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July 7, 1999

Allen Doyle


LES UNGER: We are pleased to have Allen Doyle with us. If you are not a follower of amateur golf, you would therefore not know that for most of his golfing here he competed on the Amateur level, extremely successful, as well. Which leads me on to the question about why did you choose this time to join the pro ranks.

ALLEN DOYLE: Well, the main reason, I had two daughters that were getting close to college. If they had come to me and said, "I want to go here," and it would cost me $35,000 a year, I would have to tell them that they probably would have to pick a school that was going to run about 20 or 25, because I wouldn't have had the money to foot that extra bill. So I thought, worse case scenario, I could teach at my driving range and I could make up the difference between what I had and what I would need. Then I was also at a time at a crossroads. I had to decide, you know, with -- five years ago, with the SENIOR TOUR having come to where it had come, Jay Sigel had at the time turned professional at 50 and was doing well out here. So I then had to turn my thoughts: Was it a realistic -- was it realistic for me to pursue that. And if I was going to, it seemed that that was the right time. In the 1994, I had -- I played in seven of the major amateur events in the country and won five of them and finished second twice. The majority -- the most of the ones I won I had won for a record number of times. So I had to decide if it was -- golfwise, if it was in my best interest to remain an amateur or if I turn professional, you know, what it turned out, I thought I was going to have to work hard to maintain or upgrade my game a little. So those two things, the financial for college and having accomplished everything that I could accomplish as an amateur, you know, was time to work maybe a little harder to get ready for 50.

LES UNGER: Now, another gentlemen who is on this Tour now for the first time, Bruce Fleisher, was a professional. But I assume you and he have had chances to talk about your success.

ALLEN DOYLE: Yeah, we have. We hadn't played a whole lot this year together, but it seems when we have played that we have been spaced a few weeks apart. We were playing -- we played the last two rounds in Tour School. When we were coming up the 18th hole the last day in Tour School, he kind of breathed a sigh of relief because it is a tough week. And I said to him: You know, there are going to be two or three guys out of this Tour School that are going to win over a million dollars and they are going to have real good years. Why shouldn't that be us? And we have remarked several times when we have played after that, you know, he has asked me if I thought did I expect to have done what I did. And, you know, I said: Not really. And he pretty much acknowledged that he really hadn't expected to do quite as well as he had done. I think -- I appreciated unbelievably the chance to play out here. And I think he has that same mindset. So I think Tour School kind of, you know, intertwined us a little. And the way it has played out has been awful nice for us.

LES UNGER: What about this golf course?

ALLEN DOYLE: It is a good, good golf course. Normally in an Open, I think you got a little more room in the fairways here than you might have on a normal Open, I would think. So I think it is going to be one with iron-play and with putting. The greens are on the tough side. So I think whoever does well this week is not necessarily going to have to drive it great, but is going to have to play his irons awful well and is going to have to putt awful well.

LES UNGER: We will take questions.

Q. You talked about upgrading your game. In what ways did you change your game, and how difficult was it to do that at the age of 50?

ALLEN DOYLE: Well, I don't think I changed it at all. I was asked probably a thousand times in the last few years, you know, what I did to get me from where I was to where I was at the time when they asked me the question. Because I think there were people out there that said, well, I had won the Club Championship a few times. And my friends tell me I'm a real good player. And I am 47, and I am going to work hard the next three years, you know, and get better. I wanted -- I did what I did because it was always easy. If I had an event that was three weeks away that I would say, well, if something came up at the driving range, which it always seemed to, I'd say: Well, I can start practicing tomorrow. Then something the next day: I will practice tomorrow. I got two weeks I will -- so, mainly I didn't want that to happen. And I knew if I turned pro that I won't put it off 'til tomorrow, you know, the practice that I needed to do that day. So I don't think I did anything. I mean, I pretty much tell you that I am close to the same player I was five years ago and ten years ago.

Q. If I might, a two-part question. No. 1, how are you playing coming into this championship; and secondly, a major like this, and you are used to USGA-style events, takes a particular mindset, sort of like you played the PGA Seniors. Do you feel that you are in that mindset?

ALLEN DOYLE: Yeah, I am playing well. I was playing very well up through the NFL Cadillac when my back started to give me some trouble, which turned out to be just some muscle problem. So I had some momentum up there and was playing well in a real good stretch. That just set me back a little. And the last two weeks I have felt that I played well; just hadn't scored maybe quite as well as I had wanted to. So I feel I am -- I am close to being playing very well. Yeah, the Open, the majors, I don't -- I probably shouldn't say this, but I played The Tradition and the Tournament Players, and if they call them majors, they are really stretching it. Because, you know, you didn't have the severity of the golf course; you didn't have the crowds. You didn't have the aura around the event that you did at the PGA, because of the golf course or the Open because of the golf course and the way that the event is received in the area. But you have to have tons of patience in an Open. You are going to get your odd bounces, and you are going to get tried several times a day when you are out there playing. And you hope that -- you hope you realize what it takes, and you hope that when things do happen to you that you can -- that you handle it properly and you realize there is a long way to go, and you just got to maintain your patience.

