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Allenby, Ogilvy shape up at Australian PGA
By Wayne Heming
21:03 AEST Tue Dec 11 2012

Australian PGA tournament director Andrew Langford-Jones has laughed off suggestions boxing gloves may be issued to Robert Allenby and Geoff Ogilvy on the first tee at the Palmer Coolum Resort on Thursday.

Allenby and Ogilvy almost came to blows 12 months ago after a simmering Presidents Cup feud turned nasty in front of stunned onlookers dining in the resort's Village Square.

During their heated exchange a glass was smashed and Allenby invited Ogilvy to "step outside and settle things".

Their first round pairing in Thursday's opening round of the Australian PGA Championship raised eyebrows given neither golfer has spoken publicly about their relationship since their ugly Coolum clash.

Allenby, the only player from either side not to score a Presidents Cup point, had been critical of several of his teammates - one of which was Ogilvy, whom he said: "hit me into the trees three times off the tee".

During the final round at Coolum last year, as Allenby was charging up the leaderboard, Ogilvy posted on his Twitter account: "warms the heart to see Robert playing so well this week".

Allenby, who went on to lose a three-way playoff to Greg Chalmers at the event, confronted Ogilvy about his tweet, angrily accusing him of being sarcastic.

But Langford-Jones was confident the two players would conduct themselves professionally.

"Both players are consummate professionals and have no problems playing with each other," he said when asked about pairing Allenby and Ogilvy together with jovial Irishman Darren Clarke.

"Both of them were keen to play with each other. They're long time mates, they're Presidents Cup teammates.

"One night has made absolutely no difference to a lifelong friendship."

Neither player could be contacted for comment and it was unsure whether they'd been consulted although Langford-Jones insisted boxing gloves would not be required.

"It's more about what's best for the tournament and it was just a logical pairing," he said.

"My decision to put them together has absolutely nothing to do with last year's argument on Sunday night.

"That's a year ago.

"They are professional golfers, they play where they are drawn."

Meanwhile, Langford-Jones said players would get a free drop off any of the 61 painted advertisement signs on the 18 fairways, including a giant United States flag in front of the ninth green under a local ground under repair (GUR) rule.

"Basically if the ball lands within the rectangular area of a grass advertising sign, the player is entitled to take relief, no closer to the hole, dropping it in the same way as he would for any other Ground Under Repair circumstance," he said.

PGA officials raised concerns about the signs, cleverly positioned in landing zones around the course on Sunday, prompting the resort's billionaire owner and mining magnate Clive Palmer to threaten to pull the pin on the tournament.

But PGA of Australia chief executive Brian Thorburn said those issues had been resolved.

"We came out with a successful outcome and we have a great tournament kicking off on Thursday," he said.