jump to navigation

SJFS 2019 Night 2 recap April 29, 2019

Posted by Mike C. in Food, Golf, Internet, Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel, Weather.
1 comment so far

Other SJFS recaps: 20082008 meet-and-greet20092010201120122013 Night 12013 Night 22014 Night 12014 Night 22015 Night 12016 Night 12016 Night 22017 Night 12017 Night 2, 2018 Night 1, 2018 Night 2, 2019 Night 1

The 17th annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars run by keyboardist Jay Rowe resumed on Saturday night with the second of two concerts. The headliners were Brian Simpson, Eric Darius, Jessy J, back for the second year in a row, and Steve Oliver, back for the second time in three years.

I could only manage about four hours of sleep early Saturday morning, but it felt like more than that. I got out of bed at 5:45 AM and began my exercises and pre-run stretches. Then, I headed down to the West Haven Best Western‘s fitness center to run 42 minutes on the treadmill. I had to enter my weight in kilograms and speed in kilometers per hour. It’s a good thing I had a converter on my phone. As has been the case semi-regularly since January, I did not take any breaks. It was 42 minutes in a row. That was all I needed to reach my monthly mileage goal of 150 miles.

After free weight exercises, I showered and changed into a second t-shirt and pair of shorts. Then, I brought my laptop and portable hard drive down to the lobby. While guests came in for breakfast, I was fine with a cup of tea. I’d have preferred hot chocolate, but it’s only served in the winter. Two hours later, I went back to my room and finished editing. My parents texted me from across the hall to ask if I’d like to eat a late breakfast at the nearby Denny’s. I agreed. We also ate at Denny’s the morning after SJFS in 2009 when we stayed at the adjacent Hampton Inn.

As with Sally’s yesterday, I took a few pictures at Denny’s:

The weather was better on Saturday: partly to mostly cloudy, but dry. I was underdressed, though. A t-shirt and shorts were the wrong things to wear. It’s a good thing I had my spring jacket.

The menu had an option to make your own Grand Slam breakfast. I chose two buttermilk pancakes, a buttermilk biscuit, hash browns, and two sausage links.

I grabbed a picture when I was down to the pancakes:

Back at the hotel, I showered again and worked on the rough drafts for this post and the one before it.

Eventually, the time came to drive to Veterans Memorial Auditorium at the Parsons Government Complex in Milford.

Jay Rowe’s mother Mia DiStasi was the last person I saw Friday night and the first I saw Saturday.

Kevin McCabe welcomed the audience one minute before 8:00:

Then, the Foran High School Jazz Ensemble, led by Jessica Turner, came on stage:

They performed two songs. First, a Gordon Goodwin composition, which I haven’t heard on any Big Phat Band album, called “Tweet Fatigue”:

…and Doc Severinsen’s arrangement of Hoagy Carmichael’s “Stardust” for The Tonight Show Band:

Five minutes later, musical director Jay Rowe and his band took the stage.

As usual, Jay played keyboards:

He was backed up by Trever Somerville on drums:

Unfortunately, that was only one of two pictures I got of Trever, but you can see him in other pics.

On his birthday, Steve Scales on percussion:

Dave Anderson on bass:

…and on 11 of the 15 songs, Rohn Lawrence on guitar:

The headliners were Steve Oliver on guitar and vocals:

Jessy J on tenor saxophone:

Brian Simpson on keyboard:

…and keytar:

…and Eric Darius on alto sax and occasional vocals:

SET LIST
1. There She Goes (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Upcoming album
Featured musicians: Jay Rowe (keyboards), Steve Oliver (guitar, vocals)

2. High Noon (Steve Oliver)
Originally heard on: Positive Energy (2002)
Featured musician: Steve Oliver (guitar, vocals)

3. Illuminate (Steve Oliver)
Originally heard on: Illuminate (2018)
Featured musician: Steve Oliver (guitar, vocals)

4. Tequila Moon (Jessy J)
Originally heard on: Tequila Moon (2008), Live at Yoshi’s 10 Year Anniversary Special (2018)
Featured musicians: Jessy J (tenor sax), Steve Oliver (guitar)

5. All I Want (Jessy J)
Originally heard on: Live at Yoshi’s 10 Year Anniversary Special (2018)
Featured musician: Jessy J (tenor sax)

6. Just What You Need (Brian Simpson)
Originally heard on: Just What You Need (2013)
Featured musician: Brian Simpson (keyboard)

7. Persuasion (Brian Simpson)
Originally heard on: Persuasion (2016)
Featured musicians: Brian Simpson (keyboard), Eric Darius (alto sax)

8. Breakin’ Thru (Eric Darius)
Originally heard on: Breakin’ Thru (2018)
Featured musician: Eric Darius (alto sax)

9. L.O.V.E. (Eric Darius)
Originally heard on: Breakin’ Thru (2018)
Featured musician: Eric Darius (alto sax)
L.O.V.E. is Eric’s marital acronym for “living our vows every day.”

10. The Tango Boy (Jessy J)
Originally heard on: My One and Only One (2015), Live at Yoshi’s 10 Year Anniversary Special (2018)
Featured musicians: Jessy J (tenor sax), Brian Simpson (keytar), Jay Rowe (keyboards)

11. Chips and Salsa (Steve Oliver)
Originally heard on3D (2004)
Featured musicians: Steve Oliver (guitar, vocals), Brian Simpson (keyboard), Jay Rowe (keyboards)

12. Saturday Cool (Brian Simpson)
Originally heard on: It’s All Good (2005)
Featured musician: Brian Simpson (keyboard, keytar)

13. Love is the Answer (Todd Rundgren composition for his band Utopia)
Featured musicians: Foran High School Advanced Ensemble Chorus (directed by Theresa Voss), Eric Darius (alto sax), Jay Rowe (keyboards)

14. Night on the Town (Eric Darius)
Originally heard on: Night on the Town (2004)
Featured musician: Eric Darius (alto sax, vocals)

15 (Finale). Happy (Eric Darius) (Pharrell Williams cover)
Originally heard on: Retro Forward (2014)
Featured musicians: Everyone

Jay did not play on Brian’s three songs.