Q. Why didn't you try this ten years ago? Or maybe you did ten years ago and I have just forgotten.

ALLEN DOYLE: No. It just wasn't for me for some reason. My family always came first, and I kind of always felt that, you know, although -- if you didn't follow golf real well, you didn't know a lot about amateur golf. Even if you followed amateur golf, the names -- Doyle wasn't mentioned much. It was Verplank and Mickelson and Duval and Leonard and Woods. I was beating those boys pretty good then, but they were boys then; they are men now. So I am sure they'd wax me pretty good. But I always -- I was very well known in the state, in the region, in the nation, you know, when I was playing very well as an amateur. And I weighed the decision to turn pro or not. It was -- when I got out of the Service I was 30 and I felt that that was too old. When I got out of the textile business, I was 35, and I felt that was too old. So I guess it was ironic that at 47 I was the oldest rookie in the history of the Tour. I guess I always felt if it was -- you know, I was doing what I felt was the right thing. And if it was ever meant to be, it would be, I guess.

Q. Can you talk about the scoring potential on this course and places where you see maybe you can attack?

ALLEN DOYLE: I don't know if you got many attack holes. It is hard to say. I think if we got some storms at night, you know, again with the greens being softer, that certainly is going to help scoring. But I think it is going to be -- you are going to have a lot of holes, you know, if that day you don't feel great and you know things are going to happen well for you, you know, I see playing conservatively into the greens. And hopefully you can get three or four, five good chances each day and you minimize your bogeys. If someone was to -- it would be my opinion that -- not so much the guy who makes the most birdies this week is going to win, but the guy who makes the fewest bogeys.

Q. Were you aware before you joined the SENIOR TOUR the fact that most of the tournaments are won by the guys in their first few years on the Tour, and did you see that there was maybe a window of opportunity there that you needed to come in and seize quickly if you wanted to have success on the Tour?

ALLEN DOYLE: Well, I think that -- you know, I couldn't have told you the statistics of what age won, what percent or what tournaments. The only way I can tell you is that the odds are a good 50-year-old player can beat a 55-year-old player who can beat the 60-year-old player. So then you read stuff that come 55 and 56, the players productivity goes down. So, yeah, I mean, there is -- especially for someone like me that have very little career money, if I wanted to have the free ride -- and I should choose my words maybe a little bit more carefully. But if I wanted to make sure I got a career-exempt status, that I needed those three or four good years to get my career money up, so I could stay out here if I didn't perform quite as well. So for me it was very important. For some of the other guys that walk out here and are career exempt, they probably don't feel they have quite as much to prove, and winning the money doesn't matter quite as much to them than it does to me.

Q. As a player in the U.S. Open for many years as a qualifier, do you now have sort of a soft spot for the guys that are coming in as an qualifier and amateur qualifier into this one chasing their dream?

ALLEN DOYLE: Oh, absolutely. Because most of the guys that I know here that I have seen this week are amateurs. For the Amateur, you are qualifying for Opens, you are always in the minority. And when you did make it, it was a huge feather in your cap. The same thing here for the club pros that make it. I only played -- we played in some pretty good heats Saturday and Sunday at Baltimore at the State Farm Classic, and I played 18 holes Monday, and I was whipped. So played nine yesterday and nine today. I guarantee you some of those guys were so excited they are wearing themselves just out, banging balls and playing three and four rounds. But it is hard to blame them, because they are so excited to be here. And I mean, I still feel a little -- like I am a qualifier in a way.

Q. Rocky Thompson was telling a few of us earlier in the week, he said: Watch Allen Doyle. Watch Allen Doyle. He can win this thing. How do you feel about that?

ALLEN DOYLE: Oh, yeah, I think I can win the tournament. But I don't know if I will. I drive the ball good. I feel I am a good, good iron player. I got a pretty good short game. The key to an event like this, you've got to be peaking just right. And, no -- but I feel that someone asked me the other day, did I feel I still had things to prove out here, you know, despite what I have done. And, you know, I told them no. I mean, if they don't -- if they haven't accepted me, you know, for what I am now, then they weren't my buddies before I got here. And I have got plenty of friends around the country and at home, that I don't necessarily need them to like me. But, no, I am legitimate, I think. And I won't mind seeing the fairways a little tighter, then I might be a little more confident of my chances. But I am capable. There is not anything that anybody would like more than me than to win a US Senior Open.

Q. What effect might the no-cart rule have this week?

ALLEN DOYLE: Oh, I think it will have some effect. I think some of the guys on the SENIOR TOUR kid themselves that they don't ride much. But if you are out there and you are observing and you are watching, they ride more than they think they do. I have to believe that when you get some heat, I mean, last week, as I said, we had some heat in Baltimore. And it was not an odd sight seeing a caddie walking and a pro riding. So I think it will have an effect. I don't know how much -- I mean, if a guy is in pretty good shape and he paces himself, it won't be huge. But I think the guys that are maybe, you know, 55 plus, you know, if it gets warm out here, it would have to have an effect.

Q. You said that you don't have to prove anything or feel like you have to prove anything to anyone anymore or even maybe before you got out here. What were your expectations when you got out on the SENIOR TOUR, and then how do your expectations change after winning the PGA Seniors and sitting in that chair today?

