Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic interview: Michael AllenMarch 24, 2013
MORE INTERVIEWS: Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic transcript archive
DAVE SENKO: Mike, congratulations. One‑shot victory over Bernhard. This is your fourth Champions Tour win. And I know it's gotta give you a bit of satisfaction after what happened a year ago. You had your chance for a win. But maybe just talk about your day. Five straight birdies on the front nine and then coming in, you had some difficulty on those last few holes, but a win is a win, I guess.
MICHAEL ALLEN: Yeah, yeah. It certainly is a lot better result than last year sitting on the range like I was again this year and to be waiting for the tears or whatever. And last year they came and this year they didn't. I don't root against anybody, but I was pretty happy that I was able to get this win here finally, even though I didn't bring it home as strong as I would have liked.
DAVE SENKO: Birdies, do you want to take us through that shot sequence there starting at 3 through 7?
MICHAEL ALLEN: Yeah. 3 was about 155‑yard shot or something. I hit like a little 7‑iron, beautiful shot, came out to about six feet right behind the hole. So I was able to make that. There was a lot of wind blowing.
And then 4, I hit a great tee shot. I had about 100 yards to the hole, and I hit a good shot, but it ended up sailing, with the wind, about 30 feet by, and I made a nice putt there, it was a big right‑to‑left breaker.
DAVE SENKO: And what did you hit for the second shot?
MICHAEL ALLEN: I hit like my 54. And then 5, I hit a very good drive. It was 163, I think, and I hit 8‑iron about 20 feet past the hole. It was a very good shot on that hole. It's very hard to get it much closer. And I was able to make that.
And then the par‑5 I hit a good drive and a 3‑wood to the front of the green and was able to two‑putt that with just a little two‑and‑a‑half, two‑foot putt to finish. And then 7, I hit ‑‑ they had the tees up. I hit a 6‑iron off the tee, and then I had about ‑‑ I played a 70‑yard shot. I played about 80 yards to the hole and I hit a beautiful shot there about maybe five feet and was able to make that.
DAVE SENKO: What was the club?
MICHAEL ALLEN: That was a 60.
DAVE SENKO: And then 12 and 13 back to back.
MICHAEL ALLEN: 12 ‑‑ oh, I hit a nice drive up the left side. I was kind of planning to hit like an 85‑yard shot. I had about 100 yards to the hole. And I was kind of more downwind. It came up just short. Or it just stopped in front of the green. I made probably about, I don't know, I guess a 30‑foot putt, maybe a little less.
DAVE SENKO: Second shot?
MICHAEL ALLEN: Second shot was the 54 again. Then the par‑5 I hit a good drive up the right side, hit a good 3‑wood up just in front of the green. I had a relatively very easy little chip right at the green. I chipped up to about maybe two to three feet and I was able to make that.
DAVE SENKO: And bogeyed 14.
MICHAEL ALLEN: The bogey, we just mis‑clubbed. We thought it was straight downwind. I hit what I thought was a pretty good shot, kind of line I wanted, just right of the pin. But it just came up short, and it was very, very awkward. You know, it would have been a chip. I ended up putting it, but it had a great big break trying to get up, so I ended up having about a 10‑footer for par and I missed that.
DAVE SENKO: What club did you hit?
MICHAEL ALLEN: I hit a pitching wedge, and it was about 140 I think.
DAVE SENKO: And then you birdied the par‑5.
MICHAEL ALLEN: Yeah. There I hit a good drive, and then I hit a good 3‑wood. I had about 245 to the front, so I hit 3‑wood up there, kind of middle part of the front of the green. I didn't hit a good putt. I just misjudged it completely, to be honest, and I hit it about probably 12 feet past the hole, maybe even 15. And I was able to make that. Kind of the key to the run.
DAVE SENKO: And then 14 ‑‑ or 16.
MICHAEL ALLEN: 16, I hit a pretty good tee shot. The wind just got it a little bit and it just barely stayed up. But it was a good tee shot in the end. I hit what I thought ‑‑ I think we had about 160 to the hole or something. So I was just trying to keep it away from the tree, which wasn't a problem. Just one that overhangs on the right.
I hit what I thought was a pretty good shot, but it ended up coming up on kind of the back of the green. I hit a pretty decent putt, but it came up about three feet and then I missed that. And that was a 6‑iron into there.
DAVE SENKO: 6‑iron you said to three feet?
MICHAEL ALLEN: No. That was a 6‑iron to ‑‑ well, I hit driver and a 6‑iron.
DAVE SENKO: Oh, driver. And how far was your ‑‑
MICHAEL ALLEN: I was probably about ‑‑ I was on the back of the green, so had to be probably 50 feet. It wasn't too hard, but I don't know, took a long time, a lot of weeds in the grain.
