KORN FERRY TOUR INSIDER
Miller gets confidence boost after making cut in Bermuda
November 03, 2020
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
- Michael Miller finished T49 at the 2020 Bermuda Championship. (Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Michael Miller owes Ryan McCormick one.
The two New York-area golfers are now roommates in Jacksonville, and McCormick did all the heavy lifting (no, seriously) this past weekend moving into their new place together in Florida. This while Miller, who is 77th on the Korn Ferry Tour Points List, found the weekend at the Bermuda Championship on the PGA TOUR.
Miller topped the field at the Monday Qualifier to earn his place in the field – his first TOUR event since the Travelers Championship in 2019.
“He said, ‘You better make the cut so then you can buy some furniture,’” said Miller, with a laugh, from his childhood home in Brewster, New York, where he’ll spend a little time coming down from the jubilation of his week in paradise where, yes, he did make the cut.
Miller said he’s walked away from his week on TOUR with a lot of confidence. Despite not being in contention (he finished T49) he said his game wasn’t too far off from a very good week, he said. With winds whipping across the island he had three double bogeys and three three-putts, but he was happy to know he didn’t have to play the best golf of his life to just make the cut.
Instead, he expected himself to play well – unlike all his previous TOUR starts.
“I expected myself to play well (last week), whereas last year at the Travelers or a couple of the majors I’ve played in I was kind of ‘hoping’ to play well,” said Miller. “There’s a lot of stuff that I need to improve on in order to be a contender out there but it’s nice to know that I can move into a very nice direction and I can compete out there with the world’s best which is something quite cool. That’s where you want to be.
“You see so many familiar faces you’ve grown up playing against and you […] I didn’t beat all of them but I beat of few of them and that’s cool to walk away with.”
Brewster, about an hour from Manhattan, is where Miller – whose father is a PGA pro and the only coach Miller has ever had – spent his entire life before heading to Penn State University. Miller played hockey until he was 18 and travelled for that during the winters. Instead of retreating south for golf he hit balls at Golf Quest, a year-round driving range in Brookfield, Connecticut.
In Bermuda he said his father, Bob Miller, was there – but just as a father.
Prior to the week they were player-coach, working on a couple of small things for his PGA TOUR start, but upon arrival on the island, it was just going to be a fun week for father-son.
“You could go and have a rum swizzle and enjoy that with your dad, versus him being your coach 24/7,” said Miller, with a laugh. “It was extremely unique and satisfying. He got to experience the week as a father.
“I told him when I got there that unless things were really going bad I wanted him to experience the week as a dad. You don’t get to do that too often. There were a few moments where I asked him how the alignment was, but that week was just about me going to play golf.”
In a year filled with uncertainty, Miller ‘just going to play golf’ wasn’t guaranteed – but he’s earned a place amongst the Korn Ferry Tour’s top half.
He had conditional status to start the 2020 Korn Ferry Tour campaign, mostly thanks to a runner-up at the 2019 BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by the SYNNEX Corporation, which came after he missed 10 of his first 12 cuts last season.
“I was almost praying for a job,” said Miller of 2019. “If I didn’t finish second at the BMW, who knows, I might have gone back to Q-School then who knows where I’d be.”
But Miller finished T60 in Bogota before nabbing a top-15 finish in Mexico. After the COVID-19 break he finished T10 at the Korn Ferry Challenge at TPC Sawgrass, which essentially secured him starts for the balance of the year.
“To go out after the COVID-19 break and get the top-10, it gave me the confidence to move forward. I don’t have to stress about a job,” said Miller. “I tried to make as many cuts as I could and rattle off some good momentum in a row but you need points.”
Miller added another top-10 at the Pinnacle Bank Championship presented by Aetna and is in prime position to crack The 75 at the conclusion of the 2021 portion of the 2020-21 wraparound season on the Korn Ferry Tour.
He said after helping McCormick with the moving – finally – he’ll try to Monday Qualify for The RSM Classic in Georgia before putting a bow on 2020.
The inspiration is there, he said, to get out of the gate firing strong in 2021 after seeing, and beating, multi-time TOUR winners like Keith Mitchell, Hunter Mahan, and Jhonattan Vegas.
Back in Brewster, a return to the small town north of New York City prompted Miller to realize how much support he receives, and how thankful he is for it.
“There are so many people here who support me and I don’t even know,” he said. “Kids on the high school golf team now will reach out and root for me and it’s something you never really thought of looking back on it.”
And if Miller continues to feel as good as he does with his game right now, he’ll be giving them a ton more to cheer about soon.