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November 3, 1999

Allen Doyle


DAVE SENKO: Before we get started and open it up for some questions, maybe just with the final event here, just a quick recap of your season, and maybe evaluate how things went and then we'll open up for some questions here.

ALLEN DOYLE: Well, for me, things went great. You know, your first concern in my position was getting out of TOUR school and getting one of those eight spots. You know, I didn't feel I was anymore or less -- more fortunate getting the first spot but it was a huge confidence-builder. I'm not so sure one of the best things that happened was Bruce winning the first two events. That convinced me that, you know, I finished first in TOUR school. You know, I played with him for three rounds and saw him, you know, how he handled himself in TOUR school for three big important rounds. You know, those were probably was big of rounds as we've ever played in our lives. I certainly handled it as well as he did. So, you know, I came out of TOUR school feeling real positive, and then all of the sudden, Bruce comes out, and the first two events and wins them. I kept saying to myself, if I'm not as capable of him, I'm pretty damn close. And low and behold, shortly thereafter, I won the fourth event of the year. Since then, it's been, it seems every week has been, you know, kind of a new, exciting week. You go to a place -- I mean, I have pretty much -- my career gone to places and I wouldn't say that they didn't really care if I was there or not, but, you know, as soon as you walked in they said, "Oh, we need to talk to you. How did you play last week. How are you playing coming here?" So it seemed each week was a new week for me that they were, you know, that they wanted me to come and play there. You had the tournament directors seeking you out during the year when they were trying to get players to commit and come to their event. I was one of the few that they were paying attention to and coming saying, "You're playing in our event is there anything I can do for you?" And then the PGA Seniors was huge for me, because I won that with a great last round on, you know, on NBC. If you had to win an event, I don't mean to not speak more -- to speak more highly of a U.S. Senior Open or a Senior PGA as compared to the Tradition and the Tournament Players Championship, but, you know, two have a history and two have no history. So if you had to win a senior event, I'd pick the PGA Seniors. That just got me up a little higher. You know, and I had a little lull there after in the Cadillac after I hurt my back. Calendar time was a little while between the Cadillac win and the Kansas City win, but it really didn't seem that long, you know. And then I had a good finish; although. I didn't win at Napa or at Hawaii. I played very, very well. I mean, the year in review has just been phenomenal. You know, my goal at the beginning of the year was to finish Top 31 and to make the TOUR Championship. You know, I succeeded in accomplishing that goal and a few others that I never really set as goals, but it's just been a great year.

Q. So how is your health right now?

ALLEN DOYLE: I'm in good shape. I haven't had any back trouble since the Cadillac.

Q. Will you walk us through what the problem was and what you did about it?

ALLEN DOYLE: Just muscle. I went home that Sunday evening. I went in and saw the doctor on Monday. He told me to give it a complete rest for a week. And I rested it probably a week and a half. I started hitting balls that Thursday, a week and a half later and I've had -- it's been fine ever since.

Q. Supposed to be mid-30s when you tee off tomorrow. How will that affect you?

ALLEN DOYLE: I'd prefer -- this is -- from what I played yesterday, it's a long golf course. It will play longer if it's cool and damp. You know, that would certainly favor, you know, the guys in the driving stats that are in the top 10, 20 percent of the driving stats. I'd like to see if you had a golf course like this that was going to play long, it would be a little tighter. You really have some room out here to drive it on; so it's not like the long hitter would have an advantage on a -- you know, on a long golf course. If it were tight. You wouldn't have near as much advantage. But here you've got some room in the fairways. Personally, I would rather see this course play firm and hard as compared to soft and long. But that doesn't mean the short hitters can't play well. So someone like a Joe Inman who won last week is in my category. We don't hit it real long, but we hit it straight. You certainly would like the golf course to be playing shorter than it is, but being that we can't do anything about it, we'll just have to fight through it and do the best we can.

Q. Now, that it's the end of the year, how charged up are you for this tournament or are you looking forward to getting home and resting up a little bit?

ALLEN DOYLE: I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to getting home. I probably played more than I should have at the end of the year, but I was playing well so I figured what the heck, keep going. I'm excited to play, mainly because it will be a wonderful way to cap off a great year by playing well here. The good thing is that, you know, I'm playing in a match play next week, but the good thing, when you talk about spending some time at home or real close or it, so I can, you know, it's a big week and I would love to play well here.

