Doyle, Patrick J.

Patrick J. Doyle, nicknamed, the Smilin’ Irishman, a grand-uncle of Eamonn Darcy, the star of the 1987 Ryder Cup at Muirfield Village, was named one of the fifty most influential people in Irish golf in the past 100 years. His sobriquet and undoubted sunny disposition may relate to his good fortune at missing his passage on the S.S. Titanic in 1912 due to the late arrival of his train at Cobh, Co. Cork. In 1908 he was engaged as resident and first professional at Delgany Golf Club in County Wicklow, he was later employed by Finglas Golf Club’, in the 1911 census his residence was Glasnevin and this was the date the club was instituted.

Upon his arrival in the United States Doyle quickly took up a position of resident professional at the exclusive and prestigious Myopia Hunt Club, Massachusetts, a frequent venue for the US Open at the turn of the twentieth century. A gift of the gap and a smidgen of blarney – skimmed milk masquerading as cream – may have been at play as the NYT referred to him as an erstwhile Irish champion. However, he was clearly an accomplished golfer despite being a back-marker qualifying for the US Open at Brookline Country Club as a 73 on the third round vaulted him up the field finishing into tenth place – an incredible achievement. In the 1913 US Open at Brookline Pat Doyle playing out of the Myopia Golf Club finished on 311 just seven strokes behind Vardon, Ray and Ouimet for tenth place.

Sometime bedore joining South Shore Field Club he may well have returned to Ireland as their is a record of him boarding the Cymric on 27 March 1915 in Liverpool, it is believed he was travelling with Peter O’Hare (or O’Hara as he became known Stateside). As a footnote the boat was later torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine off the Irish coast in 1916. Patrick Doyle was still playing out of the Myopia CC when he entered the US Open in Baltusrol GC in the same year (1915) but he didn’t qualify with two rounds of 84.

In 1916 Doyle lost the Massachusetts State Open to Mike ‘King’ Brady, a first generation Irish American. Doyle was a successful teaching professional and tutored William Howard Taft, the first US golfing president, Joseph Kennedy, Jack Dempsey, and Joe Louis. He was engaged by; South Shore Field Club [1916-1917], Deal GC [1918-1920], Bluff Point CC [1925], Elmsworth CC [1927] and Linwood GC (1928).

Doyle is quoted by H B Martin in his book Great Golfers in the Making:

‘There are two things to consider in playing from a sand trap, and
the most important of these
is a relaxed grip with loose wrists.
….. The other essential is the opening of the face of the Niblick,

thus permitting the club
to cut in under the ball. …. From a deep trap you explode the ball out

as the best means of
extracting it.’ (Pat Doyle, golf professional at Myopia Hunt)

At Englewood Doyle teamed up with Marion Hollins in a great war relief tournament and were beaten to second place by one shot. In the Shawnee Open tournament Doyle was playing for South Shore but finished out of the money on 313 (Jnt 18th) compared to Eddie Loos aggregate of 290. When the North and South Open took place in March 1918 Doyle was playing for Deal CC and was now fairing much better finishing joint second behind Fred McLeod. He repeated a second place finish at an Open tournament at Asheville N.C.. On 20 March 1918 he won the Jacksonville Open leaving Jim Barnes, Eddie Loos and Jock Hutchinson in his wake, the success was attributed to the new Spalding ’40’ golf ball he was using.

In 1918 season Doyle played in some exhibition matches for the Red Cross and United War Work Fund:

Gil NichoUs and Wilfrid Reid defeated Pat Doyle and Jim Donaldson, 5 and 4, at Long Branch, N. J.

Gil Nicholls and Wilfrid Reid defeated Jim Donaldson and Pat Doyle,2 and 1, at Deal Beach, N. J.

Pat Doyle and Tom Boyd defeated Jock Hutchison and Bob MacDonald, 1 up, 19 holes, at the Ridgemoor Country Club, Chicago.

From June 9-12 1919 the Open Championship was played at Brae Burn where he finished in joint 18th (319) behind Hagen (301). 1919: Pat Doyle, the Eastern pro, set a new record for the Ridgemoor Club,Chicago, with a 73, clipping one stroke off the previous record.

In the 1920 US Census Doyle gives his address as Manhattan, 1908 as the year of US immigration, naturalisation in 1914 and describes himself as a golf expert. At this stage he was married to Catherine, an Irish-girl, and they had a one-year-old child, Joseph.

The following article appeared in the Hutchinson News:

Patrick J. Doyle Dies At Age Of 82 MOUTN VERNON, N.Y. (AP) 
— Patrick J. Doyle, 82, of New York, a longtime golf professional,
died Monday night (29 March 1971)at Mount Vernon Hospital after a
long illness. A native of Dublin, Ireland, Doyle came to this country
as a youth. He was cited by President Woodrow Wilson for his efforts,
in benefit golf matches during World War I.

Reading Sources:

  • Delgany Golf Club Centenary 2008
  • Gorry Research – Pat Doyle – A Forgotten Irish Golfer
  • ‘ Porter’s Guide and Directory for North Dublin 1912
  • Trenham Golf History