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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

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Two days at The Barclays August 30, 2016

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

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The practice green and media center:
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The 1st tee:
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The 1st fairway:
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We stopped at the 18th fairway to watch Phil Mickelson and Olympic gold medalist Justin Rose finish their round:
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This was back by the 1st tee:
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The 1st green:
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The 4th tee:
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We stopped at the concession tent by the 5th green and 12th fairway, then watched the last seven pairings at the 5th green:
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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

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

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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.

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The jib by the 14th green:
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A closer look:
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The 15th tee:
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We stopped at the crosswalk by the 17th tee as Jason Day and Adam Hadwin teed off.

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

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

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Then, we walked toward the 18th green.

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

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Fowler and Reed waiting to tee off:
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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:
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As you can see, the hole was moved.

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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:
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Then, we walked to the grandstand by the 17th green for the last two pairings:
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The view was spectacular:
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As we approached the 18th tee, we ran into Mike and Laurie again. After Reed and Fowler teed off, we walked adjacent to fairway.

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We stayed until the last putt:
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The 18th green at the moment Reed putt for bogey to win by one shot:
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Here’s how it looked on CBS.

The moment Peter Kostis interviewed Reed:
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Here’s how that looked.

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

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Dottie Pepper hosted the presentation:
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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:
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And we saw Rickie Fowler signing autographs by the practice green:
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With that, we exited and boarded the shuttle:
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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.
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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.

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

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We got to the grounds just before 1PM.

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The 2019 PGA Championship will be at Bethpage Black:
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We watched Soomin Lee, Joost Luiten, and William McGirt finish their second round starting at 16.

The 16th green:
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The MetLife blimp:
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The 17th green:
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The 18th hole:
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The clubhouse:
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We reached the practice green just in time to see Phil Mickelson leave it and make his way to the 1st tee:
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Phil won the last time we were at Baltusrol in 2005.

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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:
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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.

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

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The 7th fairway:
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The 11th tee and 10th green:
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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

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The view from the grandstand by the 10th tee and 9th green:
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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:
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The aforementioned Harris English’s ball adjacent to the 13th fairway:
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He did make the cut and was five shots back (-4).

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Walking through Patron Plaza…:
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A misting fan:
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After 4 1/2 hours, our day came to an end:
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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.
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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:

The next three pictures were taken from Round Swamp Road:

This sign was at the main entrance on Quaker Meeting House Road:

After the above picture, I made my way back to Quake Meeting House Road.  The inside of the park was closed until three days later.

This was the last relevant shot of the day before heading home:

The Barclays returns to Bethpage Black in 2016, part of a four-year rotation with other New York area courses.  I hope the weather is as great as it was this year.  Congratulations again to Nick Watney, your 2012 Barclays Champion.  Best of luck in the final three FedExCup Playoff events.

NOTE: I decided to write entirely in the past tense rather than the present except for “yesterday” referring to when the final round was played.  I did this despite “the day after” being today and “three days later” being Thursday, among other examples.

U.S. Open 2009 recap June 25, 2009

Posted by Mike C. in Golf, Personal, Sports, Travel, TV, Weather.
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Last week, Bethpage Black Golf Course hosted the 109th U.S. Open [Golf] Championship.  The Black Course is one of five golf courses at Bethpage State Park.  The other ones are Yellow, Red, Blue, and Green.  Depending on where you are on the Black Course, you are in Old Bethpage, Melville, or Farmingdale, New York.  The course also hosted the 102nd U.S. Open in 2002 won by Tiger Woods.

Heavy rains delayed the tournament on Thursday and Saturday.  That pushed each round up a day.  The first round was mostly played on Friday, the second round was played on Friday and Saturday, the third round was played on Saturday and Sunday, and the final round on Sunday and Monday.  Needless to say, the suspension-of-play airhorns (or whatever they’re called) got quite a workout.  Those rains, coupled with thousands (at least) of feet walking on the grounds created widespread mud puddles.

I was there three days during the week of the Open: Sunday, June 14, for the free pre-championship opening weekend; Tuesday, June 16, for the second Practice Round; and Sunday, June 21, for much of the third round and the start of the final round.  (In 2002, I was there on June 9 and 15.)

In the days and weeks ahead, I will gradually add pictures taken on the 14th and 16th to this post.