The first group of pictures by artist is for Steve Oliver:

Guitar symphony orchestra:

Vocals:

Audience sing-a-long:

Steve started “Chips and Salsa” in the audience:

Along the way, he prompted them to shout “¡Olé!”

Back on stage…:

“Where’s the party?”:

“Ohhhhh-oh! Sing!”:

They did:

There was more to echo after that:

Including complicated vocalise:

Their effort passed muster: “Aw, you’re hired. You’re comin’ on the road with us.”

Jessy J:

Brian Simpson on keyboard:

…and keytar:

Eric Darius:

Eric prompted the audience to wave their phones’ flashlights at the start of “L.O.V.E.”:

… What this light represents tonight is unity ’cause we are all united, and most importantly, this light represents love, L.O.V.E.

In the middle of the song, after sitting on the end of the stage:

…he walked down to them, high-fiving some along the way:

Back on stage:

Big finish:

“Love you, Milford!”:

During “Night on the Town,” more audience participation: “Ooh-ooh!”:

“Now, somebody scream!”:

He returned to the audience for “Night on the Town”:

As Eric made his way to the other side, I smiled for my camcorder, then panned right when I got back in position:

Back on stage:

Jay Rowe:

The end-of-solo glide:

The second Trever Somerville pic:

Steve Scales:

Dave Anderson during his “Saturday Cool” duet:

Rohn Lawrence’s “Breakin’ Thru” solo:

Jessy and Jay:

Jessy and Steve:

Rohn and Jessy (and Trever):

I just missed his wolf whistle riff.

Eric and Brian:

Rohn and Eric:

Jessy and Brian:

Brian and Jay’s Jessy J-sanctioned keyboard competition:

I call it a draw.

“Brian Simpson! Jay Rowe!”:

Brian and Dave:

“Love is the Answer,” with the Foran High School Advanced Vocal Ensemble, directed by Theresa Voss:

The finale: “Happy”:

“Oh!” “Yeah!”:

Eric named all performers…:

“I’m Eric Darius! We love you! God bless! Thank you!”:

Air Darius:

That’s it!

A selfie for Brian’s Facebook page:

Here’s how it looked:

Jay brought up the rest of the band for a group bow:

That marked the end of the 17th year of Smooth Jazz for Scholars.

What a fantastic night! And what a workout! The health app on my iPhone says I took thousands of steps both nights. I was cold in my short-sleeve shirt when I arrived both nights, but I was hot when the house lights came up and the stage was struck. That’s a workout.

During the show I once again caught up with my photography colleagues Ron Hancox, Keith McDonald, and Bill. Before and after, I spoke to Jay Dobbins and John and Barbara again. Afterward, I saw my friends Kelly and Jen.

Kelly was nice enough to take pictures during the meet-and-greet. First, Brian Simpson:

Next, Jessy J:

Jessy asked what I’d been up to since last year. I gave her the highlights, including my cousin David’s wedding down in Miami. Jessy’s 8-month-old son is also named David.

Then, Steve Oliver:

Seconds before Kelly took the above picture, she said she loved “Chips and Salsa” and Steve proceeded to vocalize. That cracked me up. Before that, he noticed the 2019 PGA Championship shirt I was wearing. I told him I’d be going to the final round at Bethpage Black golf course in a few weeks. I added that I wore the 2018 U.S. Open shirt that I got ahead of that tournament, held at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton. I said I arrived at the course for the third round at about the time Phil Mickelson moved his ball on the 13th green while it was still rolling. Getting back to music, after Kelly took our picture, I told Steve I was glad he played “Illuminate” because it made me think of the late Chuck Loeb, who played SJFS five years ago. We both miss him, and I know anyone else that followed his music misses him, too.

5/6 UPDATE: My friend John Caramagna took a candid shot of the above moment from another angle:

Finally, I met Eric Darius:

I told him I liked his energy, bouncing around the stage so fast. I didn’t realize he was pointing at me when we posed, just as I didn’t know Matt Marshak’s expression last year. I would have pointed back. Eric said it was because “you’re the man.” I told him he was the man and thanked him for a great night of music.

Kelly and Jen were waiting outside to take me back to West Haven, but I had to say hi to Dolly Moye before I left. I saw her dancing in the right aisle both nights, but didn’t get to talk to her on Friday.

On the ride back to Best Western, Kelly and Jen shared stories from their union’s strike against Stop & Shop earlier in the month. I was glad to be with them.

I went right to sleep after returning to my room. Once again, I could only manage a few hours of sleep. I woke up around 4:45 AM and started going through photos from the night before. I weeded out the poor quality shots, pausing periodically to do push-ups and jumping jacks. I noticed the dawn sky outside my 7th floor window, which had a southeast exposure, and broke out my camera:

20 minutes later, the sun was in view:

Another 10 minutes passed and I took my last sunrise pic:

I could also see Long Island Sound and the north shore of either Miller Place, Rocky Point, Shoreham, or Wading River, based on Google Maps:

I put my camera away and went down to the fitness center to lift weights. Then, I went back to my room to start editing Saturday’s pictures, shower, and pack up.

Checkout was at 11:00, so with everything else packed, I packed up my laptop and proceeded to the lobby. My parents and I left the hotel at 11:10. As we pulled out of the parking lot, the England Dan and John Ford Coley version of “Love is the Answer” was playing on SiriusXM 70s on 7, which was running the April 28, 1979, episode of Casey Kasem’s American Top 40.

Just like last year, an hour and 40 minutes later, even with a heavy pocket of traffic in Stamford, we were home. Traffic is always lighter getting home late Sunday morning than it is going to New Haven County on Friday afternoon. I finished editing half a mile from my house.

I put the finishing touches on the two recaps today. Thank you for reading and viewing along with me, and thank you to everyone I encountered while in Milford and West Haven. Until next year, so long.

A day on trains and at the 118th U.S. Open June 18, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Golf, Media, News, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
add a comment

I spent 2 1/2 hours with my dad at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club on Saturday for the third round of the 118th U.S. Open.

