When the 1986 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills began on an intensely cold, rainy, windy day, the joke was that the whole tournament had been transported from Southampton, N.Y., to Southampton, England. It turns out the two locales are connected in more than name only.
Last week, they held the latest edition of the Southampton Cup, a biennial competition between Southampton Golf Club of Long Island (adjacent to Shinnecock Hills) and Southampton Golf Club of England. The Cup is now back on American soil, following a 20-8 triumph by the Long Islanders.
“We went into the singles matches up 10-6, so we needed 4 ½ points. We did that pretty handily, I guess,” winning captain Paul Ramunno said. “We had some good players out there, and I think the equalizer this year for us was our golf course. It’s a little tougher than theirs and it’s a little different from theirs. Whenever you’re the away team, it’s a bit of an uphill battle.”
The Southampton Cup has become a spirited series that involves a Ryder Cup format, and an awful lot of effort. The host squad is responsible for picking up the visitors from the airport, finding housing (this time, a house within walking distance of the club) and arranging nightly dinners for the two squads. Its genesis was a letter sent 10 years ago by Steve Myers of the England course to several Southampton Golf Clubs in the U.S.
“We were the only one that responded,” Ramunno said. Long Island’s Southampton won the inaugural Cup match as the away team in 2008. In the five renewals since then, the home side has won every one, meaning the Americans are ahead, 4-2.
Nonetheless, in a show of sportsmanship, the Brits agreed last week to let alternates play so more golfers could be involved. Tom Fullam, Carmine Cornacchio, Scott Jones, Mark Antilety, Doug Heron, Declan Blackmore, Jim Deasy, P.J. Moore, Lee Minetree, Gene Parker, John Wilcenski, Andrew Reilly, Mike Medio and Bob Moulton all had a hand in the victory.
“Both teams put in a lot of work,” Ramunno said. “It has become quite an event.”
From caddy to manager?
If Brittany Henderson ever tires of caddying for her younger sister Brooke, the No. 8 women’s player in the world, she can easily find another niche in golf. She graduated from the PGA of America management program at Coastal Carolina University, including an internship at Westhampton Country Club in 2010.
“Being from Canada, I wanted to be somewhere where I could drive home if I wanted to,” she said at the U.S. Women’s Open in Bedminster, N.J. last week, adding that Westhampton offered housing and the chance to run a junior golf program. Plus, the club allowed her to bring her then-11-year-old sister to play the course.
“It was a great experience,” Brittany said of having worked for head pro Bobby Jenkins. “I tried to play every day after work, but they did work you pretty long hours.”
An invention of Michael Tracy, part-time East Quogue resident, was voted the Best New Product at the PGA Fashion and Demo Experience. EyzGear consists of a pair of quarter-size devices that attach to a golfer’s hat or visor and keep the golfer’s glasses or sunglasses from slipping off. Tracy has released action footage at eyzgear.com/video . . . Growing up in New Rochelle and even later as an NHL player, new Rangers defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk often came down to Long Island to play Bethpage Black. He said once in a Newsday interview that his best score there was 88 . . . Gerald Mackedon of Port Jefferson, Kyle Brey of Farmingdale and Deepdale member George Zahringer of Manhattan all qualified for the U.S. Amateur Monday at Huntington Country Club. Mackedon was the medalist, shooting 9-under par 131 for 36 holes. Zahringer is 64, having won the Met Senior Amateur at Huntington last year . . . The $17,500 New York State Open first-place check, awarded at the Black Course Thursday to the runnerup because champion Cameron Young could not accept money as an amateur, came in handy for Chris DeForest. His wife is due to give birth in less than a month. The Cottekill resident once played against Rory McIlroy in the Junior Ryder Cup and was in the field when McIlroy romped to the U.S. Open title in 2011.