby this week as he promptly withdrew from the tournament and was planning to fly home.

It's been a tumultuous season for the 44-year-old native of Melbourne. At a tournament in Hawaii in January, he claimed he was mugged outside a wine bar, kidnapped and dropped at a remote location.

However, witnesses said Allenby was drunk, fell and hurt himself, while others claimed the golfer spent thousands of dollars at a strip bar before the alleged incident.

On the course, the 390th-ranked golfer in the world has missed cuts at 10 of 15 PGA Tour events in 2015 and withdrawn from back-to-back tourneys (also the Greenbrier Classic on July 5). Allenby's best finish was a tie for 51st at The Honda Classic in March but he has still managed to earn $265,098 US.

Since joining the Tour in 1991, Allenby has won four times in 477 events, twice each in 2000 and 2001, and earned more than $27 million.

As for Fraser, he will return to Glen Abbey on Friday after celebrating Thursday's "experience of a lifetime" over beers with three friends that travelled with him from Kingston.

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