Q. You said that one of your goals coming into the year was being in the Top 31. What have -- and here you are in the Top 3, what have you done that has surprised you? In other words, if your goals were lower than this, you must have played better than you thought you might. What if anything in your game has surprised you?

ALLEN DOYLE: Nothing about my game surprised me this year. What I didn't know was the level of competition. And I've always been one that has never set goals so high that you had to do everything perfect to chief those goals. I've been one that said, "Well, let's just set some modest goals," and if I play well, you know I can exceed those goals. How much I could exceed them, I didn't know. But the last thing that I would have done was come out here, you know, after I won eight, if someone said, "Well what were your goals here?" The last thing I would have done was said that I would have set a goal to win eight times, or someone like Tiger who says he plays to win every single tournament. I don't verbalize that because I know I can't win every single tournament; so I wouldn't say something like that. What I did this year that I didn't do the last three years was it seemed the last three years I was trying to do -- trying to play too well. You know, I'd get -- I had a lot of good front nines on the TOUR, but I had a lot of 37s on the back nine, you know. Because I'd say well, keep making the birdies instead of -- my old philosophy was if I got to 1-under, I would try to shoot par every day. When I got to 1-under, I'd try to par the rest of the holes. When I got to 2-under, I'd try to par the rest of the holes. It always seems if I kept doing those things that allowed me to hit the greens and roll the ball good, I wouldn't do that; I'd go to 3-under. It seemed like the last few years I didn't do that very well. And this year, I just came out and told myself to be patient and to worry about making good swings. The atmosphere is a little different. I just feel that this year I lived up to my -- my playing capabilities. I don't know what my scoring average was on the Nike but that was my last year that I felt I went out and played my game and hit the ball and drove it off the tee, went to my second shot. It got on the green and just tried to make a good stroke and my stroke average was 69-something. And playing here this year, starting out, I didn't feel that these courses were any harder or easier than the Nike. And my stroke average now is 69-something. All I've done is come out and played my game and wherever it's fallen, I was prepared to be -- if it was 3.5, 13-3 or 29.5. Only if I was myself was I going to reach whatever that number was. I hoped the number was a little higher than lower. But I just worried about playing my game.

Q. You look at this course, having played it yesterday, you've got great players -- is course knowledge important to guys like Hale Irwin and Gil Morgan?

ALLEN DOYLE: It always does. It certainly does. The only places that I can compare to -- I played a lot non-amateur -- was the Memorial. And I played there some as an amateur. And when you get up to a hole like 12 at the Memorial with the water and the huge crowds on the hills and the trap behind the green and the water in front of the green. You know, the first round, the first time I played there, if I'm surprised I got the ball airborne; it was that intimidating. When I played it the last time, the last time I played there, it was old hat. So course knowledge always, you know, was huge. Now, if someone is playing well, if one of the new guys are playing well, I think being new also gives you the attitude of maybe, I'm-too-dumb-to-know, if you're playing well. So hopefully, the new guys, particularly my case, if we're playing well, I'm not worried about course knowledge. I'm just worrying about hitting the shots. You know, the bottom line is you have to be playing well. If the guys who have a lot of course knowledge but aren't playing well, it doesn't help. And if the guys who don't have it are playing well, they don't need as much of it. But there's always that thing on 17 green, you know, if you hit it maybe a little left and a little long, what does that putt do. If you'd had that putt before, maybe you make it. I can think back, I'll tell you, in Transamerica on 17, on Sunday when my ball is hanging on the lip, I played too much break. If I was there or similar spot in the future, I'd know to, you know to don't play quite as much break. So it means something. But again, you've got to be playing well. Again, if the guy that has it is not playing well if won't help him and if the guy that doesn't have it is playing well he doesn't need it as much.

Q. Have you played Augusta National much?

ALLEN DOYLE: No. Just one time. That's all.

