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July 9, 2006

Allen Doyle


RAND JERRIS: Is it's a pleasure to welcome this afternoon the 27th United States Senior Open champion, Allen Doyle.

ALLEN DOYLE: Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Q. 8 under par for the championship, became the first champion to successfully to defend his title since Gary Player in 1987 and 1988. Allen, could you tell us what it means to you to be sitting here again one year later with this trophy right next to you?

ALLEN DOYLE: Well, it's unbelievable. I come to each site kind of and everybody kind of puts me in with the others. And to win with Tom in the last group and everybody expecting him to have a banner day and to have Loren Roberts in the group, he's you know, he and Jay Haas have been killing us this year.

So it's a huge thrill. And then, again, to add another USGA event to I thought last year was pretty neat going to each place. And being the USGA champion, I get to do it again for another year. That will be even better.

RAND JERRIS: Can you share with us your thoughts as you dropped that long putt on the 17th hole particularly after Tom had pitched his ball so close.

ALLEN DOYLE: Yeah. Well, I had thought Tom would do something like that, because that's the way it always kind of happens. He's fearless and he was down there and he knew what he had to do and he did it.

I kind of looked at it as a freebie, kind of. I didn't have to worry about my speed going down there. I felt if I could read it good, then maybe if I could make it, now instead of being up by one I would be up by two. So I kind of viewed it as a freebie, kind of. That if I made it, it was a bonus.

And if I didn't, I was going to make sure that I didn't do anything stupid. I was going to try to make sure I didn't do anything stupid. And go to the last hole with a one shot lead and make him do something there to tie or beat me.

But honestly, I felt like I had kind of a freebie.

Q. What was the distance on that putt?

ALLEN DOYLE: I would say about 12 to 14 feet, something like that. But I must have played probably eight inches of break on it without a lot of speed. When it got going down that hole and kept going left, that was a beautiful site.

RAND JERRIS: Some questions, please.

Q. You seemed to relish the underdog role. Why is that?

ALLEN DOYLE: Well, because I am one. So, you know, being the underdog is not a bad thing. It allows you actually to come into town and take care of business. Practice without people bothering you. Get a look at the golf course without people bothering you. And I actually feel it's easier to play when you come to town a lot like that.

Fred Funk said it in the paper. He came as the favorite and everybody wanted to ask him how many strokes he was going to win by.

That's harder to play under than it is kind of coming in under the radar. So that's fine with me. It will happen again next year. It will happen next week. That's fine with me.

Q. Back on Saturday you talked about pin placement on a number of the greens on Saturday. Compare that to the pin placements today.

ALLEN DOYLE: Well, I thought they were tough today. If you noticed, there were a lot of front pins, which made it awful tough to get close. I thought.

And then you had pins on geez, you had on I mean, a bunch of holes. If you went to 16, if you went three paces right of the hole you were off.

18, if you got a few paces left of the hole you were sharp off.

10, they had tucked right. I thought the pins were very tough today.

Q. Other than your wife, was there anybody in the gallery that was rooting for you today do you feel or not?

ALLEN DOYLE: I don't think so.

(Laughter.) I think a few of them changed allegiances when I hit into 18.


Q. You talked about feeding off of that, but how difficult is that at times to how mentally tough do you have to be to do that?

ALLEN DOYLE: Well, you got to be I don't want to toot my own horn, but if things are going pretty good, it's you know, it's not that tough. I mean, if things are going bad it's brutal because you can't get righted.

But it's an opportunity to when Tom made his putt on 14, nothing silences a crowd and nothing says more to another player is when you top them, and that's my mindset. I'm not worried about, oh, I got to make this, got to make this, got to make this. I looked at it as, boy, when I top him, that's going to mean something.

And I think if you look at it that way and that's the way I try to look at it. That I use it as a positive instead of getting over that putt and saying, oh, boy, now I thought I would have a free wheel at it, and I don't now. I mean it's still an opportunity to make a statement, and that's what you're out there for.

Q. Same thing with 17?

ALLEN DOYLE: Same thing with 17. 17, to me, that was less pressure than 14. Because 14 you expect to make that putt if you're doing what you're supposed to.

