MSU's James Piot enjoying recognition from U.S. Amateur victory
Oakland Twp. — To say the past week has been a whirlwind for James Piot would be an understatement.
It was eight days ago the Michigan State golfer won the U.S. Amateur at Oakmont Country Club near Pittsburgh, becoming the first golfer from the state to capture the Havemeyer Trophy. It’s been a blur ever since, an electrifying handful of days that included throwing out the first pitch at Comerica Park last week then culminated Monday at Wyndgate Country Club where former Spartan great Kirk Gibson was hosting his annual golf outing to benefit his Parkinson’s Foundation.
“I’ve actually lost track of time, that’s how crazy it’s been,” Piot said. “Life’s been a lot different, just the people reaching out and seeing the support from Michigan has been the coolest thing ever. And I've actually been recognized a few public places already, so I do feel a little bit like a celebrity.
“I tell people that it feels the same as every other week, I just woke up and happened to get lucky and win a golf tournament. It’s changed my life, so it’s been phenomenal.”
At Monday’s event, Piot wasn’t golfing, but he was having some fun chatting with those getting ready to hit the course while posing for multiple pictures with his trophy.
That included Gibson, who welcomed Piot on the driving range.
“It’s an honor to meet you,” Piot told Gibson, the two-time World Series champion with the Tigers and Dodgers, NL MVP and Michigan State Hall of Famer from his days as a football and baseball star with the Spartans.
As Piot talked with Gibson, Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo arrived.
“How’d you like my tutoring?” Izzo joked as he put an arm around Piot.
The two laughed as Piot recounted the final holes of his come-from-behind, 2-and-1 victory over North Carolina's Austin Greaser.
Piot will start classes next week for his final year at Michigan State and is preparing for the start of the Spartans’ fall season in just about two weeks.
He’s working on getting stronger to add some length off the tee, but other than that, the focus will be on getting “back to normal” and starting to dial back in on his game.
“I’m just going to enjoy the moment and focus,” Piot said. “We’ve got a college season coming up in a week-and-a-half teeing off up north, so I’ll just enjoy that, my last year of school and keep getting better.
“I’m riding this emotional high right now and it’s been kind of crazy. But I’m really looking forward to being back to being a student at Michigan State. That's my favorite place in the world, so it’s gonna be fun.”