Q. I wonder what you did on the 12th hole there?

ALLEN DOYLE: That would be a similar case. It's the same thing. If you've played it any number of times, that doesn't mean the guys still dump it in the water when they don't hit it good or they don't fly it when they hit it too good. But don't think for a minute that a Tom Watson or a Nicklaus on 12, there's still some anxiety over the shot but there isn't near the anxiety over the shot as a first-time participant telling himself: These fans are to wonder how I ever got there if I hit it in the water or if I blow it in the azaleas long. It's a big help, if you're playing well.

Q. You've gotten a reputation this year, no big surprise, as being as tough a guy as there is on The SENIOR TOUR, competitively speaking. It's interesting that the guy who came up through the Amateur ranks, while a lot of other guys who were career professionals haven't. Do you think there's anything in that, the fact that you didn't make your living, per se, on the course playing, but had all those years as an amateur?

ALLEN DOYLE: If that's true, I think where it came from was, you know, I was 30 years old before -- well, I played in the Master Amateur as a late teenager, but that was so new to my I didn't know what the hell was going on anyway. But prior to playing in the Georgia Amateur for my first time I was 30, 31 years old. So when I went there --.

BRUCE FLEISHER: You were never that old.

ALLEN DOYLE: I'm in the chair right now. (Laughs.) So every level that I went to, I was older and I had no past; so I had to -- I didn't have a lot of time to show I could play. So you know -- I had a sense of urgency that if I didn't show I could play soon, I was going to lose the opportunity. So it meant that when I went to the State Am TOUR the first time, being in my early 30s, that I had a sense of urgency to make something happen. When I went to the national amateur level, when we went from state to regional, you know, there were guys saying, well, who is this guy? He plays in Georgia; has done okay there, but I don't know. It seemed then the national level and then the international and then the Nike, it seemed every level, I had to -- the Nike, the PGA TOUR, I had a short period of time to, you know, and a sense of urgency that I had to play well now, or I was going to lose the opportunity to achieve what I was trying to achieve as an amateur. You'd say, Well, what were you trying achieve? Well, I started playing national amateur events in my mid-30s, the Walker Cup was coming no Atlanta in '89. So I only had three or four years to show the selection, the USGA selection committee, and they are not an easy group to let new blood in. I had to show them what I could do, and I couldn't show them what I could do if I wasn't finishing Top-10. Some of the beautiful people, you know, can finish Top-10, and they lay the red carpet out in front of them. If I didn't win and beat their brains out, I wasn't going to be considered. So, you know, everything I had to do, I'd hear if I didn't play well right off the bat. You know I was going to be washed away, swept away. It seemed that every level, I had to bear down right at the start. I didn't have five years to get my feet under me on the TOUR or I didn't have five years on each level to see the golf courses and get to be friendly with the people, and, you know, be part of the environment, enjoy the experience. I didn't have that time.

Q. So how does it feel to be one of the beautiful people now?

ALLEN DOYLE: I don't think I'm one of the beautiful people. I think I'm one of the people. I still don't think I'm one of the beautiful people. Because I don't see the right things a lot of times to the -- even to some of the staff that I see or the reps. A lot of them are just giving you lip service. And I say, Don't give me lip service. Does the club work or not? I'll try it, and if I like it, I may play with it; and if I don't like it, you know. But it's great to be here. And, you know, I'm certainly found -- more accepted now than I was at the beginning of the year. I'd like to think that it's as much who I am as how I play. You know, I can't think of anything else that I'd rather be doing than what I'm doing now. You look at -- and it is always nice to, you know, after whether it be the Florida Swing or the -- after we're through half a year or after we're through a whole year that you're -- that you've gained the respect, you know, of your peers. You know and that's a good feeling.

Q. Most fun you've had this year?

ALLEN DOYLE: I don't know if there's been a fun moment. I kind of group things together, you know the whole package is what's made my year. Probably the most -- I'd say if you press me for particular, my daughter, my oldest caddie for me at the Cadillac where I've won. And my youngest caddie at the Tournament Players where I didn't -- I played okay. But they have caddied for me before when I've won. They split the bag on the Nike TOUR Championship so they wouldn't each miss too much school. You know, they caddied for me each in the Amateur when I won, and they caddied for me in the Southeastern Amateur where I won. So for someone else they would probably say that that was their best moment. But they have had that before. I've had that before with them. So I kind of lump the whole package together. You know, you lump the whole year together, and, you know, it's a been a great year for me.

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