17, you're not supposed to.

Q. Along that theme, the home field advantage that Tom had, does it make it a little easier for you to overcome that or accept that when they're rooting for a guy who's been such a great player?

ALLEN DOYLE: Sure. Oh, absolutely. Yeah. Absolutely. He's there are a lot of champions in the world, but there aren't as many champion gentlemen. So it's very easy to take it like today where they were 100 percent behind him because he's an asset to your state being who he is. And it's easier to take with that, yeah.

Q. Was your wife following you today?

ALLEN DOYLE: Yes, she did. Yeah, she's in the back of the room. She wants to she wants the check, I think.

Q. Do you think anybody but her seriously, do you think anybody but her?

ALLEN DOYLE: Oh, no, absolutely not. You know, and if anybody was, if you grabbed anybody and they said they were, they were probably lying. You know, that's okay.

I'm sure some of the other players you know, I've got some pretty good friends and players I'm sure, if they had their druthers they were maybe rooting for me. But we were in the minority.

Q. Your tenacity against a crowd, that was probably not for you. Having had to play against Tom Watson with a history as a great closer, how would you describe yourself as a golfer when it comes to that kind of quality?

ALLEN DOYLE: Well, it depends. It all depends the way you look at it. I look at stuff like that again as an opportunity. I can't lose.

Today I was in a no lose position. See, if Tom won, he was supposed to win, you know. As long as I gave him a pretty good battle, everybody would have been saying, "Great playing Al," you know.

But these opportunities don't come around a lot. And that's why we need these good players to play our TOUR. Because when you beat them it means so much more. Your win means so much more when these guys play. And it means even more when they're in contention and people expect them to win.

So I try to get it at the lowest level. It's an opportunity for me. I'm in a no lose position. If I play well and I happen to beat them that day, then that's a significant win versus just a win.

Q. You obviously know what it takes to win this, so can you put into context I guess in historical purposes, you're the last guy to repeat, that was Gary Player. So that's quite a feat.

ALLEN DOYLE: Well, it is because he, again, is in the mold of a Tom Watson or Tom is in the mold of Gary Player. He's a champion gentleman. I will guarantee you, when I see him next week that he'll have a big grin on his face and he'll give me the firm handshake. He'll tell me he's so proud and pleased for me, and you'll believe it because he'll look you in the eye. He'll say it to you and he'll give you the firmest handshake, and write ups in the papers and all that other stuff don't makeup for stuff like that.

Q. Two questions: First of all, you had some physical difficulties at the end of last year that you had to sort of battle through, and surgery. Can you talk about how gratifying it is to come back and defend when you've had to do that? And second, have you had a chance to talk to your daughters at all by phone since you won?

ALLEN DOYLE: Well, this year I had trouble going the full 18. We didn't have the carts until the 8th event of the year. And at the end of every day I actually really probably didn't care if I played that day because my feet were so sore that I just wanted to get off of them and relax.

But when we got the carts back I tried to ride about five or sixty to where the drive is to try to get a little relief and it's helped me. And if someone had asked me, I would have said I'm behind where I maybe expected to be, so it probably made this a little more improbable than last year, for instance.

Which maybe makes me feel even better. I've not talked to the girls yet. My wife has, but Erin, the oldest, was trying to calm her down on 18 saying he had a two shot lead. "He can close this deal, mom, don't worry about it."

Q. Tom obviously has had tons of struggles with the short putting, and he did again early today. Can you talk about how much it helps you that your putting has remained rock solid over this decade?

ALLEN DOYLE: Well, that's you know, I mean that. All players are different. He didn't have the easiest putts in the world. They were kind of sliders, and you get the wind blowing and you get a slider and you know where you got to hit it, but you don't want to hit it too hard and then you don't and that.

That's what it is. I don't know what to say. He is still a tenacious player. There's no quit in him. I missed a putt or two out there today that I should have made, so it isn't like it that he's the lone guy that plays the game of golf, period, that struggles with that at times.

You get a crosswind like I had on 5 there and a left to right putt, and, you know, it breaks a little. You know where you want to hit it. You know how hard you want to hit it. But then you can't quite do it sometimes.

