Michael Allen finally has the professional golf career he's always dreamed of. But it took him more than two decades to get there.
Allen, now 53, began playing at age 25, mainly in international tournaments. He won the 1989 Scottish Open, but left the circuit in 1995 to focus on his young family. Along the way, he tried different careers — teaching golf, medical sales and building homes — but his friends kept encouraging him to return to the sport, so much so that 10 of them contributed funds to support him for a full year.
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In 2009, Allen won the Senior PGA Championship, and this spring, two more tournaments. He tells us more about his life's new (or old?) calling.
Why do you think you're performing better now than in the '80s?
It's my perspective on life and the opportunities that I have with the PGA to make a living for my family. Plus, my swing coach, Mike Mitchell, has been great in bringing my game back together. He's got a different swing philosophy, more about getting my body in position, and then the arms will follow. My swing is much more biomechanically founded.
I also have a fitness expert helping me work out my joints properly. I guess I'm a little older and a little wiser; my ego is not as entrapped into trying to prove myself.
Your friends helped you financially so you could get back into the game. What gave them such faith in you?
My friends and I had a box at the Phoenix Open. While we were watching the game, they would say, "Why aren't you doing this? You're just as good as these guys." I think they cared for me, to be honest with you. They saw what I was doing, where my life was going, and not doing the thing I loved most, which is playing golf.
Have you kept your PGA tour card all along?
I got my card back in 2002, lost it, then got it back at age 45 and never lost it until just last year. From the ages of 45 to 51, this was the first time in my life that I was able to keep my tour card every year — which most players do when they're young. I was at the best point of my career in my late 40s and early 50s.
Next: Michael Allen's best moment in professional golf. »