Senior golfer Brendon Doyle is calm, quiet and relaxed — just like the sport he plays.
He has no superstitions. He has no rituals. On the surface he is just a golfer enjoying the course.
The Louisville native may come from a basketball state, but for him, golf has never been a question. It is a sport that runs in the family.
“My grandpa was a PGA professional, so I grew up around it,” Doyle said. “I’ve always wanted to play since I was a little kid, so it’s been a blessing to have been able to be here and play competitively at the best level.”
The success that began with his grandpa did not stop with Doyle, however. Doyle’s younger brother Drew was named Mr. Golf in Kentucky last fall.
“He’s become a really good player, probably one of the best juniors in the country, which is really cool to see,” Doyle said. “He’s in the middle of recruiting right now and it’s cool to see him playing well and getting better every year.”
When it was Doyle going through that recruiting process, the decision was easy for Coach Mike Mayer.
Mayer saw great athletic ability in Doyle, but it was the upside that caught his attention.
“The easy part is the numbers, because it is a numbers-based game for us,” Mayer said. “The hard part is, is there something left in the tank, is he going to get better?”
Doyle’s first two years at IU placed him among some of the best players on the team.
In his freshman year, he played in the second most amount of tournaments on the team while having the second best average round score.
His sophomore year he participated in every tournament, but fell back to fourth in terms of best average-round score on the team.
“We saw everything we thought we were going to see the first couple years,” Mayer said. “This is a big time transition. When you raise the level of the competition you’re playing against, it definitely has an impact on what you can do.”
For Doyle, everything was headed in the right direction until his junior season.
His junior season started off strong. He placed in the top 25 at three of his first four tournaments.
Then things took a turn for the worst.
After those first four tournaments, Doyle did not place in the top 50 at any tournament and did not participate in the Boilermaker Intercollegiate or the Big Ten Championship.
“The biggest thing for me was, I wasn’t really having fun with it,” Doyle said. “I was expecting myself to play better. It’s hard to put that much pressure on yourself and really perform.”
During the most recent fall season, Mayer referenced that rough junior spring season for Doyle by saying he had lost his mojo and was not having fun with the game.
In an attempt to improve his game and clear his mind before his final year as a Hoosier, Doyle decided to take a break from competitive golf during the summer.
“I wasn’t sure if I wanted to pursue it competitively,” Doyle said. “Not that I wouldn’t put everything I had into it, but looking back, that break helped me get back to where I needed to be.”
The break was able to do exactly that.
During this past fall season, Doyle was a co-medalist at the Windon Memorial in Evanston, Illinois. This was the first time in his career that he finished first place in a tournament.
Following that result, Doyle was also named Big Ten Golfer of the Week for the first time in his career.
“It was the first time in a long time that I was really comfortable in that position of being in the hunt and being one of the leaders coming down the stretch,” Doyle said. “I haven’t come that happy off the golf course in a while.”
Mayer, who is in his 19th season as head coach of the Hoosiers, mentions having many memories while coaching.
One that he feels will stick with him forever is watching Doyle come off the course at the Windon.
“He was floating off that golf course,” Mayer said. “It was quite a moment and scene for me to watch.”
Mayer also said that he didn't know if Doyle was going to win the tournament or even tie for first. But, Mayer could tell he was doing everything he could do to pull out the win.
The new mentality Doyle has had this season has lead to him becoming more of a leader according to Mayer.
As Doyle enters his final spring season with the Hoosiers, he is still unsure of what the future holds, but he hopes to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and pursue golf at a professional level.
Doyle’s aforementioned calm behavior along with his humbleness has resulted in him not focusing too much on his legacy, but he hopes the younger golfers can learn from his story.
“I’ve tried my best and really put everything that I could out there to make the team better,” Doyle said. “Hopefully I can be remembered as a competitive player who’s always driving to be the best.”
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