The Meadow Brook Club, which dates back to the late nineteenth century, is an elegant establishment in Jericho, New York full of sophistication, proper etiquette, and ardent golf members. On Tuesday morning, June 6, 2006, members of the New York Jets raised both hell upon the picturesque fairways and extraordinary funds for a good cause.
The 3rd Annual New York Jets Charity Golf Classic to benefit the New York Jets Foundation was held at the Meadow Brook Club for the first time. Proceeds were generated though a number of ways including: $7,000 to $10,000 foursomes, raffles and a silent auction. More than $100,000 was raised just a year ago at the Jets 2nd Annual Golf Classic. While most proceeds are still being calculated from this year's outing, the estimated funds from the silent auction alone were expected to be in the $40,000 range.
This year's event attracted the likes of every single veteran Jets player, a couple of coaches, and even a few alumni. Coach Eric Mangini, who contributed generously to the silent auction, opted not to swing the sticks Tuesday.
"I'm not a golfer, although I have been out a few times. It's a game that you need to be fully committed to, and I'm kind of currently committed to something else," Mangini joked. "It's a great day and luckily we have some good weather to give our guys a chance to get out there for a good cause."
Mangini was still thinking football after watching offensive guard Pete Kendall's bomb of a drive tail away somewhere towards the southern Connecticut shore
"I'm hoping our guys are better football players than they are golfers," said the first-year head coach. "I'm here for their much-needed support."
Other golfers, more noted for their gridiron play than their 5-iron play, caught an inexplicable hot streak, especially on the greens. Erik Coleman, who paired up with self-proclaimed prolific golfer Eric Barton, sank not one but two critical putts in a row for his group.
"It was crunch time, we needed a putt, and I delivered! Actually, it was just luck. I have been learning from the people in our group who went in front of me," said Coleman. "This is only my third time golfing; last year's event was actually my last time out. But its cool, it's great to be a part of an event like this, to help people out and to have fun doing it."
Aussie native Ben Graham was quite noteworthy in all aspects of the game according to his foursome that also included Anthony Clement. Both players' striking ability caught the eye of one fan in their grouping, Bob Jordan.
"Graham's a good golfer," Jordan said. "Seeing his golf game makes me wonder where he had the time to get that good at punting! Even Clement is holding us up above water. This is a great time and we're all having a blast."
While his group was impressed with that ever-so-smooth stroke from Down Under, Graham was far more impressed with the Jets' planning and event organization than he was of both his and his group's talent.
"Right now, I'm a little erratic, but we just scored our first birdie on my 24-foot putt," said Graham. "But I love it. The Jets do a wonderful job with events whether today's or any other event I have been to, the whole organization does so well and everyone here is having a great time. My group is holding up their end of the bargain, even though they look like better golfers than they actually are."
While mostly every group was competing for any of the impressive prizes distributed for top five finishes, one foursome featured in-house competition and good-natured razzing. Jets alums Vinny Testaverde and Greg Buttle were paired up with GM Mike Tannenbaum and current roster players Sione Pouha and DJ Johnson. After a tremendous back-spinning second shot onto the green, Testaverde decided it was necessary to fire up his group with a quip at Tannenbaum's expense.
"Fortunately, it looks like Mike is hard at work with the team because his golf game is a little suspect right now," snickered Testaverde, an avid golfer. "Raising money for charity is always a good event and certainly when guys like me get a chance to come out here and play some golf it makes it even more fun. It's all for a good cause and that's the most important part."
The winning foursome, sponsored by National Communications Group (NCG), edged out the Toyota sponsored group in a tiebreaker. To no one's surprise, NCG was participating without a Jets player. However, this doesn't mean that the Jets players didn't give their all for the fundraising efforts. The rookie class arrived for the awards dinner and through undisclosed donations in the $1,000 range, the youngsters had the prestigious honor of entertaining the lucky attendants to song and dance.