Even now, as a champion senior golfer at 55, Bruce Zabriski relies on the lessons he got from Bob Joyce when he was a 12-year-old in Southampton.
Zabriski recalled that other kids in town caddied at Shinnecock Hills and National Golf Links, but he worked at Southampton Golf Club so he could study with Joyce, then the head pro there. "We were never members of the club, but he would let us play late in the afternoons," said Zabriski, who won the Met PGA Senior Championship Wednesday, finishing 3 under par for 36 holes at Pine Hollow.
"It was not only the game that he taught, it was the lessons in life that were awfully valuable," said Zabriski, a teaching pro at Westchester Country Club who is based for most of the year in Jupiter, Fla. "Every lesson I give has a little Bob Joyce in it."
A half-dozen times this summer, Zabriski's family came out to Southampton to visit his mother-in-law and all of his school buddies. He brought his sons, Evan, 18, and Neil, 15, for lessons with Joyce. The latter still recalls caddying for their dad when Zabriski was playing in junior championships and on the PGA Tour.
Joyce was there Wednesday to witness Zabriski winning one of the few area titles he never had won. But he wasn't caddying or watching. "He won his age group, 75 and over," Zabriski said. "So it was a big day for the guys from Southampton."
The golf world is mourning for Maria Floyd, wife of Hall of Famer Raymond Floyd, who died at the couple's Southampton home earlier this month after a long battle with cancer. The Floyds spent much of their time on the East End after Ray won the 1986 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. He became a member at Shinnecock and Atlantic Golf Club. Around 200 people attended a memorial service last Sunday at Shinnecock Hills, including Jack and Barbara Nicklaus, Phil and Amy Mickelson, Jim Furyk and Justin Leonard.
Breaking par at St. Joe's
St. Joseph's College freshman Christian Bleck of St. James and Chaminade, became the first golfer in school history to finish under par when he shot 70 to win the St. Joseph's Golden Eagle Invitational last week at Island Hills . . . Among the competitors in the inaugural Metropolitan Golf Association Masters Tournament at the Country Club of Fairfield Thursday was talk show host Maury Povich of the Century Club. He shot 79, eight strokes behind the champion, Robert Howe of Winged Foot.
Those doggone geese
A tip for Long Island clubs besieged by Canada geese (and the remnants they leave): A club in Ontario, Canada has successfully chased away geese through the tireless 14-hour days of a worker. The worker is Toby, a two-year-old border collie who happily roams the grounds. Anything is worth trying. One goose can eat up to four pounds of grass a day. Dan McCaffrey, greens superintendent at Beach Grove Golf Club in Tecumseh, Ont., told CBC news, "If you have 100 geese out there, you're going to have a big problem."