It was the fifth time Shinnecock hosted the U.S. Open, and fourth since 1986. Counting this one, my dad has been there every one of the those modern four. This was my second time, having gone in 2004 when Retief Goosen won. It was his second U.S. Open victory. With my grandpa, my dad saw Raymond Floyd win in ’86, and, with his friends, saw Corey Pavin win in ’95.

Getting to and from Shinnecock Hills was an adventure. My mom dropped my dad and I off at the Wantagh Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) station at around 10:45 AM. Dad bought our round trip train tickets, which required changing at the Babylon station, the end of that branch of the LIRR. We didn’t have to wait long as an eastbound train arrived while walking up the stairs to the platform. 20 minutes after boarding, we were in Babylon. We followed a few other fans that were bound for Shinnecock to another platform and boarded a Patchogue-bound train at 11:17. Just under an hour later, we were in Patchogue. Unfortunately, the Montauk train that would ultimately take us to Shinnecock wasn’t due to arrive in Patchogue until 1:17.

With an hour to spare, Dad and I walked to a nearby waterfront seafood restaurant, Harbor Crab, that he saw as we pulled into the station.

We both ordered Fish and Chips, which was delicious.

After paying the check and leaving a tip, with 15 minutes left to spare, we headed back to the LIRR station.

It took another hour to get to Shinnecock Hills, but we were finally there:

Dustin Johnson won the U.S. Open two years ago when it was held at Oakmont Country Club:

A monitor showed Dustin Johnson, the 36-hole leader, practicing before his disappointing round of 77 (+7):

I asked Dad to take a picture of me at the course map:

On the way home, I posted an edited version of the pic to Instagram:

View this post on Instagram

My dad and I spent two hours or so at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club for the third round of this year’s U.S. Open. We spent more time traveling there round trip, though.

A post shared by Mike Chimeri (@mikechimeri) on

The iconic clubhouse:

2010 [British] Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen and Patrick Cantlay on the 13th green:

The 13th fairway:

Aaron Baddeley and Xander Schauffele:

Tyrrell Hatton’s ball in the 12th fairway:

This year’s Masters champion Patrick Reed after his second shot:

The 15th tee:

Aaron Baddeley after his tee shot:

This is what the leaderboard looked like before dry, windy conditions got the better of the players:

The 16th tee and 5th green:

Bryson DeChambeau’s tee shot:

Hideki Matsuyama’s tee shot:

In the distance on the 5th green are Ian Poulter and Brooks Koepka:

It didn’t occur to me that a day later, Koepka would repeat as champion.

The 17th tee:

The 18th fairway and green:

The main leaderboard:

The grandstand:

Baddeley and Schauffele completing their rounds:

DeChambeau and Matsuyama completing theirs:

Not wanting to get home too late via multiple trains, Dad and I headed for the merchandise tent, where I bought a ticket holder:

Then, we walked back to the LIRR station, a temporary stop during the championship, and waited 15 minutes for the train back to Babylon.

I hope to be at Winged Foot in 2020:

I hope traffic and transit is better in 2026:

Dad suggested Mom pick us up in Babylon rather than wait for a train to Wantagh. She agreed. The train arrived at the temporary station 20 minutes before its scheduled departure. Since the train was full up, it left eight minutes early. Unfortunately, it ended up in Babylon ten minutes late. The railcar my dad and I were in was standing room only. We found seats, but other passengers stood in front of us until seats became available at Mastic-Shirley. Chatter and loud young girls dominated the ride, and reached a crescendo when one girl, bless her heart, had a meltdown one stop from Babylon.

In all, Dad and I spent 3 1/2 hours traveling to Shinnecock Hills, an hour and a half traveling from there to Babylon, and about 20 minutes in Mom’s SUV back home. Though we spent less time at Shinnecock, it was still a great experience, especially considering Brooks Koepka ultimately won the next day.

The New York Metro Area has two more years of local majors. Next May, the PGA Championship will be at Bethpage Black Golf Course in Bethpage State Park – the first year its held in May – and, as seen earlier, the U.S. Open comes to Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck in June 2020. I hope to be at both.

For now, I’ll leave you with media links. While aggregating them, I noticed that the USGA was heavily criticized for their conduct during this year’s U.S. Open, but I chose not to look at those.

U.S. Open website:
118th U.S. Open Sights and Sounds: A Look Back at a Great Week
Final Round: Highlights Down the Stretch
Brooks Koepka’s 68 in less than 3 minutes

Fox Sports:
Brooks Koepka on winning the U.S. Open for the second year in a row
Brooks Koepka shoots 2-under to win the U.S. Open for the second year in a row
Joe Buck and Paul Azinger wrap up the 2018 U.S. Open

Newsday (Newsday or Optimum subscription required for all links):
Fans say attending U.S. Open a treat on Father’s Day
Mark Herrmann: Repeating at U.S. Open puts Brooks Koepka in elite group
Curtis Strange welcomes Brooks Koepka into back-to-back club
Long Island crowd gives Phil Mickelson a mulligan
Brooks Koepka wins, becomes seventh player to repeat as champion
LIRR: More than 78,000 passenger trips to, from U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills

Golf Channel:
Back to back: Koepka wins second U.S. Open
Repeat U.S. Open win gives Koepka credit he deserves
Best Father’s Day ever: Bob Koepka soaks in son’s victory
Koepka: ‘It is much more gratifying the second time’
Koepka’s caddie pushed him to ‘keep plugging away’
Koepka’s Father’s Day gifts … just U.S. Open trophies
U.S. Open purse payout: Koepka clears $2 million

8/13 UPDATE: Koepka went on to win the 100th PGA Championship yesterday at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, coincidentally in his 100th career start. He is the fifth golfer to win the U.S. Open and PGA Championship in the same year. The first four were Gene Sarazen in 1922, Ben Hogan in 1948, Jack Nicklaus in 1980, and Tiger Woods in 2000. Tiger shot a final round 64, finishing two shots back. He congratulated Koepka by the clubhouse afterward.

