- Mike McCoy says US team inspired after meeting Arnold Palmer
- "It was a thrill to get an up-close look at his life," said McCoy
- Says the US team have embraced him as 'Uncle Mike'
Walker Cup player Mike McCoy said Arnold Palmer was ‘moved’ after the US team sung ‘Happy Birthday’ to the seven-time major winner.
‘The King’ turned 86 yesterday and was visited by John ‘Spider’ Miller’s team last week as part of their preparation for the event at Royal Lytham & St Annes, where the US will be looking to make it back-to-back wins.
And McCoy, who had been out playing a few practice holes with namesake Lee, Beau Hossler and Denny McCarthy on Friday morning, believes that meeting up with Palmer has given the team a huge boost.
"It was a thrill for us to get an up-close look at his life" - Mike McCoy
“Arnold is a legend and I’ve always been a massive fan of his,” Mike McCoy, a father of four and winner of the 2013 US Mid-Amateur Championship, exclusively told bunkered.co.uk. “It was a thrill for us to get an up-close look at his life and have a real intimate chat with him.
“He gave us some advice, but it wasn’t so much about golf. It was more about how you conduct your life, speaking particularly about professionalism and responsibility.
“Meeting him certainly inspired the team and to mark his 86th birthday yesterday, we called him and sung ‘Happy Birthday’. I think he was quite moved by it.”
At 52, McCoy is at least 30 years older than all bar one of the US team – the exception being 37-year-old Scott Harvey – while the GB&I side are all aged between 19 and 26. So does the ten-time Iowa Player of the Year think that’ll work against the US team?
The younger guys in the team have all embraced me – they call me Uncle Mike
“I don’t think it’s a disadvantage,” said McCoy. “The younger guys in the team have all embraced me – they call me Uncle Mike – and we’ve gelled really quite nicely. We’re a close-knit bunch ourselves so I don’t think it will be a factor.
“We’ve played a lot of amateur golf over in the States over the last two years so I think we’ve come together quite well and, to be honest, I knew pretty much all of them before we met up. We haven’t needed to go through that transition and they’re all fine young men and players. I’m just hoping I can contribute to the team where I can.”
A transition the Americans have had to go through though is acclimatising to links conditions, playing at Hillside and Hoylake upon arrival in the UK at the weekend before making the short journey up the coast to play at Royal Lytham for the first time on Monday.
Unsurprisingly, McCoy has more experience than his team-mates when it comes to links conditions, and was glad to see the wind out in full force on Friday morning to give an insight into what things could be like for both sides when the match gets underway.
"It was a bit blowy but it was good to see it under those conditions"
“I’ve had some experience of links golf,” added McCoy, whose son Nate is a professional golfer. “I’ve played a couple of British Amateurs, the St Andrews Links Trophy and the Irish Amateur as well so I’ve made a few trips over here to play and I love the style.
“We went out this morning and jumped around a little bit, just trying to conserve our energy. It was a bit blowy but it was good to see it under those conditions and it was great preparation.”
Mike McCoy :: An inspired pick?
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