Here are pics from June 14:
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This was a special exit on the Seaford-Oyster Bay Expwy. (NY 135) northbound for U.S. Open shuttle buses coming from Jones Beach.

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Heading for parking lot C:
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Entering Lot C:
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Getting on the spectator shuttle to the Black Course:
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This is normally the parking lot for the golf courses, but during the Open, it was a pick-up/drop-off lot:
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Entering the course…
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Testing the jumbotron:
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Fans watching players on the practice range:
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The merchandise pavilion:
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As people exited the pavilion, they were greeted by posters for future U.S. Open Championships:
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The site for the 2016 Open was later revealed to be Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pennsylvania:
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One of many concession stands:
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The back of the practice range grandstands:
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Walking up to the grandstands:
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A tee shot in mid-flight:
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Another one:
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Both pictures were cropped versions of larger ones.

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The main gate for shuttles to and from Jones Beach:
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Let’s look inside the American Express Championship Experience tent…
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The history of the U.S. Open:
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An Open timeline:
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Back outside, this is the gate for shuttles to and from LIRR Farmingdale Station:
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Me:
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Pictures from my practice round trip on June 16 still to come.

After 72 holes had been completed, Lucas Glover had won.  It was his first major championship, and only his second win on the PGA Tour.

8/18/12 UPDATE: In a major case of procrastination, I never got around to posting pictures from my practice round trip.  With The Barclays coming to Bethpage Black next week, it’s time for me to finally post those pics.  Since there are so many, I’m posting them in gallery form.  Unfortunately, I don’t know how to limit what pictures to include in the gallery.  So, scroll down until you see MC61609003 – a picture of buses.

8/2/16 UPDATE: I figured out how to limit the pictures. Forget what I said in the previous update. All pictures in the gallery below are now from the practice round.

Presidential debate at Hofstra tonight October 15, 2008

Posted by Mike C. in Golf, Personal, Politics, Sports, TV.
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The last of the Presidential debates between Democratic nominee Barack Obama and Republican nominee John McCain will be held tonight at Hofstra University in Hempstead.  Last night, I actually considered going over there this afternoon, but I need credentials.  So much for that.

A venue I was able to get into – after buying a ticket, of course – was the PGA Champions Tour’s Commerce Bank Championship, which was held at Eisenhower Park’s Red Course.  As I documented in the post I’ve linked to, I appeared in a few crowd shots toward the end of Golf Channel’s coverage.

Back to the present, this was basically a post I felt obligated to make since the debate is about 25 minutes away from my house…barring heavy traffic, which there no doubt is.

Commerce Bank Championship July 1, 2008

Posted by Mike C. in Golf, Personal, Sports, TV.
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On Sunday, I attended the final round of the Champions Tour’s Commerce Bank Championship at Eisenhower Park Red [Golf] Course in East Meadow, New York.  This was the third year in a row I attended.  Each year, I showed up a few times in the background of a camera shot during the Golf Channel’s telecast.  The previous two years, I sat in the bleachers by the 18th green, watching the last 10 groups (approximately) finish their rounds and then watch the trophy presentation.  This time, I stood by the fairway at 18 until the last three groups.  After that, I stood by the green until the trophy presentation.  As eventual champion Loren Roberts was lining up for a putt, this is what you saw on the HD telecast (I’ve highlighted myself):
Mike Chimeri in the background in HD
I had a vidcap, but got a better shot from my digital camera off my TV.

I also appeared in a wider crowd shot as David Eger (“Eager”) had a tap-in putt:
Mike Chimeri in background again

Here’s the same picture cropped:
Mike Chimeri in background again

I could be seen in HD and SD in that shot.  Eger took the lead from Roberts early in the round, but faded after the 11th hole.

For the record, Scott Simpson was also in that final group.

“Newsday” reported that this may have been the last Commerce Bank Championship after 22 tournaments.  If that’s the case, it went out on a high note.  And I don’t mean because I was in crowd shots.

7/2 UPDATE: I’m surprised at how many golf blogs are linking to this post.  Thank you for the publicity.  Feel free to check out the rest of my blog.

7/22 UPDATE: I think it was only two blogs, but still, thank you.

11/6 UPDATE: Last Friday, October 31, Commerce Bank was renamed TD Bank.