ALLEN DOYLE: My expectations when I came out here was Top 31. I wanted to play well enough so at the end of the year I was playing the next year. And like anybody, I wanted to win out here. So I mean, Top 31 and a win, you know, would have been -- I would have been thrilled with that. After I won once, then you got to reset your goals; you got to figure Top-20 and two wins. After you win again, then you want a fourth win and you want Top 5. So my goals have changed accordingly. I didn't realize that a major would be -- I kind of thought after the PGA Seniors that it would be like a normal tournament. But after I won that, it is not a normal tournament. The recognition that I got the weeks and weeks after and that I still get makes you want to win another major.

Q. When you walk into an event like this, and it is a major, you know, you have won a major on the SENIOR TOUR, do you expect to win this event?

ALLEN DOYLE: I don't expect -- I expect myself to play well here. I expect that. But I have learned a long time ago there is a fine line between winning and not winning. And sometimes -- I can tell you, I didn't feel-- not that there wasn't any way that I should have won in New Jersey -- but the way I felt, I wouldn't have given a plug nickel for my chances, it was meant to be, for some reason, I hung in there; made a lot of pars and lo and behold. Then I have played events where I have almost done nothing wrong and been at the Home Depot, I led going into the last round and led going in the back nine and led going in with three holes to go and I hit a good 9-iron into 17. It was too much club. One bounce in the back water, I am leading the event for, you know, the majority of the time and finished fourth. But I could go away from that event saying I did most everything right and it didn't work out. So I expect of myself to play well. If you can be there in the back nine on Sunday that is all you can ask to give yourself a chance.

Q. We have an Iowa golfer Dave Rummels (phonetic) who almost made it very big on the PGA TOUR several years ago and who was in the final pairing two years ago in the fourth round of the PGA; then his game has kind of deteriorated. Supposedly Ken Venturi went up to Dave and said: You can take it to the next level if you will just do what I say on your grip. Dave said, no, I am going to go with what got me here. Well, now he is struggling on the Nike Tour. The question is because of your unusual swing, how many times were you pressured or talked to and discussed changing your swing?

ALLEN DOYLE: The good thing through all my playing time was that no one knew me well enough, whenever I got to that next level, so a lot of people didn't know how to approach me and then with the swing being as unorthodox as it is, let's just say that if Leadbetter was here this week, he is going to look down that line and he is going to see me and he is going to scratch his head and he is going to not know how to approach me because he is not going to know me so he is going to say, let's skip this guy. So I have been very fortunate that no one has ever, none of the named guys have ever made any attempt and if they had, I would have been polite to them and like I did as a kid, the club pro used to tell me he said, if you can drive it pretty good and you've got a pretty good short game, you will be able to score. He said so don't pay attention ever to anybody that can't beat you. So I always have kept that to heart and most everybody that would have attempted or would have liked to give me -- because there are probably a lot of people would love to give me tips, but I would never pay any attention to them because they couldn't beat me.

Q. Given your modest background, are you the kind of guy who is going to put in your seven, eight good years and go home or are you out here until the bitter end?

ALLEN DOYLE: I am not out here to the end. I would tell you if I could get five to seven good years here, I like being at home playing with the guys probably more than I -- I love doing this, but I probably like playing with my friends more than I like playing on the SENIOR TOUR. It would just -- I don't know if I had -- if I had five or seven good years here and I made five, six, $7 million, I couldn't spend it. Most of the money I have won has gone in the bank and I splurged on a truck after Tour School and I am sure I have had a new vehicle; I have never had a new truck. So I figured I had set myself up for a pretty good year so I went out and bought a new Quad Cab, I am pretty proud of that-but you won't see me out here. There was a guy he is between 8 and 9 on a medical exemption this year that I think it was two years ago at 61 he went to Tour School. You will never see me at Tour School in my late 50s. If I can't play and do real, real well, I can be satisfied with the little that I have accomplished and I can be home with the guys and they think I am big stuff and that is fine with me.

LES UNGER: What is the wager with those guys?

ALLEN DOYLE: Two bucks a side. A lot of times they want to up the strokes and I say there is no way in hell. I say, where can you get a lesson this cheap for two bucks a side? I am not hearing of it. If you want to play for two, you play. If you don't, that is fine too.

Q. The size of the crowds here, 25,000, 27,000 yesterday. They were screaming in today. Compare the size of the crowds with the size of the town back home?

ALLEN DOYLE: Wow, we are -- probably the crowds that they had the last couple of days are bigger than La Grange. What a place, I guess that shows you if you do your home work right you can find a place to bring each event no matter what event it is and to get the reception that you got here is incredible.

Q. Can you teach the mechanics of your swing? Do you ever try that?

ALLEN DOYLE: Oh, yeah, I have had a few people that have had similar type of swings that have wanted some help and it is relatively easy -- and they have a natural golf now - I think it is called kind of a Moe-Norman-kind-of-a-thing - that is very similar. It just takes patience to change, to gear down that swing.

LES UNGER: We appreciate you being here. Good luck.

End of FastScripts�.

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