Time Out with PGA Professional Sean McCarty – headed to the PGA Cup
PGA of America Historian and native Iowa Bob Denney spent a few minutes with McCarty during his preparations for the PGA Cup.
This week, Sean McCarty of Solon, Iowa, becomes the second native Iowan to compete in the PGA Cup, the premier international showcase for PGA Professionals.
McCarty is part of a 10-member United States team that hosts Great Britain & Ireland, Sept. 26-28, at Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa in Austin, Texas.
Great Britain & Ireland is bidding for a third straight victory in the chase for the Llandudno International Trophy. The U.S. leads the series, 17-7-4, but hasn’t had possession of the Cup since 2013.
Founded in 1973, the PGA Cup brings is nicknamed “the Ryder Cup for the club professional,” as its format is identical to its famous “cousin” event. There is no prize money and is the rare opportunity for a golfer to compete for one’s country.
McCarty follows Lonnie Nielsen, a former University of Iowa star and Belle Plaine native, to compete in a PGA Cup. But, McCarty is the first Iowa PGA member to qualify for a berth. Nielsen was a Western New York PGA Member when he competed in 1988 and 1996.
McCarty is in his 19th season as the PGA Head Professional at Brown Deer Golf Club in Coralville, Iowa. He earned his berth on the U.S. Team through a two-year points system. He gained his foothold for the team in 2018 after sharing second in the PGA Professional Championship at Bayonet Black Horse in Seaside, California.
This spring, McCarty missed the cut in the PGA Professional Championship at Belfair in Bluffton, South Carolina. His 2018 national performance was enough to ensure a trip to the PGA Cup.
Q: You are the second native Iowan to compete in a PGA Cup. How do you assess this accomplishment in your career?
Sean McCarty: It’s been on my bucket list. Last year, I played well at the PGA Professional Championship, and I had a chance [to win]. This year, I was hoping to play well in South Carolina. Things didn’t work out, but I did make the team. I haven’t been this excited to play in a golf tournament in a long time.
Q: What do you think about match play?
Sean McCarty: I consider myself pretty good at match play. I love the format. I won our Section Match Play Championship (Sept. 21) against Judd Gibb. It was a season-long event that we finally got finished… I love match play.
Q: What do you know about playing golf in Austin, Texas?
Sean McCarty: I played in Austin about 20 years ago on the former Nike Tour. But, we didn’t play at Barton Creek.
Q: The U.S. is facing a formidable Great Britain & Ireland team. They are full of experience and have a qualifying system that brings in stars from all over. What about the U.S. Team?
Sean McCarty: I have played with a few players like Bob Sowards (Dublin, Ohio) and Ryan Vermeer (Omaha, Nebraska). I like our team. It’s going to be a good battle.
I have played 18 years in a row in the Iowa Cup Matches again the top amateurs. So, I like match play and look forward to the challenge.
Q; That win in the Iowa PGA Match Play Championship came at quite an opportune time, right?
Sean McCarty: I like to compete, no matter what the situation. Judd Gibb won our Section Championship this year. We played at Beaver Hills Country Club in Cedar Falls. I made a 50-foot bomb on the 17th hole, and he missed a makeable one. This was my seventh title.
This article appeared in the September issue of PGA Magazine. Click Here.
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