Nov 26, 2008

Michael McDermott: William Hyndman, III Player of the Year

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Player of the Year

 Michael McDermott’s record fifth William Hyndman, III Player of the Year Award came on the heels of arguably one of the most dominating amateur seasons in the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s 112 years.

  McDermott, who chose to forgo shoulder surgery in the off season in lieu of rehab, picked up right where he left off after last year’s Joseph H. Patterson Cup victory, tacking on wins at the 2008 Middle-Amateur and Amateur championships to become the first player to hold all three titles at the same time.

  “The Player of the Year is not something you think about when you start a season, but to win it five times now, I feel very fortunate,” said the Bryn Mawr, Pa., resident who also lays claim to POY titles in 2000-01, 03 and 07. “The mere fact that I was able to play this season felt like a bonus to me and I was ready to take advantage of the opportunity.”

  McDermott finished the year with 990 POY points, a staggering 368.4 points ahead of second-place finisher Glenn Smeraglio of Yardley CC.

  In addition to the wining the Mid-Am for a second time and the Amateur title for the first time, the 33-year-old Merion GC member also managed to finish as low Amateur at a rain-shorted Open Championship. It was an event McDermott classified as a disappointment because he felt he was playing well enough to make a charge in the second round.

  “I had a chance to do something special if I could have pulled that out,” said McDermott of possibly winning the Open and becoming the only player to hold every major GAP championship title at the same time. “It was a little frustrating because I was playing so well, but Mother Nature just didn’t cooperate to let us get out there for round two.”

  Nonetheless, McDermott’s efforts allowed him to finish in a tie for second place in the Silver Cross standings with Cole Wilcox of Philadelphia CC, a tough player McDermott had to surpass in order to win the one major Golf Association of Philadelphia amateur event not already on his impressive golf resume.

  “The highlight of the year for me was the final of the [Amateur Championship] against Cole Wilcox where he and I both played beautifully all day,” McDermott said. “It was a title that had eluded me and to play so well on Father’s Day weekend with my 3-month-old son waiting for me in the clubhouse was a real thrill.

  “There are so many great players in [the Association] and our events are so popular that to come out on top is a tremendous honor,” McDermott added. “Everyone that plays competitive golf knows that wins are so difficult, so to win this award after having won two major events this year is very gratifying for me.”

  And when asked if there was any secret to his season-long success, McDermott didn’t point to coaching, rehabilitation on his shoulder or even his dedication to the sport as a reason for his best tournament season to date. Rather, McDermott’s success stemmed from an unlikely yet welcomed distraction in which he didn’t hesitate to point out.

  “Changing diapers,” he simply stated. “Changing diapers.”

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