Houston - Australian 'Triple Crown' winner
Robert Allenby lamented the demise of the Australian Masters after this year's
edition was axed, leaving the tournament facing an uncertain future.
Allenby, and fellow Australians Geoff
Ogilvy and Stuart Appleby said it was shame for a prestigious event whose past
champions include Tiger Woods and Greg Norman.
Allenby won the Australian Masters in 2003
and again in 2005, when he became the only player to clinch Australia's Triple
Crown of the Masters, Australian Open and Australian PGA.
"Of course, I was fortunate to win it
twice and while I am delighted that probably no one else will be able to say
they've won Australia's 'Big Three', another part of me is terribly sad to see
it go," he said at the Houston Open.
"So it's just a real shame that
Australian golf will not see 'The Big Three' anymore and that's what is going
to hurt so much."
Organisers IMG announced on Wednesday that
the Masters would not be played this year, and added that "new plans"
for the event would be unveiled in the coming months.
Allenby said: "It's been known IMG,
who have been backing the event, have being doing so at a loss for many years
and if you are running any business at a loss you eventually are going to have
to pull the pin."
Ogilvy, who won the US Open in 2006, said
he vividly remembers being a marshal at the 1990 Australian Masters in
Melbourne when he was just 13.
"So it's a big shame we're losing the
event but it's been kind of dying a slow death the last five or six years when
they took the event away from Huntingdale (golf club) and started bouncing it
around other courses in Melbourne and that really was the turning point,"
"Every year they were grinding to find
a sponsor but would always announce one very late, and the event just seemed
like it was simply treading water trying to stay afloat."
Appleby, who won the Australian Masters in
2010, also said the writing has been on the wall for several years.
"I'm not surprised any tournament
could find it's way onto the chopping block in Australia and I guess everything
has to go through cycles and that's the case with the Australian Masters,"
"The good aspect is that for some 85
to 95 percent of its life the Australian Masters has been a banging tournament
but for the last five years or so it's simply struggled.
"But as a kid growing up in Australia
going to Huntingdale, and the same golf course, year after year to see some of
the best players in the world compete was pretty cool."
First held in 1979, Norman became
synonymous with the tournament in its earlier years, amassing six gold jackets
in an astonishing stretch from 1981 to 1990.
It was won by Woods in 2009, with
Australian Peter Senior claiming the title at Huntingdale in Melbourne last