Tom has I guess those I would call them minor problems, but he seems to play through them pretty darn good and is still not afraid on 17 to hit driver no matter where it put him.

It's hard for me to believe that a guy can hit that shot. You say he doesn't have nerve, but you want to say that maybe he doesn't have it when he misses a five foot sliding putt. He's got the nerve of a lion, and early that wind was blowing. It was a little cool. Not that I expected that, but I could appreciate it when it happened, I think.

Q. When you are describing the putt on 17, it almost sounded like you thought it was almost a match play situation with just you and Tom. Just wanted you to comment on that. Also, could you talk about the ruling that you got today with the burrowing animal hole?

ALLEN DOYLE: Well, I felt then it was match play. I know there was a guy through at 5, I think. But I don't worry about him after the last four or five holes. Because if I can't par in, then I don't deserve to win it anyway. So I just try to concentrate on what I have to do.

As far as the ruling, I mean, I got a ruling that was the officials were right there. It was I've been asked about that two or three times, like maybe I shouldn't have got it or something. The only thing I can tell you is if Tom Watson or Loren Roberts had got that ruling, they would have been applauded for and won. They would have been applauded as champions that took advantage of a good break and made something of it. That's all I did.

The officials were there. They approved everything. I said, "Is this a burrowing animal hole?" The official said, "Yes." And I said, "So I get nearest point of relief?" He said, "Yes." I said, "Is this the nearest point of relief?" He said, "Yes." I put the club down at the position. I said, "Is that where I will mark that spot?" He said, "Yes." "I have a club length?" "Yes." "Is this a club length?" "Yes." And then it can roll within two club lengths. So, oh, it was a good break.

Q. Just to follow up, Tom Watson said earlier before this press conference that he thought it was a turning point to some extent to the match, to the round. Do you feel that way too?

ALLEN DOYLE: Well, in a way, sure. Oh, yeah. But I don't feel that I guess if I hadn't have done what I did after that if that if me making five there meant in some way, shape, or form that I would not have then birdied, par, birdie, you know, I think I would have, only because I've slopped it around before and, you know, and done stuff like that.

I can't say I would have, but I had a shot where I felt I could have got. It wasn't 20 yards of the green. I don't know if I it was a relatively clear. I mean, not a horrible lie. I felt I could have got my 9 iron on it, advance it up there 120 to 140 yards. I don't know if I make par. The trap was not a bad spot. But, yeah I would say that any time that you get where something happens where maybe you don't anticipate it happening is a good thing.

We all see it. I mean, I've seen guys with me in the middle of the fairway drive it almost off the golf course and have a shot through the trees and make it and birdie the hole. And I thought I had them but I didn't. But, no, that was certainly a key hole. Yeah.

Q. You and Quigley ever reminisce or joke about all these duals with Watson that you've pulled out, especially on his home turf?

ALLEN DOYLE: Yeah, we do. Yeah. Of course we I have won twice in Kansas City and he's won three times now. So since 1999 we have won five times in Kansas City. Of course, he's beaten Tom two of the times. I don't think he was playing when I played there.

I've kidded with him that you're not going to be welcomed back. I mean, you are just screwing yourself here.

And I guess now he can give me a little bit back where I've actually beat him head to head in a way. So, oh, yeah, we kid about it a good bit.

Q. Couple questions: You're a former hockey player. How much of that mentality on the rink goes out on the golf course when you're talking about slamming the door on somebody, putting it back in their face kind of when you make a birdie and that type of thing. And second, with that Bud Light up there, what are you going to drink out of the cup? Or are you going to wait until you get back?

ALLEN DOYLE: Bud Light? Oh, yeah, I'll wait, we'll have a party when we get home. I'm turning 58 here in a couple of weeks, so that will be a good tournament win party/birthday party and we'll have a lot of guys drink out of it.

