Sam Darnold, the quarterback the Jets picked first in the draft, comes from the rough world of football.
On Saturday he found himself in the usually genteel but sometimes raucous confines of the golf at the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. He was in the company of another first-round draft pick, fellow quarterback Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills.
And pretty quickly he found out what it was like to be a high-profile athlete in New York. As Peter Uihlein was making his backswing on the fourth hole, some fans in the gallery chanted “Jets, Jets, Jets,” egged on by Allen.
“I was pushing Sam a bit, pumping up the crowd,” said Allen. “So I had something maybe to do with that, but I can’t confirm or deny any of those allegations.”
Allen did admit to broadcasting Darnold’s presence. “Any time he wasn’t looking at me, it was like ‘Oh my god, there’s Sam Darnold!’ I just had to push his buttons a little bit and have some fun.”
Allen confirmed Darnold’s thoughts that quarterbacks can learn from the meticulous preparation that golfers put into the game. “The preparation those guys take before every shot,” Allen said. “It’s like Sam or me would do before we snap the ball, trying to get an understanding of what [the defense] is doing. For them before every shot it’s trying to gauge the wind, trying to gauge the distance, trying to make the right swing. It’s the focus.”
Allen is the golfer of the two. “I really didn’t grow up playing golf,” Darnold said. “I’m trying to play some golf . . . maybe four or five times. Right now I’m out here watching them, guys who are great at their game. D.J. [Dustin Johnson] is really cool.”
As for football, Darnold was predictably generic in his comments, saying that he was happy to meet his new Jets teammates and learning what his new coaches expect of him. He was upbeat about the Jets chances for the new season.
As to having a chance to be the starter over Josh McCown, “That’s the coaches’ decision,” Darnold said. “We’ll see.”
Who knows, maybe a U.S. Open visit can help. “There’s definitely a correlation between football and golf,” Darnold said.
As in “Jets, Jets, Jets.”