Robert Allenby may not be as good an angler as he is golfer, but the man genuinely loves to fish — and he’s incorporated both sports into a worthwhile event.
Allenby, a native of Australia and veteran PGA Tour player, concluded his second annual Robert Allenby Bluewater Golf and Fishing Invitational just last weekend in Jupiter, Florida — and somehow I managed to finagle my way onto his boat, a 61-foot Viking named C’mon Aussie.
It was a great experience, as a) it’s always fun to fish from the comfort of a big sport-fisher; b) I love golf and have been watching Rob play for years; and c) I grew up in Jupiter and learned how to fish in these very waters. Perfect fit!
While we didn’t have what you might call an epic day by Jupiter’s lofty standards, we managed to catch enough fish and share enough laughs for a decent collection of photos.
And more importantly, I learned a little more about Rob. The guy is one of those rare sports stars who realizes he’s in a position that he can help others.
In fact, Allenby — a 22-time professional winner — just celebrated the 20th anniversary of his Robert Allenby Golf Day charitable event in Australia. No, this one does not involve fishing, but Rob has raised more than $20 million for children’s cancer research in his home country, where he ranks as a national hero.
Now, he hopes that his new event here in the States will grow to equal stature.
No, it will never be a hardcore, serious fishing tournament. Not designed to be. Instead, it’s a fun event that brings people together through the common bonds of fishing (and golf) with the purpose of providing funds to local kids and their families who are suffering from cancer.
I’d say that makes Allenby a pretty good bloke, to borrow the phrase.
As far as his fishing prowess goes, let’s just say Allenby is the perfect fit to host an event like this. He passionately loves the sport but doesn’t take it too seriously. And he laughs a lot on the water — after catching a beautiful jumping sailfish, he and I remarked to one another how alive it makes you feel to see something like that.
After that brief back-and-forth, I knew Rob was a real fisherman. And a good-hearted man.