Player’s Take: Cooper Musselman
September 16, 2020
By Staff, PGATOURLA.COM
- September 16, 2020
- After his victory at The Invitational at Auburn University Club, Musselman is ranked fourth in the Race to The Bahamas Points Standings.
Two weeks ago, Cooper Musselman won his first multi-day tournament—as a professional—when he captured the LOCALiQ Series’ Invitational at Auburn University Club. While the Bluegrass State native did win the Kentucky Open, that triumph came while he was still an amateur playing for the University of Kentucky. Since turning pro, Musselman married his wife, Madison, took her on a “honeymoon” in both Lethbridge and Windsor—site of two Mackenzie Tour events—picked up two dogs along the way, made a cut on the PGA TOUR and finally took Madison on a real honeymoon. Yes, it’s been an eventful 18 months for the Kentucky grad who still pulls for the Louisville Cardinals.
After I won the LOCALiQ Series tournament in Auburn, I was actually planning on driving back to Kentucky immediately to get to my friend David Snyder’s wedding. But with the playoff running long, I wouldn’t have gotten on my way until after 6.
Instead, I ended up staying the night in Auburn because I didn’t really want to get in at 4 in the morning. Thankfully, I got to the wedding the next day, and it was great, a very fun time. I was really happy for David, really happy to be there to celebrate with him.
The night of my win, I spent a lot of time responding to friends and family. My phone blew up with texts after I won. Just to see that so many people were following along and have been following me ever since I turned pro meant a lot. Now I’m finally having some success, and having them as soon as the tournament was over calling and texting was a really cool feeling.Ver esta publicación en Instagram
Cooper Musselman venció a Bryson Nimmer en el cuarto hoyo de un desempate para ganar el evento de #LOCALiQSeries en Auburn, Alabama. After tying for first at 18-under, @coopermusselman defeated Bryson Nimmer on the fourth hole of a sudden-death playoff to win The Invitational at Auburn University Club. #SouthernCompanySwing #RaceToTheBahamas 🇧🇸
I was born in Louisville. I stayed there until I went to the University of Kentucky, in Lexington, where my dad and uncle played college golf. My grandpa actually played too, at the University of Louisville, so my college options were always between Louisville and Kentucky.
In high school, I was always wearing a lot of red and black. I was, and still am, a big Louisville fan. Basically, from sixth grade on, I went to every Louisville college basketball and football game that I could until I went to Kentucky.
The UK-University of Louisville rivalry is a great one. It was definitely a weird experience for me to go to Kentucky, but you know, the choice just made sense. I lived in Louisville my entire life, and I wanted to get out a little and see a different city. I knew a bunch of guys on the Kentucky team, so that made it easier. The coaches were great, and if I had to make the decision over again, I would definitely choose UK.
I still pull for the Cardinals, and I am a Kentucky fan. I know, it’s definitely kind of a strange situation. I only cheer against the Wildcats when they are playing Louisville. I cheer for Kentucky every other time.
My college career was just a really good time. It was so much fun. We had a great group of guys on the team, and we all knew each other before college playing on different high school teams. We got to know each other really well.
Golf-wise, going from high school to college was a huge jump. Coming into Kentucky, I was just happy to be there, to be on the team. And then after my freshman year, I feel like I got a lot better.
I actually redshirted my freshman year, so that year I didn’t get to play at all and was fine with that because the team was good. The next year, we lost some seniors, and I was able to play in a lot of the events. That’s what helped me get a lot better. I got to play a lot of tournament golf courses in some really hard conditions.
Playing in the Southeastern Conference was really cool. I think the SEC is the most-stacked conference. The competition was unbelievable, and that’s another reason that motivated me to go to Kentucky—to play against some of the best college golfers in the world.
The thoughts of maybe making professional golf a career came during a big turning point in college. The summer after my redshirt year, I had a top-10 in the Southern Am, so I was feeling pretty good. At my first collegiate event the next season, at Kiawah Island’s Ocean course, I think I shot 67 and was leading after the first round. I was kind of like, Wow, this is my first college event, and I handled myself well. I’m leading. I feel like I can do this for a while, and this is fun. I want to do this forever.
We played in the NCAA Championship in Eugene, Oregon, at Eugene Country Club in 2016, and that was probably the coolest experience I’ve had. I mean, the course was awesome. The greens were the nicest ones I’ve ever putted on. The course wasn’t overly long, but it was very challenging. I really like that style of golf, an old country club where the greens are rolling 15, 14 (on the Stimpmeter). I would say that’s up there with one of my favorite courses. Just being there for the NCAAs was really cool, and the style of golf is awesome. I really enjoyed that week.
