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Witnessing the final round of the 2019 PGA Championship May 21, 2019

Posted by Mike C. in Golf, Internet, Interviews, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
3 comments

For the fourth year in a row, I attended at least one PGA Tour event; and for the third time in the last four years, I attended a round of a major golf tournament. Three years ago, it was the second round of the PGA Championship at Baltusrol. Last year, the third round of the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. Sunday, I attended the final round of the PGA Championship (final leaderboard) at Bethpage State Park’s Black Golf Course, Bethpage Black for short. The Black previously hosted the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Open.

The 101st PGA Championship was the first to be played in May, after decades in which it was held in August and served as the last major of the season. Now, it’s the second. That means CBS holds the broadcast rights to the first two majors of the year, with Fox carrying the U.S. Open and NBC televising the Open Championship.

Bethpage State Park and its courses are only 15 minutes away from my Wantagh home, but going there for the PGA Championship by car required driving south to Jones Beach State Park parking field 3 or 4 for general parking:

My dad and I were directed to field 4:

From there, a shuttle bus took us east on Ocean Parkway, north on Wantagh Parkway to Exit W6, east on Merrick Road, north on the Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway (NY 135), east on Merritts Road (after exiting at a special ramp), and finally to the terminal outside Bethpage Black. We arrived at 12:30, two hours and five minutes before Brooks Koepka (“KEP-ka”), the 54-hole leader by seven shots, was to tee off:

The sun broke through the clouds for the first few hours, but the clouds eventually won out.

The USGA calls their shop the Merchandise Pavilion; the PGA calls it The PGA Shops:

Having already purchased a cap and short-sleeve shirt, the latter of which I wore on the second night of Smooth Jazz for Scholars, and not wanted to lug a bag of merchandise all day, I waited until we left in the evening to get anything.

The defending champion, and, I hoped, the repeat champion:

The range:

Among those practicing were Lucas Bjerregaard, Erik Van Rooyen, and Rickie Fowler.

The obligatory photo op:

The practice green and media center:

The bridge to the range:

The bridge from the 18th green:

Another practice green:

Phil Mickelson walking up the bridge after his final round:

He shot 76 for the second consecutive round, finishing at +12.

The 1:05 group: Lucas Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open Champion…:

…and Lucas Bjerregaard:

The Lucases both shot 73 and finished at +3.

The electronic leaderboard/TV monitor:

The 1st fairway:

The 1st green:

I stood by the 2nd tee to watch three groups come by:

First, another group where the pair share a first name: Danny Lee:

…and Danny Willett, 2016 Masters Champion:

The Dannys both shot 77, with Lee finishing at +6 and Willett +7.

The Goodyear Blimp provided aerial coverage early on:

But cloud cover forced it to ground.

The second group I saw at 2 was Rickie Fowler:

…and Sung Kang, who won the AT&T Byron Nelson tournament the week before:

Fowler shot 77 to finish at +6, while Kang fared a little better: 72 to finish even-par.

The third was Jordan Spieth, who won the Masters and U.S. Open in 2015 and Open Championship in 2017:

…and Erik Van Rooyen:

Van Rooyen’s tee shot was way left:

Here’s where it ended up:

The 2nd fairway:

The 2nd green:

Spieth was one stroke better than yesterday, 71, ending up at -2. Van Rooyen shot 73 and finished at +1.

The 3rd tee:

The 3rd green and 4th tee:

The 4th fairway:

After that, I started to get hot – that’ll teach me to wear a jacket – and didn’t feel like walking the entire course. So, I headed for the 18th green. Along the way, I saw the 13th green:

14th tee:

14th green:

Back across Round Swamp Road, the 16th green grandstand:

15th tee:

16th green:

Somewhere in the distance is the 17th tee:

The 17th green and its grandstands:

The 18th tee:

18th fairway, which didn’t see many balls this round:

The 18th green and grandstands:

The TNT/CBS broadcast tower, overlooking the 18th fairway and green:

Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo called the action from 2:00 to 7:00. Spoiler alert: the championship ended on time, meaning 60 Minutes started on time.

The 18th fairway, seen from the greenside bunker:

Matt Kuchar after shooting 69:

He was one of a handful players under par for the round. He finished +1 for the championship.

After stopping at the adjacent concession stand for lunch/dinner, Dad and I returned to our spot by the greenside bunker:

We stayed there to the end. The stiff breezes cooled me off to the point where I put my jacket back on.

Between groups, the leaderboard would switch to the CBS feed (no audio). We watched as Brooks Koepka’s seven-shot lead almost evaporated, mainly due to four straight bogeys from 11 to 14, and Dustin Johnson, two groups ahead, drew closer, with five birdies and only one bogey through 15 holes. Even though I’ve rooted against players myself, I was startled that the fans around me, behind me by the ropes and up in the stands, were cheering Koepka’s demise. I like D.J., I even saw him triumph over Jordan Spieth in The Northern Trust two years ago, but I wanted Koepka to finish what he started. I’ve seen collapses in other sports, and the 2012 Ryder Cup, and I don’t like them. When Dustin Johnson faltered himself with bogeys at 16 and 17, I shook my head in affirmation and pumped my fist, not that anyone noticed. “Take that, fans,” I thought. But the fans cheered again when D.J. saved par at 18, chanting “D.J.! D.J.!” They cheered more as Brooks Koepka missed a short par putt at 17.