My day at the final round of The Northern Trust August 29, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Golf, Media, News, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
1 comment so far

Previous event recaps: 2012 (The Barclays), 2016 (The Barclays)

For the second year in a row, a Long Island golf course hosted the PGA Tour event now known as The Northern Trust, the first event of the FedExCup Playoffs. Last year, which was the last year as The Barclays, the event was held at Bethpage Black Golf Course. This year, The Northern Trust was about 12 miles west at Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury. Glen Oaks is adjacent to SUNY Old Westbury and not too far from NYIT (New York Institute of Technology) or LIU Post, my alma mater. In fact, as you’ll see near the end of this post, I wore my WCWP shirt that you’ve seen in previous posts. As for the other two colleges, I went to day camp at them for a few childhood summers. In 1989 and ’91, main camp activities were at NYIT while swimming was at SUNY Old Westbury. In 1990, activities were exclusive to Old Westbury.

My father Bill and I attended the final round of The Northern Trust, which began 50 years ago as the Westchester Classic, on Sunday. Jordan Spieth (-12) and Dustin Johnson (-9) were the last group of the day. Would Spieth hold on? Could D.J. catch him? Or would it be someone else?

Dad and I left for general parking at Nassau Coliseum at around 11:30. Once we arrived, we boarded a shuttle bus. On board, a welcome video looped on TV screens. The shuttle arrived at Glen Oaks Club just before 12:30. Weather conditions were excellent: partly sunny skies with warm, dry air and a cool breeze.

I would have loved to bring my Nikon D5500, but only smartphones on silent were allowed for photography. Thus, the pictures in this recap were taken on my iPhone 6 and edited afterward in Adobe Photoshop Elements 15. Since the phone lacks an optical zoom, I preserved the original resolution rather than shrink the pictures, as I usually do on this site. In most cases, you’ll have to zoom in to see the far-away players.

With that out of the way, let’s begin:

From here, pictures aren’t entirely in chronological order. Until we get to the 18th green, pictures are in order of the hole where they were taken.

The practice green:

The 1st hole:

LaGuardia Airport is close to the course, so there were plenty of low-flying planes in their final approach:

The 2nd hole:

Henrik Stenson and Martin Laird:

Bubba Watson and Jhonattan Vegas:

Paul Casey and defending champion Patrick Reed:

Dottie Pepper and Peter Kostis of CBS Sports walking ahead of…

Jordan Spieth…

…and Dustin Johnson:

Robert Streb and Scott Brown on the 4th hole:

Stenson and Laird at the 5th hole:

The 6th green:

The 7th hole:

The 8th hole:

Jason Day and C.T. Pan:

Matt Kuchar and Jon Rahm:

The 9th hole:

The 10th hole:

David Lingmerth and Louis Oosthuizen:

Bubba Watson and Jhonattan Vegas:

The 11th hole:

Jason Kokrak and Morgan Hoffmann:

A jib passing the 12th hole:

Dad and I followed Robert Streb and Scott Brown from here to the 17th:

There was a horse stable next to the 13th hole:

It’s rare that I hear horses neighing and sputtering in real time.

The 13th hole:

The 14th hole:

The 15th hole:

The 16th hole:

The 17th hole:

The 18th hole:

David Lingmerth and Louis Oosthuizen:

I spent the last two hours of the tournament at this spot by the 18th green:

I had to endure a few men behind me, who I assume were in their 20s, not necessarily following etiquette (that’s all I’ll say), but it was worth it.

The TV tower where Jim Nantz and Sir Nick Faldo called the action:

The Northern Trust is the last tournament of the year for CBS. The remainder of the FedExCup playoffs are on NBC.

After Lingmerth and Louis Ooie (as voice actor Jeff Bennett calls him) finished their round, the next pair to play 18 was Robert Streb and Scott Brown:

Followed by Bubba Watson and Jhonattan Vegas:

Vegas shot a 65 to finish at -9.

Then, Patrick Cantlay and Russell Henley:

Justin Thomas, who won the PGA Championship two weeks earlier, and Chez Reavie:

Justin Rose and Jason Dufner:

Keegan Bradley and Kevin Chappell:

Matt Kuchar and Jon Rahm:

Rahm finished tied for third with Jhonny Vegas at -9.

Paul Casey and Patrick Reed:

And finally, Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson:

Jordan and Dustin came to 18 tied at -13. Johnson’s tee shot landed in the rough and his second shot was short of the green. He would end up with a long par putt. Spieth, meanwhile, had a long birdie putt.

Spieth missed his birdie putt:

That meant D.J. could force a playoff if he parred…

…and he did!

The camera didn’t focus properly, but you get the idea.

Here’s how the putt looked on TV.

Spieth made his par putt to ensure the playoff:

The playoff:

Johnson hit a massive tee shot that landed within 95 yards of the hole. Here’s how it looked on TV. (6:42 PM UPDATE: The shot was shown in last night’s episode of Feherty when guest Darius Rucker listed D.J. as one of his three favorite golfers of all time. Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods were the other two.)

D.J.’s approach shot landed near the hole:

The shot looked like this on CBS.

Spieth missed a long birdie putt to extend the playoff:

But Johnson made his birdie putt and won The Northern Trust:

The winning putt can be seen at the end of these extended highlights.

Dottie Pepper interviewed Dustin afterward:

Here’s the interview.

Our last two times at The Barclays, Dad and I stuck around to watch the off-air trophy presentation. This year, after a playoff, we were eager to head home, which, after buying a hat and shirt in the shop, we did.

Three FedExCup playoff tournaments remain. Can Dustin, Jordan, or anyone else in the top 100 win it all? We’ll know by the evening of September 24. (9/24 UPDATE: Someone else: Justin Thomas.)

On the way to the shuttle bus, Dad took this picture of me:

We got home at exactly 8:00. It was an exciting eight hours. What a finish! Our next golf trip will be next June for the third round of the U.S. Open, held at Shinnecock Hills.