But the hockey mentality, that's exactly what it is, I had a guy call me that I was a golfer in a hockey player's body. And I had to agree with the guy. I mean I, you know, look, if you played a sport like that and someone got the upper hand on you, you really weren't worth your weight if you didn't get his number and vow that he would rue the day he ever laid a hand on you. And I don't think that's a bad thing. I mean that's like in life. If you got a job to do, if you're not afraid to roll up your sleeves and say, "I'll do this God damn job, I'm not afraid of getting my hand dirty."

So, you know, I think that's a good thing that I was raised on the rinks and that it was, you know, you had an opportunity again every time you played to show what you're made of. And golf's just kind of the same way.

Q. I work at a newspaper in Wichita. About seven of us picked the champion before the tournament and none of us picked you. Do you feed off that kind of stuff?

ALLEN DOYLE: Well, I you mean I don't know if I feed off it because at the time I didn't know that you had not picked me. So.


I didn't really it didn't really bother me at the time. But I know what you're saying. Nobody did. Which is fine. I don't know if I feed off it. What it allows me to do is come here and not worry about too much, just concentrate on playing.

And again, I'll refer back to Fred Funk. In the paper this morning the way he brushed off people on Friday and he wouldn't talk to them because he was because they were going to ask him, you know, "Why aren't you leading this thing by four shots? You know, why aren't you doing this, why aren't you doing this, why aren't you doing that?" You know, he didn't want to answer them because it was some added pressure. That doesn't mean that I'm afraid of that, because I had to play under that today.

Friday I said I hope however it works out I don't play with Tom tomorrow, because that was Saturday. Saturday's maybe if I had to mix it up, I would rather do it one of the days rather than both days. I mean if I had my choice.

So sooner or later you got to hitch your pants up and you got to say, "I'm man enough to do this." But without worrying about all the pre tournament stuff. And so it's not a hindrance I think it's probably a help. And you probably won't pick me next year, which is a good move. Because no one probably can win three in a row. And I told Dave, I might retire anyway.

Q. You had comfort with this course from the first time you saw it. What did you think of the course as a site and did your opinion change after four rounds?

ALLEN DOYLE: Oh, no, it didn't change at all. I mean, this is a unique, wonderful golf course and that's where we need to play these championships at. So bring them on. I mean, you know, I don't mind playing hard golf courses. And this was a very hard golf course. And you had to be in I won't say total command, because I don't know if anybody was in total command of their game, but you had to, on every single shot you had to worry about what was in front of you. And they were, you know, I thought it was a great test.

Q. You talked about your unorthodox swing before I know. I'm just curious, as you were developing as a golfer and getting to the point where you were pretty good, did anybody ever pull you aside and say, listen, you need to start swinging a different way and if they did you were smart not to listen to them?

ALLEN DOYLE: Well, they did. The assistant pros at the club, would say, "If you don't change your swing you'll never amount to anything in this game." But we had an old club pro there, who was a wonderful guy. He said, "First of all, they can't beat you. So they may be wanting to change your swing so they can. But if they can't beat you, you don't pay attention to them.

You drive the ball good, you're a good chipper and putter. You do those things well, and you'll always score well." And so I never, I didn't never change. And now I'm worth millions. I guess I was pretty smart.


Q. A lot of guys went low yesterday, and it kind of looked that way again today early on, did the conditions change or were you surprised that 8 under won here?

ALLEN DOYLE: Well, you know, I'm not surprised. The more we play a golf course, the more comfortable we're going to get with it. And the wind, once tournament play started, it blew the same way. So if you had a now you get similar shots, into similar greens, off similar lies, the way the wind is blowing and you're more comfortable. So it didn't surprise me at all when they started to go low.

The good thing is on Sunday it gets so much harder. So if you can stay patient and you can stay close enough, come Sunday and you saw today Peter Jacobsen got to seven, you know, and he had a free fall to four. And whoever else, Andy Bean got to six or seven, and he had a free fall for awhile. D.A. Weibring had a, he got to seven and he had a free fall. I mean it's, you know, that's what this course does.

I was just hoping that I could get to, maybe if I could get to seven that if I could hold par, that that would be good enough to win.

RAND JERRIS: Well, Allen, congratulations on your victory this week and enjoy your year as USGA champion.

ALLEN DOYLE: Thank you. It will be great. It will be fantastic. Thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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