Doyle Seeks Hatrick at US Senior Open

By Associated PressJuly 4, 2007, 4:00 pm
U.S. Senior OpenHAVEN, Wis. -- A desperate hacker could flip through a mountain of golf-advice books and magazine articles and never find one that recommends swinging like Allen Doyle.
 
But Doyle figures his slap-shot swing, something that looks like a vestige of his days as a college hockey player, is just part of his everyman appeal.
 
'People are going to embrace someone, maybe, that they can say, 'Well, I swing something like that,'' Doyle said.
 
Besides, it seems to work just fine for him.
 
Doyle has risen from relative obscurity to win the past two U.S. Senior Opens, and will be going for an unprecedented three in a row when play begins Thursday at Whistling Straits.
 
Although he doesn't have the pedigree of a Tom Watson, the golf icon Doyle beat to win last year's Senior Open, Doyle believes he'll have the fans on his side.
 
'It is nice to get around and have people acknowledge what you've done,' Doyle said. 'Even during the year, people were yelling, 'Go for the threepeat.' That's kind of nice.'
 
Doyle occasionally returns the favor by letting fans in on the joke, playing his favorite gag on the gallery after hitting a drive.
 
'I'll turn to them and say, 'I've been trying to stay shot of parallel. Did I stay short of parallel there?'' Doyle said.
 
In sharp contrast with a traditional golf swing, where a player's club shaft is more or less parallel with the ground at the top of his backswing, Doyle takes his club back only halfway.
 
'Some of them know I was kidding, and some of them don't, and they'll say, 'Oh, no, you weren't anywhere near parallel,'' Doyle said.
 
Although Doyle graduated as the top-scoring defenseman in the history of Norwich (Vt.) University, his unorthodox swing has less to do with one-timers from the blue line than the fact that he practiced in a room with a low ceiling when he was younger.
 
'If you saw Allen swing on the first tee, you'd probably say, 'I'll give him five shots, and beat him pretty easy,'' Watson said. 'That isn't the case.'
 
Doyle might not have a textbook swing or long-standing reputation as an elite golfer -- he's 58, but spent most of his years as an amateur and didn't turn professional until 1995 -- but he does have a shot at becoming U.S. Senior Open history. Only Doyle, Gary Player and Miller Barber have won back-to-back Senior Opens, and nobody has won three straight.
 
Doyle figures stories like his are good for golf.
 
'It does not become so humdrum that five guys show up and they're the prohibitive favorites and maybe no one comes out to watch any more,' Doyle said.
 
Doyle likes his chances this week, assuming he goes back to driving the ball as well as he's used to. But he doesn't expect things to be easy.
 
'There's a reason that it hasn't been done -- because it's damn hard to do,' Doyle said.
 
Doyle will have to fend off a field that includes Jay Haas, who has won four times already on the Champions Tour this season; Hale Irwin, a two-time U.S. Senior Open champion; and 2007 Senior PGA Championship winner Denis Watson.
 
And everyone will have to contend with a course that could turn ugly if the winds whip up as fiercely as they did during practice rounds this week.
 
Perched on the banks of Lake Michigan about an hour north of Milwaukee, Whistling Straits' relatively treeless layout leaves little to shield players from strong lake breezes.
 
'Although I would say I'm a pretty good wind player, wind at 10, 12 mph isn't the same as 20 to 25 mph,' Doyle said. 'So it's something that you're going to have to be patient with.'
 
The course's difficulty will depend largely on wind conditions, along with tee and pin placements. But even on a day with relatively calm winds, Doyle said the course's unforgiving narrow fairways leave little margin for error.
 
Doyle notes that if players miss shots in certain spots at Whistling Straits, 'they're going to have to send out search parties for guys.'
 
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    McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

     

     

    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.