Robert Allenby has been haunted for years by the infamous Taken night that remains a mystery

The world may never know exactly what happened to a golf champion who announced that he was kidnapped, beaten, robbed, thrown in the trunk of a car and dumped at a Hawaiian park.

Even seven years later, Robert Allenby does not seem to know what happened to him.

The controversial Australian told Golf Digest about a saga that caught the world’s attention – which led to skepticism – and which led to a personal and professional spiral in his life.

What the world knows is that Allenby missed the cut at the Sony Open in January 2015, drinking with then-caddy Mick Middlemo and his pal Anthony Puntoreiro. Allenby said he believed his drink had been spiked at the bar, and he awoke bloodied – discovered by a homeless woman – in a nearby park without his credit cards, wallet and phone.

Allenby posted a selfie of his injuries and his story – that he had been mugged and kidnapped – went viral. But the homeless woman denied the kidnapping aspect, and Middlemo later denied the account, telling News Corp Australia he believed Allenby had fallen and hit his head.

Allenby was definitely robbed and Patrick Owen Harbison was arrested in connection with the credit card fraud case. But Allenby has never pressed charges of assault, and the mystery remains.

Robert Allenby posted this photo to Twitter after the 2015 incident.
Robert Allenby posted this photo to Twitter after the 2015 incident.
Robert Allenby/Twitter

“We know he fell or tripped and hit his head. We checked things against what people were telling us and his injuries and the stone,” John McCarthy, who was then the Honolulu Police Department’s chief investigator, told Golf Digest. “He said he was attacked, but we just don’t know for sure. He could have been attacked. He could have been hit from behind as he was walking down Kapiolani Boulevard, or he could have been pushed or shoved and then they would have taken his wallet. You can tell when someone is lying and [Allenby] didn’t lie. Let’s put it that way. . . it’s more than 50-50 that he was attacked but we can’t prove that.”

Allenby said he had no regrets disclosing his account because he simply passed on what the homeless woman told him.

“I’m not embarrassed,” he told the outlet. “I didn’t say I was thrown out of the trunk of a car. I said I was told I was thrown out of the trunk of the car. One reporter said, “It sounds like the movie ‘Taken,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, it does.’ Agreeing with him and what the homeless lady said to me made the story even worse.”

Regardless, the story of a kidnapping that suddenly may not have been a kidnapping has haunted him (as have other public incidents, such as Middlemo’s mid-round firing). His PGA Tour career deteriorated, as did his mental health.

According to Golf Digest, which caught up with Allenby at Admirals Cove, a country club in Jupiter, Fla., there would be long periods when Allenby would not leave the property.

“I didn’t want to be in the public eye and have to deal with people saying negative things about me,” Allenby said. “I’ve lost confidence in my Golf. I’ve lost confidence in myself. I fought as a human.”

Robert Allenby eyeing a putt in 2018
Robert Allenby eyeing a putt in 2018
Getty Images

He took antidepressants for six years and saw a psychologist.

“It was a very weak time. I had so much fear and anxiety building up inside me,” Allenby said. “It ruined my confidence to go outside and stand in front of people because I [believed] they always talked about it.”

Seven years later he is better and off the antidepressants. He turned 50 last summer, which qualified him for PGA Tour Champions.

“The chance to go out there and compete again is pretty cool,” he told the outlet. “There aren’t many jobs that give you a second chance.” Robert Allenby has been haunted for years by the infamous Taken night that remains a mystery


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