For several years Tyler Copp followed in the hockey footsteps of his older brother Andrew Copp, who plays for the National Hockey League’s Winnipeg Jets.
His father, Andy, was a youth hockey coach for both boys in the Ann Arbor area, and mother, Anne, was a figure-skating coach.
“We spent a lot of time at the ice arena,” Copp said.
Copp was a goalie, and he liked playing in the games. He also liked competing in golf, which he had been introduced to by his father. He finally elevated from recreation to competition in his junior year in high school.
Scores: Michigan Amateur
“Hockey games were great, and golf tournaments were great, but practicing, I like practicing golf, outdoors in nice weather, a lot more,” he said.
Copp, 22 and with two years of golf eligibility remaining at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, practiced the right things and recently won the Michigan Amateur Championship at Boyne Highlands Resort in Harbor Springs. He beat highly regarded and accomplished Michigan State player James Piot of Canton, 2 and 1 in the final match.
It was Copp’s first tournament win since a Michigan High School regional medalist victory in his junior year in high school and has given him what he called a renewed spirit and commitment to golf.
“Basically, I’m going to put my head down and see what can happen with the game,” he said. “Golf is crazy with the way it happens. You have two great weeks out of year, and if they are in two good events, things look pretty good.”
Copp is yet to win a college tournament at Mercer. That’s a goal this year, along with finishing his double-major undergraduate work in business management and entrepreneurship and deciding if he will use his redshirt fifth year made available by the NCAA due to the 2020 spring season coronavirus shutdown.
“Right now I’m thinking qualifying school for the Canadian PGA and maybe Latin America,” he said. “I have that option. I’ve done well in school, too. I’m not just looking at one thing. I’m preparing for life with options for a career in golf and without golf, but winning the Michigan Amateur has reinvigorated playing the game.”
He surprised those who eye the amateur golf scene in Michigan with his win in the Amateur, especially when he topped Piot, who had piled up a resume of junior wins and a Golf Association of Michigan Championship and seemed poised to add the Michigan Amateur.
“I wasn’t blown away by winning because I felt like I could win it,” he said. “I went in thinking only one player had the upper-hand on me and that was Piot. I decided to play my game, stick to what I do and it worked out well that I played him in the finals and I was able to get over that hump. He’s the best player in the state – that’s how I looked at it.”
In recent days the two played golf together with some friends at Eagle Crest Golf Club in Ypsilanti.
“We were on the same team, and we sort of had a little match of our own, but James went eagle-albatross on back-to-back holes, and that’s hard to beat,” he said and laughed.
Copp is working an internship in real-estate management for an Ann Arbor company, an admitted interest area of his, this summer. It ends soon and he will head back to college and Georgia where he works with golf instructor Brandon Stooksbury. Copp was essentially self-taught at the start before hooking up with Bill Davis of Jupiter, Florida, who he continues to see as his primary golf coach.
“I think since I was 19 and I took a gap year between high school and college, I’ve wanted to take golf a step farther,” he said. “I had the goal to win a college tournament last year. I finished third in the (Northern Amateur Championship) after being tied for the lead with nine holes to go last summer. I played well in a tournament in Texas with a lot of good players. The fall was decent, but I didn’t have that one week where things were really firing. The spring was cut short. It makes winning a college tournament the No. 1 goal when I go back this year.”
He demonstrated length off the tee when needed, but also sound course management in his Michigan Amateur performance. Copp feels the mental part of the game is his best attribute at this point. He said any transfer from hockey and having a professional athlete brother as a role model comes in the willingness to grind and work at the game.
“In terms of just skills, I’m pretty solid putting and hold myself to high standards there,” he said. “My mental game carries me. I stayed focused at the Amateur. I got in that zone and stayed with what I do best. I learned some things from winning. I want to do it again.”