I’ll leave you with a few news stories on the final round (subscription required for Newsday/News 12 links):
AP (via PGATour.com)
Newsday
Newsday column by Mark Herrmann, who also wrote the story in the above link
News 12 Long Island

I can be seen in the background in one clip from News 12’s video. Here’s a high-resolution screenshot from my TV:

And here’s a closer look:

3:29 PM UPDATE: I just learned I was actually in the background during CBS’s telecast, not in News 12 B-roll. Here is a vidcap:

8/31 UPDATE: Inside the Ropes segments of this week’s Inside the PGA Tour:
Round 1
Round 2
Round 3
Final Round

Two days at The Barclays August 30, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Golf, Internet, Media, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
1 comment so far

I spent Saturday and Sunday afternoons at the third and final round of The Barclays, the first event of the PGA Tour’s FedExCup Playoffs. This year, as in 2012, the host venue was Bethpage Black, the Black Course at Bethpage State Park in Bethpage/Farmingdale.

One day after acquiring tickets to the second round of the PGA Championship, my dad Bill ordered tickets for the third round of The Barclays. About a week before we were to go, Dad won complimentary tickets to the final round. Our weekend was set.

This was the tournament’s 50th year. It began in 1967 as the Westchester Classic. This was also the last year it was sponsored by Barclays. Starting next year, when the tournament will be at nearby Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury, it will be known as The Northern Trust. As a result, the tournament that was called the Northern Trust Open, held in February at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, will become the Genesis Open.

For the third round on Saturday, Dad and I left the house at 11:30 and drove to Nassau Coliseum for general parking. From there, a shuttle bus drove us to Bethpage Black.

All pictures both days were taken on my iPhone 6.

iPh82716002

iPh82716003

iPh82716004

iPh82716005

iPh82716007

iPh82716008

iPh82716009

iPh82716011

iPh82716012

iPh82716013

iPh82716014

iPh82716015

The practice green and media center:
iPh82716016

iPh82716017

iPh82716019

iPh82716020

iPh82716021

iPh82716028

iPh82716029

iPh82716030

iPh82716031

iPh82716032

The 1st tee:
iPh82716033

The 1st fairway:
iPh82716034

We stopped at the 18th fairway to watch Phil Mickelson and Olympic gold medalist Justin Rose finish their round:
iPh82716035

iPh82716036

This was back by the 1st tee:
iPh82716037

iPh82716039

iPh82716040

iPh82716041

The 1st green:
iPh82716042

The 4th tee:
iPh82716043

We stopped at the concession tent by the 5th green and 12th fairway, then watched the last seven pairings at the 5th green:
iPh82716044

Those pairings were:
Jim Herman and Jhonattan Vegas
Ricky Barnes and J.B. Holmes
Martin Laird and Harold Varner III
Jason Day and Adam Hadwin
Jordan Spieth and Sean O’Hair
Rickie Fowler and Ryan Moore
Patrick Reed (36-hole leader) and Emiliano Grillo

iPh82716044

The MetLife Blimp:
iPh82716045

After watching Blayne Barber and Jason Kokrak at the 12th green, Dad and I made our way to the 13th green:iPh82716046

iPh82716047

We stood in the sun at first, then moved to the shade (seen above). We watched Barber and Kokrak, Ryan Palmer and Kevin Chappell, and then the seven pairings I listed earlier. As the leader and challengers approached, we saw Billy Kratzert, Dottie Pepper, and Peter Kostis from CBS Sports. Also passing by were course reporters from PGA Tour Radio, NHK (Japan), and Sky Sports.

After Reed and Grillo, Dad and I walked back toward the clubhouse.

iPh82716051

iPh82716052

iPh82716053

The jib by the 14th green:
iPh82716054

A closer look:
iPh82716055

iPh82716056

iPh82716057

The 15th tee:
iPh82716058

We stopped at the crosswalk by the 17th tee as Jason Day and Adam Hadwin teed off.

iPh82716060

iPh82716062

iPh82716063

iPh82716065

iPh82716066

iPh82716067

iPh82716068

We stopped in the shop to buy a shirt, then took the shuttle back to Nassau Coliseum.

iPh82716069

iPh82716070

iPh82716071

iPh82716072-1

iPh82716073

iPh82716074

Rickie Fowler (-9) took the lead from Patrick Reed (-8) going into the final round. Here are highlights of the third round, which concluded while we were in transit.

For the final round on Sunday, Dad and I left for the Coliseum at noon. The shuttle we took arrived at Bethpage Black before 1:00.

Our first stop after arriving was the practice range, which was adjacent to the Yellow Course:
iPh82816001

At the range were Adam Scott, Patrick Reed, Kevin Streelman, Justin Thomas, Emiliano Grillo, and Rickie Fowler.

iPh82816002

iPh82816003

iPh82816004

iPh82816005

iPh82816006

iPh82816007

iPh82816008

iPh82816010

iPh82816011

Then, we walked toward the 18th green.

iPh82816012

Me and the infamous warning sign:
iPh82816014

Our plan was to sit in the grandstand above the green until play concluded, but that didn’t pan out. I’m glad it didn’t.

We watched the four pairings start their rounds at the 1st tee:
iPh82816016

The four pairings:
Kevin Streelman and Gary Woodland
Emiliano Grillo and Justin Thomas
Adam Scott and Martin Laird
Rickie Fowler and Patrick Reed

iPh82816017

Fowler and Reed waiting to tee off:
iPh82816019

After a brief stop in the Mastercard Club, Dad and I walked to the concession area by the 14th hole. On the way there, we passed Brandt Snedeker and Brian Harman as they made their way to the 17th tee. People were high fiving Sneds, and I tried to get in on the action, but he didn’t see my hand. Oh, well.

After hot dogs and soda, we returned to our spot at the 13th green:
iPh82816025

As you can see, the hole was moved.

iPh82816028

We watched the last 14 pairings come through. In addition to the four I listed earlier, there were also:
Brian Stuard and Jim Furyk
Billy Horschel and Rory McIlroy
Brendan Steele and Chez Reavie
Sean O’Hair and Charl Schwartzel
Ricky Barnes and Jordan Spieth
Jason Dufner and Blayne Barber
Ryan Moore and Kevin Kisner
Jason Kokrak and Ryan Palmer
Dustin Johnson and Jamie Lovemark
Jason Day and Tony Finau

Occasionally, photographers and TV cameramen set up in front of us. On a personal note, my dad’s friend joined us at the green for a little while.

