A few days ago, Tyler won the North & South championship at the Pinehurst resort. He was playing in this competition since he was in high school, and just like his grandfather, he has landed the title.
Tyler will be heading to the Palmetto Amateur this week, then on to the Sunnehanna Amateur, Western and US Amateur this week as well. He will then return to Georgia Tech for the fifth year this fall.
21-year-old Tyler Strafaci is the second in the Strafaci family line to have won the annual North and South Men’s Amateur Golf Championship. He spoke about this in an interview with Golfweek.
He spoke to Golfweek today, giving insight to his win and exactly how he felt about carrying the title, among other things. First, he was asked what he knew about how his grandfather played and what he has been told. According to him, people who knew Frank Strafaci personally, including his father, knew him to play very consistent short games and was the toughest competitor they had ever met.
He saw his grandfather be very gritty, hard-working, and respectful considering his past experiences in life, that fact that he was an Italian immigrant and all of that. It turns out that what fascinated Tyler the most was how much a competitor his grandfather was.
When he was asked about the way he played, Tyler praised himself by saying his iron play was solid, and he gives his teammates lessons about what they should do in a way that does not deem to be too knowing or anything of that sort,
“I feel like I’m very consistent because I’m a good iron player, and I play the courses on how they should be played. Sometimes I don’t overpower them. I’m relatively long, but I try to play the course conservative aggressively, and I play a lot of chances for birdie during the round. I make a lot of birdies and don’t make a lot of bogeys”. He asserted that the advantage he had from Pinehurst no. 2 aided his excellent play.
Tyler was asked what his father had told him or did after his win, and his response was, “All I remember from after I made my putt, I looked over to my dad and he had his hands raised, and he had tears coming down his face. He hugged me, and he said, ‘You did it, bud. Just yourself, you did it. You worked so hard for this opportunity, and you did it. Grandpa Frank would be proud.’ I remember looking out of the corner of my eye as I was walking off the green to see my friends, and my dad pointed up to the sky with both of his hands. You could tell this meant a lot to him”.
His father also played in the North & South in the past and claimed he felt a lot of pressure since he thought he was being compared to his father(Frank Strafaci). Tyler also admits to feeling pressured sometimes.
Is this his most significant achievement?
When asked where the North & South title ranked on his all-time gold accomplishment, he puts it ahead of making the US Open at Shinnecock, and he feels that was a great achievement because he was still a teenager then but his winning the North & South has always been his dream since he was a kid.
His grandfather didn’t make the Walker Cup team in his time, something he still regrets, but Tyler has made it his goal to be the first Strafaci to make the Walker Cup, he nearly made it last year but admitted to not playing well enough.
Frank Strafaci, Tyler’s grandfather, won the title in 1938 and 1939. He won the US Amateur Public Links and ninth at the US Open, both in 1935 and 1937, respectively, all in the same decade. He was also a multiple-time champion of the Metropolitan Gold Association, Amateur, and Long Island Amateur as well.
Tyler seems like a focused, competitive young man who has many years ahead of him to be that veteran he wants to be, just like his grandfather, with more practice and consistency he will get there in no time.