Consider it a golfer's version of the famous motto that begins, "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night . . ." In this case, not even a brutal Long Island winter could keep Jennifer Rosenberg from preparing for her big competition in Augusta Sunday.
The Laurel Hollow teenager earned her way to the home of the Masters by winning the regional final of the national Drive, Chip and Putt contest at Bethpage last August. She never has stopped practicing, regardless of the weather and snow cover that made golf difficult at best.
"I think if this was the middle of the summer, I'd be more confident, but I am confident," she said before leaving for Georgia early Saturday with her parents, brother and grandparents. "I made sure I stayed in condition and didn't stop my swing work."
Like other Northeast qualifiers in the Drive, Chip and Putt -- a program run jointly by the Masters, the PGA of America and the U.S. Golf Association -- the Cold Spring Harbor High School sophomore had to be resourceful. She spent much of the winter hitting in course simulators at the John Ondrush Golf Academy in Syosset.
"I really focused on hitting three good drives in a row," she said, referring to her idea of simulating contest conditions. She also used the indoor chipping area there, and often putted on the floor of her room at home. She spent a few days in Florida "Just to get used to playing in warm weather," she said, and lately has been working out with her school team at the Town of Oyster Bay course and at Sky Drive in Farmingdale.
The finals will be televised on Golf Channel this morning, with the putting portion held on Augusta National's 18th green. All of it is on the eve of Masters week.
"To be honest, it hasn't hit me yet," she said. "But I know it will be an experience I will remember for the rest of my life."
Barclays at Bethpage
The Barclays at Bethpage Black next year will be one of the most anticipated and consequential events on the PGA Tour schedule. Because of the new format put in place by a PGA of America task force after the latest U.S. Ryder Cup collapse, the Barclays will be the final tournament in which American players can qualify for the 2016 Ryder Cup team.
Until now, the PGA Championship has been the cutoff. But the task force thought it would be wise to give golfers some extra time to prove themselves. So the first leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs will be the watershed. "A lot of the spots will be locked up, but it does add another whole level of excitement for the tournament," Peter Mele, the tournament's executive director, said.
"It's such a great venue, the course doesn't need me to speak for it," Mele added, pointing out that the Barclays has signed to come back to the Black in 2021 and 2027.
Cedarbrook swan song?
Cedarbrook Club in Old Brookville, which opened in 1961, has been a solid supporter of local tournaments. It is scheduled to host the Long Island Golf Association's Mark Ricciardi Net Team Championship and the Long Island Qualifier for the USGA's Amateur Four-Ball Championship this year. But those might be the last of their kind. The club is up for sale and possibly headed for development, Newsday reported on Friday.