We’ll get to Koepka’s 18th hole in a bit. But first, here are some of the players that came before him, starting with Rory McIlroy, the 2012 and 2014 PGA Champion, as well as the 2011 U.S. Open Champion and 2014 Champion Golfer of the Year (winner of the Open Championship):

Like Matt Kuchar, McIlroy shot under par 69 and finished at +1.

When I went back to the concession stand for a chocolate chip cookie, I noticed there was another course map, smaller than the one by the entrance:

Back at the green, the Lucases, Glover and Bjerregaard:

One hole earlier, at 17, Bjerregaard made a hole in one while Glover chipped in for birdie from the bunker! I heard the roar, but didn’t know what it was until I saw on the leaderboard/monitor. It turns out my friend, guitarist and vocalist Matt Marshak, was there and saw both shots! How exciting!

Back at 18, Danny Lee in the bunker:

Rickie Fowler:

Jordan Spieth:

Dustin Johnson:

“D.J.! D.J.!”:

He finished with a 69, -6 for the championship. Spoiler again, Koepka survived 18 to win by two.

Luke List:

List had a rough day after three rounds under par. He shot 74 to finish at -1.

And that brings us to Brooks Koepka. His tee shot landed in the fescue left of the fairway:

His second shot landed back in the fairway.

After checking the distance…:

…he laid up and landed on the green, 12 feet from the hole:

The fans changed their allegiance to Koepka as he walked up to his ball:

After playing partner Harold Varner III putted out, an unfortunate 81 for him and +6 finish, Koepka putt from 12 feet:

…and made it:

As Jim Nantz said on TV, “It’s a Koepka coronation!” “Coronation” was the word I had hoped for after Saturday. Despite shooting a 74, his only round over par, he was crowned repeat PGA Champion.

Here’s how it looked on CBS:

I couldn’t see the trophy presentation from where I was:

Unfortunately, no one could hear it, either. Whoever was in charge of the speakers didn’t feed into the CBS audio. Only the TV audience heard Bill Macatee as he announced Rob Labritz was the low-scoring club professional, heard PGA of America President Suzy Whaley introduce Brooks Koepka as he returned to the green to receive the Wanamaker Trophy, and heard Koepka fielding Macatee’s questions. Fans in the grandstands cried “we can’t hear you!” and words to that effect. They cheered when it seemed like they were supposed to: when Labritz waved and Koepka raised the trophy. This could be why I’m unable to find video of the presentation online. This video has excerpts at the beginning, but that’s all we get. Otherwise, I have to consult my DVR, as I did yesterday morning.

5/26 UPDATE: One week later, the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship was played upstate, at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, televised on Golf Channel and NBC. Ken Tanigawa won by one shot. This time, the crowd at 18 was able to hear the trophy presentation hosted by Steve Sands. Oak Hill will host the regular PGA in 2023, as it did in 2013, 2003, and 1980. It first hosted the Senior PGA in 2008.

With no sign that the presentation would be redone for the fans, Dad and I headed for the exit:

Future PGA Championship sites:

Along the way, we went into The PGA Shops:

I had to get a commemorative 18th hole flag, as I had done for the two U.S. Opens. Yesterday morning, I unwrapped it and put it on my bedroom wall:

It replaced the flag from the 2009 U.S. Open:

…which replaced the one from 2002:

That one developed creases from being folded up for ten years.

Back at the Black, it was time to go:

With my iPhone’s battery at 10%, I turned it off for the shuttle bus ride back to Jones Beach. I charged it in the car on the way home and back in my room once I got home.

Bethpage Black’s next big event will be the 2024 Ryder Cup. The last thing I’d like to hear that Sunday, whether in person or on TV, is the “Olé” song, indicating Europe won again.

I’m so glad that Brooks Koepka held on to win the 101st PGA Championship. It’s his fourth major victory in the last eight he’s played. The win returned him to #1 in the Official World Golf Ranking. And he’s undefeated on Long Island, having won his second U.S. Open last year at Shinnecock Hills in Southampton. Congratulations, Brooksie!

Will Koepka get the three-peat at Pebble Beach next month? Will Dustin Johnson redeem himself after losing the lead in the final round the last time the U.S. Open was at Pebble? We’ll see.

6/16 UPDATE: Neither happened. Gary Woodland won by three shots over Koepka to win his first major.

Until then, I’ll leave you with videos…:

Todd Lewis’s interview with Brooks Koepka for Golf Channel

…and articles:
Mike Lopresti, PGA.com: Big-Game Brooks Koepka Goes Wire to Wire for First Repeat PGA Championship Since Tiger Woods
Ryan Lavner, Golf Channel: Little brother no more: Koepka sends message staring down DJ at the PGA
ESPN: Koepka struggles, holds off Johnson for PGA win
Kyle Porter, CBS Sports: Brooks Koepka finds his edge, exuding toughness in fourth major win
Greg Logan, Newsday: Brooks Koepka holds on to win at Bethpage Black despite struggling in final round
Hank Gola, New York Daily News: Brooks Koepka wins PGA Championship overcoming difficult course, hostile crowd
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: How Brooks Koepka avoided epic PGA Championship choke job

SJFS 2019 Night 2 recap April 29, 2019

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

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.
1 comment so far

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.

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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: