Michael Allen will finally be able to relax during the holidays. No grinding, sweating or sleepless nights for the native Northern Californian, who secured his PGA Tour card last week with a tie for ninth at the season-ending Children's Miracle Network Classic. The $133,400 payday vaulted Allen from 123 to 106 on the final money list to secure playing privileges for 2009.
"It's nice to have a job," said the 49-year-old Allen, who turns 50 on January 31. "I'd love to have it happen a little earlier. You just go out and keep competing."
Allen has been through the Qualifying Tournament 13 times, earning his PGA Tour card a record nine times. But no matter what happened last Sunday, he had decided not to file an application for the Qualifying Tournament. Instead, he sent in an application to the Champions Tour Qualifying Tournament, which he withdrew Monday.
"Hopefully, I can get an invite or two," he said of the over-50 tour. "More than anything, I'm enjoying competing on the PGA Tour more than ever. I appreciate the whole experience."
The scary part for Allen is as well as he played down the stretch, had he missed the cut in the last event, he might have been out of work.
"Isn't that amazing?" Allen said. "The money is just so big out here, it's absurd."
Allen was paired with rising young star Jason Day at Disney. His thoughts?
"If you're a good, young player, you're going to make so much money," he said. "Day is going to make $25 million."
Allen played clutch golf during the final round at Disney. He birdied his first two holes, three of his first four, then toured the back nine in 4-under 32 to complete a 67. He credits a switch back to his long putter and hard work with coach Mike Mitchell for his stellar play.
"For the most part, I've played solid all year," Allen said. "The putter has held me back. I play good, I finish 35th. So it always seems to come down to this."
Given his success at the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament, his advice on the grueling ordeal is worth noting. His two keys:
Outlook: you need to be desperate. It's a great opportunity; treat it like that.
Be prepared: "It's like two-a-days. I worked so hard, there was no way I was not going to make it. Just go out there and play and try not to make mistakes."
-- Mark Soltau