Day parred 13, but made a 71-foot putt for birdie at 15.

When Fowler and Reed came to the green, volunteers strictly enforced the no-camera-or-phone policy. I put my iPhone back in its holster and didn’t touch it until they holed out. By this time, Fowler had faltered and Reed regained the lead. That lead would grow to three shots, but he won by one (-9).

Dad and I made another stop at the concessions by 14. While there, we ran into my friend Mike and his wife Laurie.

The jib also made an appearance:
iPh82816030

Then, we walked to the grandstand by the 17th green for the last two pairings:
iPh82816032

iPh82816035

The view was spectacular:
iPh82816036

As we approached the 18th tee, we ran into Mike and Laurie again. After Reed and Fowler teed off, we walked adjacent to fairway.

iPh82816037

iPh82816038

We stayed until the last putt:
iPh82816045

The 18th green at the moment Reed putt for bogey to win by one shot:
iPh82816046

iPh82816047

iPh82816048

iPh82816050

Here’s how it looked on CBS.

The moment Peter Kostis interviewed Reed:
iPh82816051

iPh82816052

Here’s how that looked.

We walked closer to the green for the trophy presentation (not televised), which came after Reed signed his scorecard.

iPh82816055

Dottie Pepper hosted the presentation:
iPh82816056

iPh82816059

iPh82816060

iPh82816061

iPh82816062

Reed’s win, the fifth of his career, earned him a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

On the way back to the shuttle, we passed by the 1st tee of the Red Course:
iPh82816064

iPh82816065

And we saw Rickie Fowler signing autographs by the practice green:
iPh82816066

With that, we exited and boarded the shuttle:
iPh82816067

I expect to do as the sign said and return next year at Glen Oaks for The Northern Trust.

I will update this post after the Tour Championship with the FedExCup Champion. Until then, I leave you with post-tournament links:
Final round highlights
Patrick Reed news conference
Shots of the week
Final round photo gallery
Associated Press story
Helen Ross: Teamwork leads to success
Winner’s Bag: Patrick Reed, The Barclays

9/25 UPDATE: Rory McIlory won.

A day at the 2016 PGA Championship July 30, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Audiobooks, Books, Golf, Health, Media, News, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
3 comments

I spent my Friday with my father Bill at the second round of the PGA Championship, held this year at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey. The championship was held two weeks earlier this year because of the Olympics. This is a photo recap of our day. Regular cameras weren’t allowed, so all pictures were taken on my iPhone 6.

A few months ago, I listened to the Audible version of Love That Boy, a book by National Journal senior political columnist Ron Fournier. (I ended up buying the book and then buying a copy for my dad for Father’s Day.) It’s mainly about his relationship with his son Tyler, before and after he was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome at age 12, about five years before I learned I had it. After the diagnosis, Ron began taking Tyler on trips to presidential museums and to meet a few living presidents, whom Ron covered while a reporter. My dad and I have also taken trips since my diagnosis: to golf tournaments, especially major championships. He used to go to golf tournaments with his friends and father, my grandpa Carmen. In particular, he attended the 1986 and 1995 U.S. Open Championships at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, and the 1993 U.S. Open at Baltusrol. Since 2002, when the U.S. Open was first held at the Bethpage Black Course in Bethpage State Park, we have been to six majors and a handful of regular tournaments. The majors we’ve been to, counting the one that’s the subject of this post, are:
2002 U.S. Open, 3rd Round – Bethpage Black Course
2004 U.S. Open, Final Round – Shinnecock Hills Golf Club
2005 PGA Championship, Final Round – Baltusrol Golf Club
2006 U.S. Open, Final Round – Winged Foot Golf Club
2009 U.S. Open, 3rd/Final Round – Bethpage Black Course
2016 PGA Championship, 2nd Round – Baltursol Golf Club

In 2005 and 2009, play was suspended due to thunderstorms (PGA) and darkness (U.S. Open). I watched the rest of those two majors on TV the following day. In 2009, I also went to the course twice before the first round; once with my mother Lisa and once alone. Here’s how that went.

Dad and I didn’t plan on going to this year’s PGA Championship, even though it was in the tri-state area, but earlier this month, my uncle Jim gave us two grounds tickets to the second round. We would be going, after all.

Rain was in the forecast for Thursday night and yesterday, which I thought would mean no trip or a wasted trip. But play was only delayed 45 minutes and the rain subsided shortly before we left Wantagh around 10AM. General parking was about a half hour away from Baltusrol at Oak Ridge Park in Clark, New Jersey. We arrived there a little after noon.

iPh72916001

Shuttles traveled to and from the park and Baltusrol around the clock.

iPh72916002

We got to the grounds just before 1PM.

iPh72916004

iPh72916005

The 2019 PGA Championship will be at Bethpage Black:
iPh72916006

iPh72916007

iPh72916008

iPh72916011

iPh72916012

We watched Soomin Lee, Joost Luiten, and William McGirt finish their second round starting at 16.

The 16th green:
iPh72916013

iPh72916014

iPh72916015

The MetLife blimp:
iPh72916016

iPh72916017

iPh72916019

iPh72916020

iPh72916021

The 17th green:
iPh72916023

iPh72916025

The 18th hole:
iPh72916027

iPh72916029

iPh72916030

The clubhouse:
iPh72916032

iPh72916033

We reached the practice green just in time to see Phil Mickelson leave it and make his way to the 1st tee:
iPh72916034

Phil won the last time we were at Baltusrol in 2005.

iPh72916036

In his second round, he recovered from a triple bogey at the 1st to shot an even par 70, making the cut at +1.