Then 18, I hit a great drive. I had about 130 yards or something, a little over that, and I hit my 50, which was perfect. I hit it right to where I did last year. And then last year I had that same putt, I thought, to at least have a chance to tie the tournament or win, and I left it low. So this time I wasn't going to do that. And I got it up there high enough and it just kind of kept rolling out, and rolled about three feet by, and I missed that one. There was so much wind blowing there, it was very hard to get stable. It was kind of a sad way to finish, even though I'd played so well.
DAVE SENKO: How far was your first putt?
MICHAEL ALLEN: The first putt was probably about 15 to 18 feet, something like that, past the hole. Perfect spot. Well, almost. Didn't turn out that way.
DAVE SENKO: Okay. Questions, guys?
Q. I guess, you know, people ‑‑ I haven't played the game, but to go from last year, you know, the ups and downs, and then this year, you know, looked like you had it won, then might be a playoff, and then end up winning. Was it kind of that roller coaster feeling?
MICHAEL ALLEN: Yeah, most of the day I kind of took ‑‑ I thought guys would make a few birdies, but it was very difficult out there. So you know, I guess I kind of got control of the tournament on the front nine. You know, and I felt very controlled in my game. I was playing beautifully, hitting shots where I was trying to, and we were judging the wind very well for the most part.
So yeah, so you know, I was feeling pretty good. I was almost feeling like I could get a cigar out and walk down 18 like I did a few years ago. You know, so then you three‑putt, make a few little mistakes, and 18, 18 was just one of those feelings, you just kind of ‑‑ God, you have control. I wasn't even thinking of trying to two‑putt. I was just going to hit a nice putt, you know, and rolled by, and then all of a sudden you gotta ‑‑ then you miss that, and I had to make the next three‑footer coming back. It was one catastrophe after another.
And that was a very, very empty feeling, a terrible feeling. I know I had played great all day; I had fun all day. So finishing second is probably not the worst thing that happens in life. But you know, you put so much into it and played so well, it's sad to kind of finish like that. You know, I felt terrible about that.
I'd have felt terrible even if Bernhard had had control, where I kind of had control of it. That part was a very empty feeling. And then to come out and actually end up winning on the other end is, you know, it's nice, but it's, you know, not quite the feeling I was hoping for. But it's always nice to get a win. I played great today, and I played very solid all week, and putted well until today. It has its emotional ups and downs without question.
Q. Talk about the initial shock of walking off the 18th green. Did you think about, though, you felt the wind and you knew Bernhard, it was going to be difficult for him to stay with you, especially after the time you had had on those three holes. Did you talk about that right afterwards?
MICHAEL ALLEN: Yeah, exactly. Because I mean 16's a hard hole. You gotta hit a good tee shot, especially the wind is straight in your face. It's a very, very difficult tee shot. So I don't know where he hit that, but I guess he buried his second shot in the bunker. So that pin up front, it's just about impossible; these bunkers are tough on a good lie.
So you know, they are. They're very tough. And it's very tough to judge the wind out there, and he's probably pushing it a little bit because at that point I'm still kind of ahead of him.
So yeah, I mean it is tough like that. And that 17 ‑‑ you know, I hit a great shot there. It was 175 or something, kind of downwind, but you kind of thought it was off to the right. It was so hard to judge. And I misjudged the wind there the first day pretty badly.
So yeah, then you're kind of, I hit a beautiful little 6, a little knock‑down, a little 170 shot. It almost went in, but it just rolls over. So I know that's a very tough shot to judge. You think it's off to the right, buried off to the right, didn't come back. So I knew that was going to be a tough shot, you know.
And then 18, you kind of go, it's pretty much of a birdie hole. You got a good chance with this wind. But with the pin a little bit forward in the back part there, and you know, it is windy and it's tough to judge that.
So and I guess he didn't hit a good tee shot, from what I understand. I don't know, but you know, it is. It's hard to make birdie there to win. It's always going to be a hard putt. But it's one of the easiest holes of the three to finish, for sure.
Q. So you're standing back on the practice tee again. What's going through your mind there?
MICHAEL ALLEN: Well, you know, last time J.J. brought me a few vodkas out. Gotta put some levity to it. We stood out there and just kind of thought, you know, what are you going to do; just kind of talked and had a good time, warmed up a little bit, trying to keep loose in case we went back for a playoff. It was nice to sit there and listen to the tournament. And it was nicer to hear no big roar and the disappointment again.
Q. This kind of continues your surge on the Champions Tour playing well these last couple years. What's been the difference? It seems like you're closing some of these out really well.
MICHAEL ALLEN: Yeah. Mike Mitchell has helped me so much in my game. My game feels great. I enjoy off season, just exercising, working on getting my body, so I can live a healthy life, number one. And so far this year's kind of been a disappointing start. I wasn't in very good form early in the year. So I had those three weeks off, and I worked really hard to try and get my game back and really start playing well.
So I really took a lot of time in there to really play a lot of golf and practice a lot and get my game together. So the last two weeks have been a lot better. I've played very nicely and really look forward to moving forward positively the rest of the year.