Allen Doyle donates Charles Schwab Cup prize to charity

In this era of megabucks and mega-egos, golfers like Allen Doyle remind us what the spirit of the game is all about.

Doyle, among the most unlikely members of pro golf’s millionaires’ club, accepted the $1 million tax-deferred annuity that goes to the winner of the Senior PGA Tour’s Charles Schwab Cup and promptly announced that the entire prize will be donated to charity.

The Charles Schwab Cup is a bonus points program that rewards both top finishes and seasonlong consistency on the Senior Tour. Doyle, who had 25 top-10 finishes in 2001 and finished atop the money list with $2,553,582, has earned more than $6 million in three seasons since turning 50.

“I thought I had a great year in 1999,” he said when asked what prompted him to give away the Schwab bonus. “I still thought I had a pretty good year in 2000, but when I did what I did this year, as soon as I convinced my wife (Kate) that we were set financially, she was 100 percent behind it. I just felt like it was the fair thing to do.”

Doyle’s perspective on wealth reflects his path to riches. He didn’t turn professional until age 46, after a distinguished career in amateur golf. He represented America on four Walker Cup squads and two Eisenhower Trophy teams. He won the Sunnehanna Amateur four times, the Georgia State Amateur six times, and reached the semifinals of the 1992 U.S. Amateur.

Unlike many “career” amateurs, Doyle didn’t come from wealth. A former hockey player, he honed his unorthodox swing and financed his competitive schedule as a practice range operator in La Grange, Ga. “I picked up (range) balls and mowed greens,” Doyle told Golfweek in late 1995, after earning his PGA Tour card via a No. 2 finish on the Nike Tour. “That is not beneath me.”

With daughters Erin and Michelle to put through college, Doyle’s decision to turn professional was purely “economics.” He succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.

“Our lives,” he said, “have been changed forever.”

The beneficiaries of Doyle’s largesse include his high school and college alma maters, Catholic Memorial High in Roxbury, Mass., and Norwich University in Northfield, Vt.; Habitat for Humanity, Literacy Volunteers of America; St. Peters Catholic Church in La Grange; scholarships for children of police or firefighters who died in the World Trade Center attack; and the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund.

“I was a Francis Ouimet scholar,” Doyle said. “I still wonder how that happened.”

Somebody, it seems, recognized that Doyle would make the grade – with honors – in humility and generosity.

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