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July 4, 2008

Allen's new game

Watch out Tiger Woods, Asher Allen is gunning for you.

No, Woods isn't taking up football although the Georgia cornerback has taken up golf, one of a number of Bulldogs who have recently started playing "the Gentleman's Game."

I've actually been playing for about a year," Allen said. "I'm starting to get the hang of it. I'm actually gotten where I play as much as I can."

Allen isn't the only one.

While a few of Georgia players like quarterbacks Matthew Stafford and Joe Cox have golfed for quite a while, Allen is one of a few just picking it up for the first time.

Others include defensive end Roderick Battle, defensive tackle Brandon Wood and freshman wide receiver Tavarres King.

"Rod, you watch him swing and he's got great torque, and looks real good swinging the club. He's got potential," Allen said. "Now Brandon let's just say he PLAYS golf and leave it at that. Tavarres, now, he's pretty good. Of all the guys who just started I'd say he's got the most promise."

As for Allen, the Tucker native said his biggest problem isn't necessarily getting from tee to green.

"I've gotten where I can hit it somewhat straight. I don't have that 100-yard slice any more," he said. "Now putting, that's another story. That's where I really need some work."

Allen admits that keeping up with opposing wide receivers is much easier than getting a little white ball to go where he wants it to.

He unashamedly admits that his lowest score to date is 95, although he believes that he can knock that number down five strokes if he can just start getting some putts to fall.

"This isn't putt-putt," Allen said. "The ball breaks all kind of ways. Reading where it's going to go has been my biggest problem."

Give Allen a driver any day.

"Oh, I can hit the ball," said Allen, who claims to have gotten off a 330-yard drive during a recent outing with teammates at Stone Mountain's Smoke Rise Golf and Country Club.

"I try to play pretty much year-round," Allen said. "Of course, it's kind of tough during the season, but whenever I get a chance I like to go out to (UGA Golf Course), knock it around a little bit."

No novice here.

If Allen can't play golf, he has no problem watching it on TV. A trip last April to The Masters was cancelled due to final exams.

"Did you see Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines?" Allen said. "To win like he did, with a torn ACL that was unbelievable."

Of course, Allen has another occupation that takes up most of his time.

The junior is coming into his own as one of the top cornerbacks in the Southeastern Conference after starting in 11 of Georgia's 13 games last fall with 64 tackles and three interceptions, two coming in the Bulldogs' Sugar Bowl victory over Hawaii.

"One thing about playing cornerback, you make a mistake, it's a touchdown," Allen said. "That's a lot of pressure, but I like it. I guess that's why I like golf; it's a different kind of pressure, but its pressure just the same."

Allen enjoys them both.

"I love playing cornerback because it's you against the receiver," Allen said. "In golf, you're out there on your own. Standing there trying to make that 3-foot putt to fall can be tough, too."



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