Led by new kicker Nick Folk, the Jets' most recent class of free agents is already making an impact for the organization. Although their talents will be on display on the football field soon enough, Folk and newcomers LaDainian Tomlinson, Jason Taylor and Antonio Cromartie all made great contributions of time and effort at Monday's Jets Charity Golf Classic at Trump National Golf Course.
Folk's fivesome, which included members of the W.F. Reilly foundation, ended up at 9-under-par during the best-ball scramble tournament, which was good enough to tie offensive lineman Matt Slauson and Drinker Biddle's group. Unfortunately for Folk, the offensive lineman's team won the match of cards and Reilly ended up in second place.
Still, Folk was happy with his team's results — and hopes his accuracy on the links is a reflection of future accuracy on the football field.
"We played well, made a lot of good shots," Folk said. "Left a couple putts out there and a couple shots inside of 100 yards we didn't put too close. For me, I think I probably did enough to put up some scores and help the team put up some scores. I hit a couple of good drives that were out there quite a way, and I hit a couple of good putts that just weren't falling. Hit them right off the edge and they just wouldn't fall for me."
Despite that, Folk and W.F. Reilly seemed pleased with their results and even looked to be setting up another golf outing sometime down the road. Along with the knowledge that they played well enough to win, all five members of the group received Scotty Cameron putters as prizes. Folk was pleased with the reward and with his own play throughout the day, saying, "I played well and I had a great time playing out here on this awesome course. First time out here, so it was a good time."
It was a warm and sunny but slightly windy day, which made some of the holes play longer and tougher. In fact, Danny Woodhead, last year's champion, claimed that his team had been playing into the wind on every single hole.
Others seemed slightly less worried about the conditions. Eric Smith and Brad Smith spent a little bit of time fishing in the lake on the 16th fairway — not for their golfballs but for fish.
In addition to Folk, running back LaDainian Tomlinson and linebacker Jason Taylor seemed fit for the part of golf enthusiast and simultaneous charitable member of the community. Dressed in what Cromartie, his former Chargers teammate and current Jets teammate, called a "Tiger Woods outfit," Tomlinson seemed focused and intense on the course — selecting his clubs from his personalized golfbag on the back of his cart.
When asked about the day of golf, however, Tomlinson relaxed and appreciated the opportunity to be on the course. "It feels good. I enjoy playing golf, so to come out here and do it for something that means something for the charity, I'm all for it," he said. "The weather has been great. It reminds me of where I'm from back in Texas."
Despite Cromartie's claims that Tomlinson has been taking golf lessons for the past seven years, his team was unable to challenge the leaders, finishing tied for fourth 6-under.
Taylor also dressed the part, while toting a cigar around to fit in even better with the beautiful settings Trump National's "Old Course" provided. While his team teed off ahead of him, Taylor took the time to discuss the event, how his group was performing and his role in a charitable day for the Jets.
"These guys are pretty good. They woke up a little bit," he said. "It's great. When you put things on a golfcourse I think it's a lot easier to get people to come out and help support. A lot of us love to play the game of golf, and to come out and raise money for a great cause and help people that really need the help is always an honor and a privilege."
The proceeds of the event, which also featured a silent auction and raffle prizes, went to the New York Jets Foundation, which helps underprivileged children and also a number of different charity organizations in the region. At the end of the day, all of the Jets coaches, players and staff realized what the true purpose behind the day was: charity. Many of the players commented on what a tremendous opportunity it was to help the community.
"I think it's great for our whole team to be out here and help everyone out that needs help," Folk said. "I think the community appreciates what we do for them, and it's a lot of fun for us. Anything to help anyone else out. I come from a family of giving and helping people out, so I don't mind doing it at all."
The Jets Charity Golf Classic raised over $270,000 and had fantastic attendance from the organization and local businesses that participated in the event. Besides the Jets veterans playing in the tournament, the team's rookie class and the Jets Flight Crew were also in attendance helping with the event. Those players not at Trump National were out in the local area making hospital and school visits.