Just by coincidence, on the same day the Yankees had their Old-Timers' game at the Stadium, former Islanders picked up their sticks and went out to play. No skates, though.
No ice, either. Their sticks were drivers, irons and putters at Middle Island Country Club last Saturday for the event that is formally known as the McMahon Family Golf Outing but is also the de facto Islanders Old-Timers' Day.
It is a symbol of how golf can unite and distribute. In the tournament's 16 years, it has raised more than $1 million for charities, including one for research on the rare liver disease that claimed 18-month-old Aidan McMahon, son of former Islanders equipment manager Joe McMahon. Joe and his brothers Michael and Thomas organize the outing, which also honors their late mother Lee. It has unique appeal for anyone who has worn the Islanders' crest.
"I play as much golf as I can. In the New York-New Jersey area, there are so many of these tournaments but this one is pretty special to all of us," Brian Mullen said. "I've never really been invited back to an official Islander event, but Joey, over the last 16 years, has done a good job of keeping us all in touch and keeping us together."
Last Saturday, players from the improbable 1975 Stanley Cup semifinal run--Andre St. Laurent, Chico Resch, Jean Potvin--mingled with players from the improbable 1993 Stanley Cup semifinal run--Pierre Turgeon, Patrick Flatley, Brad Dalgarno. It was an eclectic mix, with Benoit Hogue joking with Randy Wood, who were traded for each other in the big deal involving Pat LaFontaine-Turgeon (both of whom were at the tournament, too).
Some of them are casual golfers, some avid. Flatley is in the latter group, having taken up golf when he became an Islander. "I grew up in the city in Toronto," the former captain said, adding that he used to accompany the Amendolas, his host family, to Huntington Crescent Club. Before he moved back to Toronto, he was a member at Indian Hills in Northport.
"What a fantastic golf course. It's narrow. There are a couple holes on the Sound that are really tough par-3s and there are par-5s that go up a hill. I would consider it a really tough test of golf, personally," he said. "I've played Winged Foot, I've played lots of places but Indian Hills is one tough little golf course."
But on one day of the year, all the former Islanders get to feel like they're a member of a special club. "The Islanders have been so big in my life, it's great to be here," Turgeon said. "The memories we have are awesome. It's always nice to come back here."
Friar's Head event
Whatever good things you hear about Friar's Head in Baiting Hollow -- the bluffs, the hills, the trees, the sand, the Sound -- you should believe it. The course is one of Ben Crenshaw's and Bill Coore's greatest creations, having been compared to Cypress Point and Pine Valley. For the next couple of days, you don't have to take anyone's word for it. You can see it for yourself. The Metropolitan Golf Association's Ike Championship will be held there tomorrow and Tuesday and the public is invited to watch, no charge.
Among the familiar Long Islanders in the amateur field will be Ken Bakst, the course's owner, as well as Joe Saladino, Matt Lowe, Ed Gibstein, Michael Blum and 2015 Richardson Invitational winner Mark Thompson. Pairings are at mgagolf.org
LI pros in action
Long Island pros in the PGA Professionals National Championship (often called the club pros' championship) at Philadelphia Cricket Club starting today are Darrell Kestner and Ben Polland (Deepdale), Mark Brown (Tam O'Shanter), Rob Corcoran (Poxabogue), Matt Dobyns (Fresh Meadow) and Jim Farrell (The Creek). The top 20 finishers will qualify for the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in August.