It's a strange story, but Robert Allenby is sticking with it

It's a strange story, but Robert Allenby is sticking with it
Robert Allenby of Australia speaks with the media during a Jan 27 practice round before the start of the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale. (Scott Halleran / Getty Images)

Hands in pockets, eyes downcast much of the time, Robert Allenby talked about not being able to remember what happened that night in Honolulu.

"There is just nothing," he said. "I can't tell you how frustrating that is."


Almost two weeks have passed since the 43-year-old Australian golfer told police that he was beaten, robbed, thrown into the trunk of a car and dropped off at a park in the middle of the night.

Since then, several accounts have cast doubt on his initial story, including a report that placed him at a strip club spending thousands of dollars. On Tuesday, a nervous-looking and occasionally emotional Allenby talked to reporters at the Phoenix Open.

"There has definitely been a lot of confusion," he said. "But I think the No. 1 thing that you should all remember is that my story stays exactly the same as the way I told it."

This much seems certain: On the evening of Jan. 16, after missing the cut at the Sony Open, Allenby went to a wine bar with his caddie and a friend. Around 11 p.m., the group got up to go and became separated.

The next two-plus hours are a blank spot in Allenby's memory. He has seen surveillance video that shows him leaving the wine bar with three people, but he says he doesn't recognize them.

Later, Allenby told authorities he was abducted, robbed and dumped at a park some six miles away. He said a homeless woman and a passerby helped him catch a taxi back to his hotel at about 1:30 a.m.

But that woman told an Australian television crew that she found Allenby arguing with two local men — not the ones from the wine bar — at another location. And those men claim that Allenby was seriously impaired, stumbling and hurting himself when he fell to the ground.

Citing unnamed sources, the Golf Channel reported that Allenby had been spotted around midnight with a group of people at a nearby strip club.

"I take full responsibility if I did do something wrong," Allenby, a four-time winner on the PGA Tour, said Tuesday. "But as I said, from about 11:06 to about 1:27 a.m., I have no memory in my brain."

The story has generated enough buzz that Allenby's brief news conference nearly overshadowed the arrival of Tiger Woods, who will make his season debut in Scottsdale after missing much of last season because of injury.

Television crews followed Allenby across the grounds at TPC Scottsdale in the morning. He wore mirrored sunglasses and a visor, obscuring lacerations on the bridge of his nose and forehead.

Dozens of reporters and cameramen crowded around a small podium when spoke at midday.

Allenby appeared to tear up as he spoke of his teenage son and daughter. At other times, he seemed defiant.

"Obviously, the media have decided that they are the most amazing experts at investigations," he said, adding: "I was a victim, and all of a sudden you're putting all the blame on me."

Asked if he had learned anything from his experiences over the past two weeks, he said: "I realized that I don't have any friends in the media. Maybe one."

Honolulu authorities reportedly possess videotape of a man using Allenby's credit cards to purchase alcohol and are investigating for second-degree robbery and fraudulent credit-card use. Allenby hopes further details may be available by the end of the week.

"The police will come out with the right story," he said. "So please let them do their job."

In the meantime, his face has begun to heal and his headaches have subsided. Allenby said he decided to play in Scottsdale to put his life back in order.

This doesn't figure to be an easy week — not with all the questions and distractions — but his golf swing was in surprisingly good form during Tuesday's practice.

"I'm a professional golfer," he said. "Why should I let controversy put me out of the game I love?"

Follow David Wharton on Twitter @LATimesWharton