Senior Tour's No. 2 Man Still Humble
Senior Tour's No. 2 Man Still Humble
May. 14, 1999
ALPHARETTA, Ga. (AP) _ It's business as usual at Doyle's Golf Center, even though the guy who runs the place is suddenly No. 2 on the PGA Senior Tour money list.
No matter how well he does in weekend tournaments, Allen Doyle spends the rest of the week answering phones, mowing grass and repairing clubs at his driving range in LaGrange, about an hour southwest of Atlanta.
Doyle, a former college hockey player with a slap-shot inspired swing, has already won two tournaments and $762,000 this year, his first full season on the tour. That's a bit more than he makes from the golf center he has run since 1984, when he was talked into paying $500 for the rights to the lease.
``It would take me 10 years to make that at the range,'' he said.
But don't expect him to give up his business. He still fixes clubs inside the red frame building and gets on his tractor to cut the uneven grass among the patches of clay and weeds on the 11-acre property.
The 50-year-old Doyle says he hasn't changed much, despite winning the PGA Seniors Championship and its $315,000 first prize.
``You can't stay too comfortable and say `I've got it made now that I got a million dollars made,''' Doyle said as he headed back home following his 10th place finish at last week's Nationwide Championship in Alpharetta.
``You'll find that anybody that never had that much, that when they get it, they know how to appreciate it,'' he said. ``Compare that to somebody who just gets it and goes hog wild and then has nothing. It's not going to happen with me.''
So, on most Mondays, you can still find Doyle at the modest range just down the road from a mobile-home dealership.
``I just have to have something to do,'' he said. ``I don't piddle around the house. I've got to get up in the morning and do something. So, if I'm not doing that, I'm just sitting on my fanny,'' he said.
Doyle doesn't quite fit the mold of the professional golfer, and he didn't become one until he was 46.
Maybe that explains his swing. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Doyle, who bends his back nearly in half, takes the club barely past his waist, but his power comes from thick wrists and forearms.
``To me, it's probably not as odd as it looks,'' Doyle said. ``Probably a little slower than it looks, which would give you the idea it's a little more fluid. ... But it's short and choppy, you know, like a slap shot.''
Larry Nelson, a fellow Georgian who is No. 3 on the money list, says many players have success with nontraditional swings.
``That's why on the scorecard, they just ask you, `How much?' not `How?'''
Doyle, a Rhode Island native, played hockey at Norwich University. He settled in Georgia following a stint in the Army in the early 1970s and became one of the state's top amateur golfers.
Doyle waited to turn pro in part because he felt he needed a stable income _ the kind he earns from the golf range _ while he was saving for college for his daughters, 19 and 21. Of course, Erin and Michelle received golf scholarships at Southern Mississippi and South Alabama, respectively.
And Doyle has never been overconfident about his game, although he won six Georgia amateur titles, membership on two Walker Cup teams and three World Amateur Cup teams.
``It wasn't hard leaving amateur golf, but there wasn't anything wrong with being the big cheese either. Every place you went, you got treated special,'' he said.
He turned pro in 1995 and won three times on the Nike Tour, earning a full exemption to the 1996 PGA Tour, making him the oldest rookie ever at 47.
He earned more than $200,000 in two years on the regular tour and another $165,000 last year in six Senior PGA events after turning 50 in June.
So his success this year is not entirely unexpected.
``I'm pleasantly surprised I guess, but not shocked,'' Doyle said. ``I kind of felt that I could play out here, but I didn't expect to win twice, including a major, this soon.''
End Adv for May 15-16