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Interview With 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur Champion McCoy

October 10, 2013

MODERATOR:  We have Michael McCoy, the 2013 U.S. Mid‑Amateur champion here with us.

Mike, if I could start it off, can you tell everyone here how you feel after winning a USGA championship after all this time in golf.

MICHAEL McCOY:  It's a great day for me.  And I'm very thrilled to finally have won a championship.  I've been trying for a long time.  And I've had a lot of friends over the years that have won the championship along the way.

They've all encouraged me to kind of keep battling, keep trying.  And so that's kind of what I've done.  I really chase the dream for a long time.  And it kind of came true today.

Q.  Have you heard from anybody the last couple days?

MICHAEL McCOY:  Yeah, I have.  I've had a lot of calls and emails from a lot of guys like that, that have won championships.  I've got a lot of good friends, Tim Jackson, Bobby Marucci, and all those guys that sent me notes of encouragement.  And it was pretty nice knowing I had their support.

Q.  Was there one thing that they sent you to get you through?

MICHAEL McCOY:  To keep focused, keep playing.  Nobody gives you a national championship.  You've got to earn it.  So I stayed pretty focused and that was their suggestion and I tried to follow it.

Q.  I know Carl Forrester came up today and said he texted you last night, but he didn't want to jinx it?  Talk about what that meant to you to have a couple of the guys here.

MICHAEL McCOY:  Yeah, I mean I think it's a reflection of the game and the friendships you build over the years.  And it was great.

I had a good friend and client in St. Louis fly in this morning, as well.  It meant a lot.  As you said, lots of folks back home are supporting me or following me.  But it's really what this game is all about.  It brings people together.  And over the years you grow great friendships.  So it's pretty special.

Q.  How about the obvious question of how playing in the Masters means to you?  How much did you allow yourself to think about that?

MICHAEL McCOY:  I tried not to.  Obviously it was ‑‑ when I got dormie, I have to admit it crossed my mind a few times.  But I was really trying to stay present.

Q.  Have you been to Augusta?  Have you been to a Masters?

MICHAEL McCOY:  I have.  I have.  Yeah.  Pretty special.  Pretty special.

Q.  How many times have you been?

MICHAEL McCOY:  I was following Zach [Johnson].  But over the years a lot of those younger guys I've played with, certainly in the last ten years or so.  It's nice to see all those guys doing so great out there.

Q.  Have you played it?

MICHAEL McCOY:  I have played it.  I was a guest and I played it twice.

Q. You've been chasing this dream since you were 19.  Can you think back over all the years and the next couple of weeks and you look at the trophy and see the names on it?

MICHAEL McCOY:  Yeah, it will ‑‑ I'm sure it will mean a lot to me the rest of my life.  And to be a champion and be part of USGA history.  It will be something I'll cherish and I'm really excited to share that with my family and my friends back in Iowa.

Q.  You are one of the ‑‑ presumably, one of the older Mid‑Amateur champions.  Did you ever allow yourself to think about that?  Can you address a little bit of that?

MICHAEL McCOY:  Well, I guess every year you think it's your farewell tour.  So, you know, and so ‑‑ but, you know, when you love it, when it's in your blood.  I guess I'll probably keep doing it, you know.  It's kind of what I do.

Q.  Randy Lewis won this event two years ago at 54. Was that an inspiration to some of you guys that are in that age?  That it can be done?

MICHAEL McCOY:  It was.  That was certainly inspirational.  And I remember, it might have been ten years ago, Tim Jackson said to me if I can win one of these, you can win one of these.  And that kind of stuck in the back of my mind.  And you just ‑‑ you keep trying to get better.  You keep practicing.  You keep trying to make improvements.  And you hope some day you'll be good enough to do it.

Q.  He's won two?


Q.  Yesterday you talked about all the hard work.  And now here's the pay off after all these years.  But talk about the process that you had to go through.  Talk about all the little things that people don't see when they come to these things?

MICHAEL McCOY:  Yeah, you know, I do ‑‑ I do make the time to get out and hit balls after work.  Some days you get up early before work and go practice your chipping.  And little things that you're the only guy out there and you're just kind of ‑‑ you know, you just trying to get a little better, and get a little more confident.

And I've got a friend that coaches me, teaches me, over in Omaha, it's a two hour drive over there to get a lesson.  And two hours back, and two hours on the tee.  So it's half a day.  So I've done that a lot of times.

But I think most of it is when you're in a tough situation, you have to hit a tough shot, you know you've done it a hundred ‑‑ a thousand times.  So it really isn't ‑‑ it's work, but it's a lot of pleasure, too.

Q.  What was going through your mind at the start of that match?

MICHAEL McCOY:  Yeah, that first hole, I haven't played it very well all week.  And it's a difficult shot into the green.  And it was a difficult hole location.  I really ‑‑ that was a mental mistake ‑‑ my engine was probably running a little too fast and I should have chipped it out kind of to the side.  I thought I can take that shot on.  And I knocked it right in the middle of the creek.

So anyway, I'm glad it happened on the first hole, somewhere in the middle.

Q.  Your caddie, Richard Sexton, requested you because he thought you had a chance to win. Did he voice that to you in advance or is that coming after the fact?

MICHAEL McCOY:  No, he did.  He actually did.  He was very ‑‑ he was very helpful this week, very encouraging.  He knew the golf course well.  So he gave me good lines and he knew where the lumps were in the greens and that was helpful to kind of avoided trouble.

Q.  Still having someone that knows what they're talking about must be helpful?

MICHAEL McCOY:  It was helpful.  It was very helpful.  When you're out there and you're trying to stay focused and you're having someone that ‑‑ he was really ‑‑ he was pretty intense and he worked hard.  He kept me involved.

Q.  You seemed not to struggle at all out of the bunkers?

MICHAEL McCOY:  I did.  I think I was perfect out of the bunkers.  I don't think I failed to get up and down out of any bunker shot.  So that was pretty good.  It is one of those shots I've got a lot of confidence in and I can get it up and down.

Q.  You had a 3-up lead going up to 17 this morning and you won the last two holes.  Describe the difference between being 5 up versus 3 up going into the afternoon?

MICHAEL McCOY:  I was trying to get as many up as I could.  You don't know what's going to happen in these matches.  I've won matches where I've been four down.  So I knew there was a lot of golf to be played.  He misplayed his drive, hit it in the left rough and had a difficult shot into 17.  And I hit two good shots there, just a couple of inches short of being perfect.  So he hit it into the rough.

Then 18 I just ‑‑ I knew I was probably ‑‑ had a little too much club and I didn't want to leave it in that front bunker.  So I kind of played to the back of the green.  And made another good two‑putt there.  It was helpful.

Q.  Can you talk about that two‑putt on 18?  That was at least 40 feet.  You kind of just nestled it down there.

MICHAEL McCOY:  Yeah, you know, it ‑‑ putting is one of those things, some weeks you have it and some weeks you don't.  And really kind of when I stepped foot on the property Wednesday, the putting green, everything seemed to feel pretty good, the speed, my hands were soft, and I felt the ball rolling off ‑‑ coming off the putter nicely.  And I really had a great week with putter.  So that was ‑‑ of course that's important, you know.

Q.  Especially in match play?


MODERATOR:  Thanks for your time.  Congratulations on your first USGA champion.  We can call you a USGA champion from here on in.

MICHAEL McCOY:  Thank you very much.

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