Although most of the world may know him only because of his last name, Andrew Giuliani is creating a name for himself in elite golf circles.
The son of the former New York City mayor, who by age eight was being impersonated by Chris Farley on Saturday Night Live and by 15 had played a round of golf with Tiger Woods, is now the reigning New York Metropolitan Golf Association Player of the Year and one of several golfers in contention for a spot on Duke's spring tournament roster.
"I think that's quite an honor," head coach Rod Myers said of the award, which will be formally presented to Giuliani Dec. 6 at New York's Westchester Country Club. "The metropolitan area has always had outstanding amateur golfers, and for Andrew to have won that award, I told him that's something he's going to be proud of the rest of his life."
Giuliani's accomplishment is even more impressive considering the MGA title goes to the player who accumulates the most points over the course of the summer. Even with Giuliani returning to Duke for classes before the summer schedule completed, the sophomore had build up such a large points lead that the second-place finisher could not catch up in the three extra tournaments he played in September.
Though Giuliani only competed in one tournament for the Blue Devils his freshman year, he has grown immensely since arriving at Duke. Giuliani began playing competitive golf a mere four years ago and his time in Durham-from the instruction he has received from Myers to the climate allowing him to play year-round-has continued to sharpen his game.
"I'm still learning a lot, and I'm learning at a much more rapid pace than a lot of people are at this level," Giuliani said. "I feel like what I'm doing is pretty impressive, and I'm just excited because everyday I learn something new and I'm able to work on something new."
One of the greatest challenges Giuliani faced last season was his tendency to reroute his club on his drives, which led him to struggle off the tee. But Myers, who said Giuliani's work ethic is a primary reason for his success, was able to work with the sophomore throughout last year to correct this flaw in his swing.
"He had this big swinging hook all the time and it was having a negative effect on the rest of his game," Myers said. "We wanted to make his forward swing on the same plane as his back swing was on. Once he did that, he got into a good position where he felt comfortable with it all summer."
Giuliani's steep learning curve and self-professed competitive nature led him to finish as the low amateur in the New York State Open this summer-and it also explains why he is thriving at Duke and positioning himself to take a spot on the competitive roster.
"That's probably the best thing about being down here-when you have 13 guys on a team that can play very well, you're always getting pushed because the only way you're going to stand out is if you improve," Giuliani said.
Junior Michael Quagliano, also from New York, has been one of the players who has pushed Giuliani the most, as the two played regularly together over the summer at home, the sophomore said.
Continuing to improve his game and working to stand out on his own is important for Giuliani-but, the son of one of America's most famous politicians doesn't shy away from his name or the attention it brings him.
"I try to accept it because it's something that I've had to deal with for 12, 13 years now, and it's something I'm really going to have to deal with... throughout the rest of my life," Giuliani said. "I'm very proud of my mother and father and their accomplishments and where they've put me in life. They've given me an opportunity to do something that not many people have. And I think that I need to recognize that and [think about] what can I do with that."
For now, Giuliani can keep working over the winter so he can compete for the Blue Devils this spring.
"He's worked really hard," Myers said. "I don't think there's any question that he should have a good opportunity and a good chance to be in our lineup."
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