My freshman year I took a Communication 101 class. My teacher was Mr. Alan DeSantis, and I think I only liked the class because of him. He had really good energy. It was a class of 300 people and really interesting. That was probably my favorite class in college, Comm 101.
In 2018, I received an exemption to play in the PGA TOUR’s Barbasol Championship. That is the most nervous I’ve ever been. Standing on the first tee, my hands were a little shaky, and I looked down, and the driver was moving all over the place. Everything was moving so fast at that moment, so I didn’t even really get to enjoy it. The crazy part is, you’re there, you’re supposed to enjoy it, but I was so nervous I didn’t get to.Ver esta publicación en Instagram
This past week was amazing!Thank you to everyone who came out to support me in my first PGA event. Also, I would like the thank @barbasolchampky for allowing me to compete in this event. It’s awesome to have the PGA tour back in the bluegrass. I hope to be back next year 🏌🏻♂️
We played Keene Trace Golf Club, site of the Barbasol Championship, a lot in college. There were 50 to 60 people at the tournament to support me, which was really great. There were a lot of my buddies from high school, buddies from college and all my family. But that probably made it more nerve-wracking because I knew all of them, and if I hit a bad shot, they would give me some grief for it.
It was really cool when the announcer said, “Out of the University of Kentucky, a graduate this past year, Cooper Musselman.” It was a little special for me.
Making the cut was definitely the first goal. It felt pretty good to do that in my first event. That was my first professional payday ($7,840 for tying for 57th). I was very fortunate to get that paycheck.
The following year, I again played in the Barbasol Championship, this time with Cullan Brown. We both received exemptions, me as a former UK golfer and Cullan a current Wildcat. I left UK the year Cullan came in as a freshman, so I got to know him a bit through the recruiting process. He committed his junior year, so his senior year was him getting as close as he could to the team. We got to spend a little time together.
Cullan was such an awesome guy. I’ve never met anyone like that, so comfortable in his own skin. He was himself. He was himself 100 percent of the time. He wasn’t trying to impress anybody. He could put a smile on anyone’s face. I would just ask him how his day was going, and his voice was just so funny and meek. He made me smile anytime he talked.
When I found out Cullan died, I was actually in my living room. I knew with his bone cancer, things weren’t looking great, but not to that extent. Unfortunately, I had to find out through my wife, who saw the news on Twitter. It was not the best way to find out and was just a terrible feeling. I felt so bad for his family, who have been through so much.
I’ve been married for a year now. I met Madison at UK. She’s from Lexington. Our first date was actually in Louisville. We had known each other for a little bit, and she was going to be in Louisville for something, and I was in Louisville for the summer, so I got the courage to call her and ask her if she wanted to hang out, go on a date.
We got married in June 2019, so we didn’t go on a honeymoon right away because I had to go straight up to Canada and play a couple of Mackenzie Tour tournaments right. That was kind of the honeymoon we had, in Canada. We actually ended up going to a home her parents own in Scottsdale, Arizona, in October of last year for a belated honeymoon. That was fun.
When the Mackenzie Tour got canceled, we were kind wondering what we were we going to do. I thought about trying to play in some Monday qualifiers, but they’re so tough to get through. Once we got the news that we would have the LOCALiQ Series, I was thrilled because we were going to have stuff to play in.
On the LOCALiQ Series tournaments, we carry our own bags. I’ve done that plenty of times, so doing it for at these events, where we don’t have caddies, isn’t a problem. I’ve carried my bag during some Monday qualifiers, and I carried my own bag a few times up in Canada.
My ideal day with my wife would be to sleep in a little bit, have some coffee, hang out with our dogs all day, maybe go to the beach and have a date night. I like spending time with her.
Madison was watching scores from Auburn on the app. After regulation, I didn’t even really check my phone, or have time to text her and tell her I was in a playoff. I think right after the last playoff hole, I reached in my bag and the first person to call me was her. I picked up my phone, and she was calling. Great timing. She was very proud, and it made me feel like that’s why I do this.
We have two dogs. Our dogs’ names are Flynn and Mack. Flynn is a cockapoo, and he’s about four-and-a-half now. Madison got him right after our first date. I texted her the next day after our date, and said “I thought last night went great. I would love to see you again. What are you doing today?” and she said, “I’m actually going to go out and get a dog.” That was when she got Flynn.
And then we got Mack after we were married. Mack is our youngest dog, an Australian shepherd-poodle mix. He’s 10 months old, and we got him Christmas of last year. They’re both very hyper dogs, and we love it when they get that way. They’re a lot of fun.