Gregory Bourdy chipping off the green:
iPh72916037

He went on to shoot a 68 after starting at the 10th tee. At -3 for the championship, he was six shots back of Jimmy Walker and Robert Streb (-9) after two rounds.

iPh72916038

iPh72916039

Brian Gaffney’s ball adjacent to the 6th fairway:
iPh72916040

Gaffney reached the green and was able to save par, but he shot a 74 (+4) in the first round and 73 (+3) in this second, missing the cut by five shots.

iPh72916041

The 7th fairway:
iPh72916042

The 11th tee and 10th green:
iPh72916044

From there, we watched two groups that started at the 10th:
1) Omar Uresti, Greg Chalmers (who had an autism awareness patch on his bag), Ross Fisher
2) David Muttitt, Smylie Kaufman, Zac Blair

iPh72916045

The view from the grandstand by the 10th tee and 9th green:
iPh72916047

Here, we watched a few groups:
1) J.B. Holmes, Brian Stuard, Hideki Matsuyama
2) Matt Dobyns, Tyrell Hatton, Harris English
3) Ernie Els (whose son is autistic), Rickie Fowler, Zach Johnson

We left the grandstand before Jimmy Walker’s group reached the 9th green.

The 13th green:
iPh72916048

The aforementioned Harris English’s ball adjacent to the 13th fairway:
iPh72916049

He did make the cut and was five shots back (-4).

iPh72916052

iPh72916053

Walking through Patron Plaza…:
iPh72916056

iPh72916057

A misting fan:
iPh72916058

iPh72916059

iPh72916060

iPh72916061

iPh72916062

iPh72916063

After 4 1/2 hours, our day came to an end:
iPh72916064

iPh72916065

Since it was rush hour, the shuttle ride back to Oak Ridge Park took about 40 minutes. From there, Dad and I drove home, listening to the coverage of the rest of the second round on SiriusXM’s PGA Tour Radio. Heading up the coverage was the voice of the New York Giants, who play a half hour away at MetLife Stadium, Bob Papa. We arrived back at the house at about 8:30.

It was a memorable day at the PGA Championship. Thank you, Uncle Jim, for the tickets.

I will update this post after the final round.

7/31, 7:30 PM UPDATE: The rains came yesterday (Saturday) afternoon and suspended play until this (Sunday) morning. Jimmy Walker briefly trailed in the third round this morning, but regained the lead heading into the final round this afternoon. Moments ago, Walker held off defending PGA Champion Jason Day, and his own nerves, to win the 2016 PGA Championship. He won wire-to-wire, leading or tied for the lead after every round. Day showed class by congratulating Walker on the 18th green.

I’m glad to have been part of the tournament as a second round spectator.

7/31, 8:41 PM UPDATE: Post-championship links:
PGA/CBS Sports: Walker’s winning par putt
PGA/CBS Sports: Wanamaker Trophy presentation and interview
Nick Menta, Golf Channel: Walker bests Day by one to win PGA Championship
Kyle Porter & Robby Kalland, CBS Sports: PGA Championship 2016 leaderboard, highlights: Breaking down a wild ending

8/1 UPDATE: More links:
Matt Stypulkoski, The Star-Ledger: Jimmy Walker continues trend of first-time major winners
Steve Politi, The Star-Ledger: Jimmy Walker’s PGA Championship victory is a win for grinders everywhere
Hank Gola, The Star-Ledger: Is it still Jimmy Walker’s day if he had been paired with Jason Day?
Andy Vasquez, The Record: Walker holds off Day for first major
Tara Sullivan, The Record: Walker’s wire-to-wire act was dynamite (a reference to “dynomite!,” the catchphrase of J.J. Evans on Good Times, portrayed by namesake Jimmie Walker)
Michael Bamberger, Golf Magazine: Jimmy Walker Edges Jason Day, Wins 2016 PGA Championship
Art Stricklin, Golf Magazine: Party Awaits Jimmy Walker at His Home Club in Texas

8/2 UPDATE: Even more links:
PGA: Full Sunday Highlights
PGA: Full Tournament Highlights
PGA: Jimmy Walker’s Full PGA Champion Press Conference
PGA: Top 10 Shots of the 2016 PGA Championship (#9 spoiler: I saw John Senden on the practice green after he completed his second round.)

June 17, 1994 June 17, 2014

Posted by Mike C. in Basketball, Education, Golf, Hockey, Media, News, Personal, Sports, TV, Video.
add a comment

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the white Bronco in the room (as opposed to an elephant).  Many things occurred 20 years ago today, as the June 17, 1994 ESPN 30 for 30 film – which is not affiliated with this post – documented:

  1. The New York Rangers’ ticker tape parade along the Canyon of Heroes and ceremony at New York City Hall, three nights after winning the Stanley Cup
  2. Arnold Palmer’s last round at a U.S. Open, held that year at Oakmont Country Club (the last U.S. Open carried by ABC; covered that day by ESPN)
  3. Game 5 of the 1994 NBA Finals, in which the New York Knicks defeated the Houston Rockets at Madison Square Garden to take a 3-2 series lead (they went on to lose the last two games in Houston)
  4. O.J. Simpson and Al Cowlings in a slow-speed police chase in O.J.’s white Ford Bronco

Also that day was:

5. One final exam for me at Wantagh Middle School (I’m not sure what subject; probably Social Studies)

For more on #4, I refer to video of ABC News’ coverage of the chase and a retrospective report from Fox News Channel’s Shepard Smith Reporting.

This concludes my obligatory acknowledgement.

Brian Simpson concert recap 2 September 9, 2012

Posted by Mike C. in Golf, Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel.
3 comments

Previous Brian Simpson recap: April 2011
Later Brian Simpson recap: February 2015

Last night, I returned to Houndstooth Pub to see keyboardist Brian Simpson.  His show marked the anniversary of Midtown Groove.

Brian played the keyboard…

and the keytar:

Matt Marshak was on guitar, as he was last time:

John Dillard on bass:

Courtney Williams on drums:

And Brian Lanier on soprano (seen below) and alto sax:

I was on hand for the first set.  Here’s what Brian and the band played:
1. It Could Happen
2. Here With You
3. South Beach
4. Funkology (by Matt Marshak)
5. Can’t Tell You Why
6. Blues for the Houndstooth Pub (written for the show)
7. Let’s Get Close
8. Saturday Cool

Fasten your seat belts because it’s time to ride through the set via my cameras’ viewfinders.  That’s right, I used two (but not simultaneously).

Brian addressing Matt before “Funkology”:

Brian made his way toward one of the premium seat tables during “Saturday Cool”:

The last note of the set:

Before I left, I had a brief chat with Brian and we posed for a pic:

It was another wildly enjoyable set!  Thanks to Brian, Matt, John, C-Will, and Brian for a great show.

