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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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.