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May 23, 2009

Michael Allen


KELLY ELBIN: Michael Allen, ladies and gentlemen, in with a 9-under par 67 in the third round of the 70th Senior PGA Championship at Canterbury Golf Club. At this point late in the round he's tied for the lead. Michael, you've played the back nine in 6-under par over the last two days. Looks like you really got something going out there.
MICHAEL ALLEN: Well the back nine seems to, at least I seem to find a nice little stretch each day. Like 14, 15 and 16. I seem like I'm playing really well on the front nine too, but I just can't get if I birdies out of it. All the putts seem to lip out.
KELLY ELBIN: You also hit 31 of 36 fairways, so you're driving the ball extremely well.
MICHAEL ALLEN: That is very good and that's the key to it, getting the ball in play. And then you hit some nice wedges into the greens and you can be semi aggressive. But it is, you got to get the ball in the fairway.
So I've taken a lot of different clubs, even irons off tees and different things, just to get the ball in play.
KELLY ELBIN: Do a quick recap on your birdie on 2 and then, 14, 15 and 16, please.
MICHAEL ALLEN: Yeah. 2, I hit a 7-iron today. About 165 shot. I think I hit it about 15, 18 feet right of the hole and I made that. Which was very nice.
Then the 14th, I hit a beautiful tee shot right down the middle. I think I had about -- I was hitting a little 105 shot. Just trying to keep it right below the hole. Which I executed beautiful and had about a 6-footer straight up the hill. Which I made.
Next hole, hit a nice drive, 3-iron, just right of the green in the fringe. And I was able to control the distance on it real well and I chipped it to about two to three feet.
And then 16, hit a nice drive again and 3-wood into the up slope. And hit a nice little chip out of there to about five feet or something like that. Five, six feet. Was able to make that too.
KELLY ELBIN: For the record, Michael has birdied the 14th hole each of the three rounds this week. Open it up for questions, please.

Q. What were your expectations this week and how do you feel about your game going into tomorrow?
MICHAEL ALLEN: My expectations coming in were definitely to be competitive and to win. I mean, these guys are great players and they have beat me for a long time, but maybe it is my turn when I'm young now and with a little more experience than when I first came out.
I don't know if I'm going to win or not, but I felt like I should definitely be competitive here. This course has been a little tougher for me than -- I think it's taken away a little bit of my advantage the way I drive the ball. That's why the back nine's been better for me of the. But it's been a nice challenge all week.

Q. I'm wondering if you can recap for us the circumstances for you getting here, when did you receive the special invitation from the PGA of America, was it a very difficult decision as to whether to come here or play on TOUR?
MICHAEL ALLEN: I think I received the invitation about two months ago. It was a little bit of a tough decision because I still carry a spot, I'm trying to get my card, keep my card on the PGA TOUR. You got a six and a half million dollar tournament, that's a big tournament out there.
But I felt that it was a tournament that I wasn't really -- it hasn't been great to me over the years. So I thought that this was really a nice opportunity to come here. It was a nice course, I thought. I didn't know much about it, but I certainly have seen it on the Major rotation years ago.
And so I just thought it would be a nice opportunity to come out here and see how I matchup and give it at least one shot this year.

Q. A lot of golfers talk about how they got to put themselves in position over and over, to win again. You obviously have had a lot of situations like that. What do you draw on for tomorrow and just talk about trying to end this 20 year little stretch.
MICHAEL ALLEN: Well, you know, I don't buy into that theory.
(Laughter.) That you got to be there a lot.
No, I just feel like I'm playing very well, I feel like I'm really prepared. Me and my caddie have a great routine on the course and we know what we're trying to do out there and get accomplished. So we got a nice game plan and I'm really drawing on that. I feel like I'm in great shape and I'm ready to, you know, move on. I've been ready for a long time. It's about time that I get on with it.
KELLY ELBIN: Has the golf course changed appreciably over the course of the three days? In terms of firmness, what have you.
MICHAEL ALLEN: You know, the first day was so hard it's actually gotten a little bit softer. It's still very firm and you still got to be very careful with these greens. They can bounce. You got to keep the ball below the hole without keeping it from falling off the front of the green too.
I guess I'm getting a little more comfortable with a lot of the shots, having played them a few days in a row. So the golf course has been very consistent, you guys have done a wonderful job getting it in great shape.

Q. Kind of an odd question, but is there, once you reach a certain age, are you no longer cowed or intimidated by guys who have won Major Championships in front of you or coming up the leaderboard behind you?
MICHAEL ALLEN: What's the question?

Q. When you reach a certain age are you and you've been around quite a bit, are you no longer intimidated or cowed when you see Greg Norman, Tom Kite, whoever, name a name.
MICHAEL ALLEN: You know, I'm certainly not intimidated. I guess when you're 50 you kind of lose some that have stuff, you know. I have played against Tiger a lot, so I always love to compete. And he's intimidating a little bit.
But out here I played with most all these guys for years and I know them all pretty well. And I think that we're not trying to compete for, you know, Major Championships that you were when you were 30. It's not marking your career.
So I don't know. I mean, I'm more -- if there's any intimidation, I'm more intimidated by the factors of winning tournaments than I am of anything else than playing with the guys, I don't think. However, I do respect them all a great deal.

Q. Talk about, you're playing some of your best golf of your life lately, late in your career here. Why is that, what came about, what led to that?
MICHAEL ALLEN: Well, yeah, I think it's really the last five years I've, after I've been with Hank Haney for like 10 years, I searched for a while and thought about what I want to do with my game. I went through a lot of people. Took lessons from everybody. And had an idea what I wanted to do.
And I met Mike Mitchell out in Palm Springs at Mission Hills and he's just helped change my game. And his enthusiasm and drive, I mean he is more driven than any man I've ever met. He's got more passion for it .
And it's just carried off. I think that the change in my swing and not fighting to find my swing every single day has made the game more fun. I don't have to sit here and try and figure out how I'm going to hit the ball each day, I feel that for the most part I'm going to hit it decently. Obviously some days will be better than others, but.
So I think that's been the biggest change is just getting around Mike and he's really helped me change my game and be competitive. And given me the passion for it that I may not even have had when I was younger.

Q. So are you better suited now to win than you probably have ever been?
MICHAEL ALLEN: I truly believe that. And that's, you know, that's my thing that I draw on the most, is I feel I am ready. I got to have some heart.

Q. Would a win validate that you've always belonged, that you just haven't won, but you were as good as these guys, but just didn't have a win?
MICHAEL ALLEN: I would say most of my peers know that I'm a very good player. I don't think that's a big thing. Certainly it would validate it for me. It's been very important for me to do it, to win.
If I go to my grave and don't win, I've still had a great time playing golf every day. And I made a great living. So it's been a win/win no matter what for me. But it certainly is important for me to win.

Q. You shot the low round of the day the last two days. How much confidence do you have that you can finish this off tomorrow?
MICHAEL ALLEN: Well, I feel great about it. I feel my opportunities are -- this is as good an opportunities as I'm going to have in a long time. Tom Kite's a great player and Jeff Sluman's been a great professional. So I know they're all great players, and that's who I want to play against tomorrow. That's going to be a fun day tomorrow. And I believe I'm in a great situation to do it.
KELLY ELBIN: Michael Allen in at 3-under par after three rounds of the seen 70th Senior PGA Championship at Canterbury Golf Club. Thank you.
MICHAEL ALLEN: Thank you, guys.

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