(By the way, I was wearing a souvenir shirt I bought last Sunday at the final round of The Barclays, a PGA Tour event held this year at Bethpage Black Golf Course.)

The Barclays at Bethpage Black recap August 27, 2012

Posted by Mike C. in Commentary, Golf, Internet, Media, News, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel, TV, Weather.
3 comments

For the first time in three years, Bethpage Black Golf Course in Farmingdale hosted a PGA Tour event.  This time, it was The Barclays.

The weather this year was much better than it was at the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Open Golf Championships, especially than the latter.  It was rain-free.

Earlier in the year, my dad got final round tickets for me and him.  Before we get to a recap of that, here are recaps of the first three rounds:
Round 1 recap
Round 2 recap
Round 3 recap

After Nick Watney’s third round struggles, I predicted that Sergio Garcia, the leader going into the final round would win.  I was wrong.

Unlike at the two U.S. Opens the Black hosted, cell phones were allowed, but had to be on silent or vibrate.  My phone was on vibrate as I provided live updates throughout the day on Facebook.  Here’s how that went:

11:23 AM:I’m headed to Jones Beach where a shuttle will take me and my dad (and other passengers) to Bethpage Black Golf Course at Bethpage State Park. We’ll be catching the final round of The Barclays. Golf Channel coverage runs from 12:00 to 1:30, followed by CBS from 2:00 until play concludes, which should be around 6:00.”

12:03 PM:I’m on the bus headed to Bethpage Black. I saw some license plates in the parking lot from as far away as Michigan and Tennessee. Also, New Jersey, Connecticut, [Massachusetts,] and Maryland.”

12:21 PM:Almost at Bethpage Black. I plan on following the second-to-last pairing: Kevin Stadler [son of Craig] and Brandt Snedeker [‘SNED-uh-kur’].”

1:32 PM:I ended up following Phil Mickelson and John Senden for the first two holes, then stopped at a concession stand. We’ll catch up with Stadler and Snedeker at the 3rd.”  Despite shooting a 76, the fans loved him, as I could tell from the wild cheers I heard at 17 later in his round.

I put my phone down until Stads and Sneds were halfway through.

3:32 PM: 9 holes down, 9 to go.

Then, I waited another five holes before writing another update.

4:46 PM:Crossing Round Swamp Rd. 4 holes to go.”

After the pair’s second shots at 15, Dad and I jumped ahead to the last three holes.  Then, the updates became more frequent…

5:02 PM:Skipped to 16th fairway. CBS’s [course reporter] Peter Kostis is to my right.”

5:18 PM:Up to 17th green. Live CBS feed is on video leaderboard.”

5:26 PM:Now at 18th fairway. Again, a leaderboard with CBS’s feed is straight ahead. The green is to the left.”

By this time, the drunk fans that are wont to cheer too loud, yell catchphrases out of context (i.e. “GET IN THE HOLE!” on a tee shot at a par 4 or 5), paraphrase the “Olé” song using Nick Watney’s surname (as I heard on my DVR later), and heckle players they don’t like (Sergio Garcia) got to me:

5:34 PM:It’s not fun when a reserved guy like me is next to enthusiastic and/or drunk fans.”  Sober fans acquitted themselves well, as they always do.

5:36 PM:Snedeker and Stadler are on the green. Sergio Garcia and leader Nick Watney are approaching.”

5:39 PM:Last pairing in fairway. CBS’s [other course reporter] David Feherty walked by, got cheers.”

5:44 PM:Watney’s on the green, Sergio’s in the bunker, to the delight of some fans. I feel sorry for him.”  A “USA” chant broke out as if we were at the Ryder Cup, speaking of out of context.  And there were two Spanish people standing next to us.  I felt sorry for them, too.  I finished the update by saying “[t]he crowd at the green is cheering.”

5:47 PM:Sergio bogeyed. The stage is set for Watney.”  He birdied!

5:49 PM:Put it in the books.”  That’s what Mets radio announcer Howie Rose says after a win.  “Nick Watney has won The Barclays. Final score: -10.”

5:52 PM:Feherty interviewed Watney for CBS [briefly interrupted by Nick embracing his wife], then off to sign the scorecard and back to 18 for the trophy presentation.”

5:53 PM:Leaderboard reads ‘Congratulations Nick Watney, 2012 Champion’ with a headshot of him.”

5:58 PM:CBS’s Ian Baker-Finch is [hosting] the presentation.”

5:59 PM:The champion is back.”

6:06 PM:After getting the trophy, Finchy [one of Ian’s nicknames] interviewed him. He ‘couldn’t be happier,’ ‘overjoyed.’ He thanked volunteers, fans, and wife. After the interview, he hoisted the trophy.”  His cousin Heidi, of the soon-to-launch Time Warner Cable SportsNet in Los Angeles, was also there.

With The Barclays complete, it was time to go home.

6:07 PM:Now, we’re walking to the shuttle bound for Jones Beach.”

6:24 PM:The shuttle is departing…”

6:48 PM:Walking to the car at Jones Beach. Next stop: home.”

7:19 PM:I got home about ten minutes ago. Phew.”

I ate a hearty meal of pasta and watched some of my DVR of CBS’s coverage, but not before taking two pictures.

This is how I looked as I walked the course:

My ticket stub, pins, and two copies of both the spectator guide and final round pairings:

Here are the post-round links:

PGATour.com:
Round 4 recap
Nick Watney press conference
Daily Wrap-up
Results
PGA Tour Replay podcast

Newsday (subscription needed)

New York Daily News

Golf Channel:
Doug Ferguson: Watney wins Barclays; Garcia 4 back
Jason Sobel: Watney becoming more comfortable in spotlight
Barclays photo gallery
Rex Hoggard: Watney’s psychologist credited for Barclays win

The day after, I returned to Bethpage by bus and by foot, taking these pictures along the way:

Welcome sign at Farmingdale LIRR station:

This sign was up approaching Round Swamp Road while walking west on Bethpage Road: