Allenby eyeing Australian PGA return at Royal Queensland

The only man to hoist the Joe Kirkwood Cup at Royal Queensland Golf Club is hoping for a COVID-19 miracle so that he can return in December and contend for a third time.

On Monday it was announced that the Australian PGA Championship will be played at Royal Queensland from December 2-5, almost exactly a year from when the 2020 tournament was scheduled before international travel restrictions made staging the event unfeasible.

Barring any further health concerns and always taking Government advice into consideration, the PGA intends to press ahead with the 2021 championship and Robert Allenby hopes to be present.

A four-time winner of the Australian PGA, Allenby was victorious at Royal Queensland in successive years in 2000 and 2001 and now, 20 years later, has expressed his intent to return to continue his love affair with the golf course.

“I hope so, yeah. Obviously if we don’t have the COVID issues, I’m 100 per cent there,” said Allenby, whose two other PGA championships both came at Hyatt Coolum in 2005 and 2009.

“My dad’s still alive, July 11 he turns 92, and he’s still going strong. I’ve got a brother and two sisters in Australia, a lot of family, and I didn’t get to see any of them last year which was such a bummer.

“I had plans to come down and play in tournaments last year and then when they got postponed and eventually cancelled, I was quite bummed.

“I was really looking forward to coming down and playing a full schedule in February, thinking that, OK, they postponed it to February, we’re going to have the Vic Open, Australian Open, PGA. It would have been awesome. It was just a bummer that it all unfolded the way it did with COVID and so forth.

“Hopefully this year it’ll all pan out and be great.”

Entered to play this week’s MGM Resorts Championship at Paiute on the Korn Ferry Tour, Allenby is currently in the process of priming his game and his body for an upcoming assault on the Champions Tour.

Turning 50 on July 12, Allenby is aiming to make his seniors debut at the Senior Open Championship at Sunningdale Golf Club on July 22 and has been working intently to elevate his game back near to the level that earned four PGA TOUR wins and 12 victories on the PGA Tour of Australasia.

“The last few years, my golf hasn’t been anywhere near the way it can be,” Allenby conceded from his home in Florida.

“It’s frustrating, but if you don’t put the effort in and the time, you can’t expect anything.

“What I’ve been doing over the course of the last year is just working on my health physically and then I know that helps me mentally.

“Now I’m starting to play some tournaments. I’m going a week on, a week off, a week on, a week off. Whether I’m playing on the main tour or the Korn Ferry Tour, I’m just going to pace my way until I get to mid-July and hopefully be ready to go for the Champions Tour.

“The great thing is, is I’ve got a pretty long exemption out there from what I’ve achieved in my career over here and it will just be nice to go out and play with my buddies again and try and actually hit it past most of them.”

The Australian PGA Championship is co-sanctioned with the European Tour, and forms one of the early events on the 2022 European Tour schedule.

Hosting the tournament in Brisbane has been made possible by support and collaboration between the Queensland Government, through Tourism and Events Queensland, and Brisbane City Council, through Brisbane Economic Development Agency.

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