Interview With Michael Weaver (Quarters)

August 17, 2012

PETE KOWALSKI:  We'd like to welcome Michael Weaver of Fresno, California, a 4 & 3 winner in the quarterfinals over Ricardo Gouveia of Portugal.  Michael, quite a run for you.  You were in the playoff, and now you're in the semifinals of the U.S. Amateur.  Tell us what that means to you.

MICHAEL WEAVER:  Awesome.  I mean having a great week, and I couldn't be happier.  Just to make it through the playoff was great.  With 17 for four, you never want to be that guy, so I was happy to get through.  And then kind of take one day at a time, one match at a time, and I've played well.  I feel like I haven't played my best.  I played really well against Patrick Rodgers.  That was the best I've played all week.  But then the other three matches I feel like I've really managed my game well, and it's really paying off.  I feel like I've played smart and I've put myself in a great position.

Q.  You were playing a guy today, Ricardo, who until today had not trailed in any matches.  He had only played 45 holes.  What were your thoughts about playing somebody that hot coming in?

MICHAEL WEAVER:  Yeah, right.  Last week I think ‑‑ not last week, yesterday, I think I saw he won like 6 & 4 or something, so I figured he was obviously playing really well.  He might have had a little help from his opponent.  But to win in that margin, you have to play well.

I was concerned, but I knew that ‑‑ I'm in the quarterfinals.  I knew it was going to be a tough match.  There was no doubt about that.  But he kind of struggled a little bit today, and I was able to kind of take advantage of that on the front nine.  I played really well tee to green and really felt like I didn't make any mistakes on the front, and that was key, because I kind of got a little shaky after the turn, but fortunately I had the nice 4‑up lead to kind of give me a cushion.

Q.  Do you feel like you as a guy that red shirted a year ago and probably were under the radar for a lot of folks that might be playing against; is that an advantage for you?

MICHAEL WEAVER:  Not really.  I mean, I know most of the guys here.  I've never played Ricardo, but most of the guys here, we play all the same summer tournaments.  They knew I was red-shirting.  It definitely does feel like I'm a little more under the radar, I suppose, because it always seems like I'm answering ‑‑ I red shirted, or were you on the team at the national championship that made the semis and all that, kind of explained to them what I did.

But I still ‑‑ I mean, all these guys are my friends.  I know a lot of guys out here and played a lot with them, so I don't feel like people have never heard of me, I guess.  I am playing under the radar a little bit, though, I think.

Q.  But as a competitive golfer you delayed your golf because of admission to a professional school, right?

MICHAEL WEAVER:  Correct, yeah.  At Cal they have ‑‑ for a business degree you have to apply to the undergraduate program and about 50 percent of the applicants get in, so me and Brandon Hagy who's my teammate and a couple others, as well, they are all doing the same thing, and Brandon red shirted in 2010‑2011; I did it this year.  So it's something I wanted to do, and it helped me, like I said, with my game, gave me a year to improve and kind of stretched out college a little bit.

My goal is to hopefully play professionally, and I feel like I've benefitted from it all around, school and golf.

Q.  I was going to ask you about that red shirt year.  Anything in particular that you worked on during that year?

MICHAEL WEAVER:  Yeah.  Mostly it was my short game and inside about 120 yards.  That was where I was the weakest.  The wedges were probably the weakest.  That was where I needed to improve the most.  I had always been pretty solid tee to green, and I hit it reasonably far to where if I could improve my wedge game, I could probably improve my scoring average quite a bit, and that's helped.  I've been working on my short game a lot.  When I got to Cal, it was mediocre probably, and now I feel like I've turned it into somewhat of a strength.  I usually hit it reasonably well and don't leave myself in too bad a spots to where my up‑and‑downs are more manageable, and my score has improved.

Q.  Did you have a particularly good wedge shot today that maybe was a turning point or anything?  Or save something?

MICHAEL WEAVER:  I think one of the really key ones was on 14.  Making bogey there was ‑‑ I kind of made a mess on 13 and 14, but to tie the hole with bogey there, I mean, you don't want to lose holes to a bogey ever.  I mean, that isn't very good.  So I was glad that I was able to hit my third shot back on the fringe.  I felt like I made a good decision to putt rather than chip.  It was just so fast.  And then to make the putt coming back after Ricardo missed his par putt, that helped.  Yeah, that set up the 4 & 3 win.  If I miss there, then I've got to win two holes.

Q.  Can you give us the detail on that hole?

MICHAEL WEAVER:  Yeah, I pushed my drive right, kind of started hitting it around a little bit off the tee at the end.  I was trying to run it up on the green.  I had no chance if it flew to the green.  My ball was sitting down a little bit.  I think I just got it a little too far left to where it caught the slope, and from there I just figured if I could land it somewhere around the front of the green with a wedge, it would get up the ridge and probably to the back edge.  And when I hit my shot there, it kind of kicked right.  I wasn't really expecting to hit it, and instead of ‑‑ I was thinking it would bounce straight and kind of take the break and go a little to the left, but it kicked right, and it probably would have rolled over the green anyway, but it was just a little further from the hole, and then from there I was just trying to lag it down, ran about four or five feet by and then made a good putt coming back to stay 3‑up.

Q.  How far was that wedge?

MICHAEL WEAVER:  I'm not sure.  It was about 50 ‑‑ I think it was about 50 to the front, 65 to the center.  I wasn't really too worried.  I don't know how far it was to the pin, I was just trying to carry it right on the front and just let it roll out.  I mean, I wasn't expecting ‑‑ if I would have hit that inside 20 feet, I would have been thrilled.

Q.  You've got such a strong Cal team, four guys in the top 100, and you probably would be if you hadn't have red shirted.  Do you guys help pull each other up and help improve and feed off each other?

MICHAEL WEAVER:  Definitely.  Yeah, we're a very competitive team.  Everybody on the team, we're great friends, and we really push each other in practice.  We always have ‑‑ we have a really good short game area, and that allows us to have some really fun competitions, stuff like that.  And then in qualifying we always have some sort of game where we've got a team game or whatever and we're playing each other.  Everyone wants to beat everybody kind of thing on the team.  We're all very competitive, and it really helps.  I mean, it brings the team closer together, too.

Everyone on the team lives together.  We've got great chemistry.  That really was the difference for the guys this year.  I noticed it kind of sitting on the sidelines, I kind of had like a more objective view of things, and it seemed like compared to the previous years, the chemistry was good, but this year everyone seemed to really rally around each other.  They realized that they had the chance to do something great, and they did.  They made a great run at the NCAAs, and I think having strong players around, it helps everyone and the guys who are younger.  They can learn from us, and it's great all around.  It benefits everybody.

Q.  You're making slow steps toward the goal.  How much percentage has your confidence increased with each victory?  Do you just feel it, or has it increased as you've gone on in your matches?

MICHAEL WEAVER:  I wouldn't say it's increased.  I felt like I was playing well coming into the week.  I felt like I really got a good week of practice in leading up to the event.  Prior to this I missed the cut at a tournament.  I kind of didn't ‑‑ I did a couple things not very well, and it kind of lit a fire under me, and I felt like I really put in a lot of hard work last week, and that gave me a lot of confidence.

Winning obviously feels pretty good.  The two comebacks yesterday obviously kind of boosted me up a little bit, but today I just went out there and tried to play under control, you know, and I got off to a good start fortunately, which was key, I thought, and from there I knew that I was playing pretty well and that I had a little bit of a cushion, and he was going to have to do something good probably to catch me, assuming I didn't start to slip.

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