Follow Michael Miller at the U.S. Open
Two-time MGA Player of the Year Michael Miller of Brewster, N.Y., advanced through sectional qualifying at Canoe Brook Country Club on June 6, to earn his first trip to the U.S. Open Championship. Prior to his trip to Oakmont, we caught up with Miller for a brief Q&A, and now you can follow him all week long from Oakmont, as he shares his first major championship experience with the MGA:
Wednesday, June 15 - The Wait is Over
Well here we are—it’s the night before my first round of the 2016 U.S. Open. Today I played nine holes in the afternoon and got a feel for what the course is like later in the day. I slept in until about 8 a.m. My body was getting used to that 5:50 a.m. wake up call! I got some breakfast and we headed to the course around 11:45 a.m. On our way to the course we listened to my favorite music: anything PitBull.
It was a great drive into Oakmont today. I’m loose, and I’m prepared. Feeling prepared is a great feeling and I am lucky to have such a supportive team behind me. Tonight some more of my family and friends arrived and we had a great dinner, all 20 of us. After dinner, I came back to the hotel and visited with Casey’s parents and brother a little because they arrived shortly after dinner.
Tomorrow is another 5:50 a.m. wake up call, and it’s about to be the best wake up call of my life. Tomorrow begins my competitive journey here at Oakmont and boy am I thrilled. It’s pouring rain right now outside, so I hope that settles before the morning. As for my TV, Golf Channel is on 24/7, and I am enjoying listening to the history of the club, players and all things U.S. Open.
That’s all for now… It’s time to get some rest!
Tuesday, June 14 - Conserving Energy
Today was fun. I was comfortable. I only played the front nine because I can feel myself tiring out. It was nice to just play nine and enjoy some lunch and relax a bit. I went to the range after lunch and fine-tuned some things with my Dad and Brian by my side. It’s amazing how many people come out for a practice round, and to see people just sitting at the range, watching guys filter in and out.
The course, like I said, is beautiful. If I could, I would still be out there right now. But I know I need to limit myself and preserve my mental and physical energy. There is a right way to go about this week, and I am doing everything possible to figure it out.
My friend Brian Hughes, who is caddying for me this week, is a phenomenal green reader. Beyond that, his personality keeps me feeling calm and positive. He’s a great player and I am grateful to have him by my side. It takes a real friend to do what he is doing, considering he is a player on the Latin American tour himself. I trust him and I respect his game and respect how selfless he is being. We mesh really well and certainly want the best for one another.
After we finished up at the range and practice putting green we headed back to the hotel. I took a little nap before we headed to dinner and am really looking forward to going to bed this evening without setting an alarm. I’m planning on playing a little later tomorrow and need a good night’s sleep tonight because I know I won’t sleep all that well tomorrow night…
I have some family, family friends and members of KCC coming into town tomorrow, so I can’t wait to see some more familiar faces and get to show everyone just how special this place is.
Only one day left until the games begin… And I’m READY.
Monday, June 13 - Soaking it in
Today was another early morning wake up… But like I said, I’m not complaining. I was set to tee off at 8:24 am again with Keegan Bradley, Brendan Steele and also Shane Lowry. I’m beginning to get into a groove and becoming more and more comfortable with each minute I am here. There is a special feeling walking around the grounds here at Oakmont. I am seeing players who I look up to and players who I have played against before. You can tell that everyone is excited to be here. My dad arrived last night, so I was excited to get him out there to see the course.
We got to the course and I didn’t hit any balls. I went to the putting green outside of the clubhouse and rolled it. I didn’t want to hit balls. That’s not unusual for me.
I am quickly learning why I have been advised not to exhaust myself, because I am exhausted and it’ only Monday! Today was also the first day with galleries. I met some great people along the way today, playing nine with Keegan, Brendan, and Shane. My second nine holes were solo and it was nice to walk around and get some work in on my own with no pressure… Well, less pressure. It was just my father, Casey and Brian by my side. We are taking it all in, but prepping for competition.
The rest of the family will be here Wednesday and members from Knollwood will also be out here watching. I’m ready. I’m ready to get this week going and beyond thankful to have this opportunity.
Tomorrow is another 8:24 am tee time with Keegan and Brendan again. They have welcomed me out here and I am thankful for that. We enjoy playing together.
That’s all for now… It has only just begun!
PS - I wanted to use this opportunity to thank everyone who has reached out to me to wish me good luck. I am so lucky to have support from so many wonderful people, whether they are members from Knollwood, family friends, past teammates, classmates, friends or even just people I have met once or twice. I truly appreciate everyone’s support!
Sunday, June 12 - Up and at 'em
This morning the alarm went off at 5:50 a.m. If you know me at all, or know my habits, you know I don’t love early morning wake up calls, and I don’t usually leave myself all that much time for a warm-up in the morning. Well, as you can imagine, an early wake up call for a practice round at my first U.S. Open isn’t one I’m about to complain about! I couldn’t wait to get to the course and get started. By 6:45 a.m., we were out the door and meeting Brian in the lobby. Our ride to the course is about 15 miles. We are staying in downtown Pittsburgh. We hopped in the courtesy car and were on our way…
After stopping at Dunkin’ to get Casey her gallon of iced caffeine, we pulled into Oakmont and it was just as special as it was Saturday evening. I don’t think this feeling will fade all week. By 7:35 a.m., I was on the range getting loose. I got my first shot airborne…Phew.
|Miller & his caddie Hughes on No. 9 at Oakmont.|
The practice putting green is on the back of the 9th green—it’s like putting on a coffee table! We had a bit of fun watching the ball just keep rolling, rolling, and rolling some more. I got to see some familiar faces, particularly people from the USGA, as I waited to walk to the first tee.
My first tee shot was a drive down the middle. I knew it was going to be a fun day. I played with Keegan, Brendan, and Brandt Snedeker. I wasn’t expecting Brandt, but it was a pleasant surprise. In fact, on the 17th hole, I hit my drive a bit right and everyone on the tee box said “Good luck with that!” and “That’s dead!”... The 17th is a driveable par 4, uphill 314 yards with trouble everywhere. Brandt chuckled and said if I made birdie from that spot he would give me $100 and if I made par he would give me $20. After a flop over the bunker and a 10 foot putt for birdie, I’m $100 richer.
The course is difficult, as to be expected at a U.S. Open. The rough is thick, the bunkers are penal, and the greens are undulating. But all in all, today was a fantastic start to my first U.S. Open!
Saturday, June 11 - Road Trip!
Today I hit the road to Oakmont. Literally. After a seamless drive from Brewster to Pittsburgh with Casey (pictured right), we arrived at the host hotel around 3:30 p.m. I settled into the hotel and upon my arrival was a package from Polo. I’m officially dressed for the week and I didn’t even have to go back to Florida to re-pack after Sectionals last Monday! We settled in to the hotel and got dressed to head to the course. At the course, I registered, received my player package, and got the courtesy car for the week. Lexus is the sponsor, and the car had 56 miles on it when I got in—not a bad deal. Once I was done registering, the horn blew on the course as a thunderstorm rumbled in. I didn’t get to explore much, but sure am looking forward to my practice round tomorrow. As for tonight, I’ll relax and wait for my buddy Brian Hughes to get here and go get some dinner. Brian is on the bag this week and I’m excited to get this started with him. I’ll tee it up at 8:30 am with Keegan Bradley and Brendan Steele Sunday. Let the games begin!