Featured Columnist Andy Reistetter is on site at the Dick's Sporting Goods Open at En Joie Golf Club in Endicott, New York. Endicott is one of the Triple Cities, along with Johnson City and the author's hometown of Binghamton. Here are his thoughts after the final round on Sunday, June 27th , 2010.
The Sunday Shootout expected in the 2010 Dick's Sporting Goods Open happened early and often as five players surged to the top of the leader board during the final round.
Fred Funk tried to do to the leader as was done to him last year here in the Valley of Opportunity in Central New York State.
Though hobbling at times due to right knee replacement surgery, the defending U.S. Senior Open champion went out and shot a spectacular 7-birdie bogey-free 65 and was the first to post a score under 14.
Loren Roberts, after bogeying the par-3 17th hole, asked his caddie where he stood in the standings after drilling another drive long and down the middle with his new driver on the 18th.
His ears "perked up a bit" when he learned he was one of three leaders at 14-under par.
The remaining 125 yards was the perfect yardage for the now 12-time Champions Tour winner and the "Boss of the Moss." He drained the 7-footer, his trademark left-to-right slider, for the birdie.
Safely in the clubhouse as the leader at 15-under, all he had to do was wait and rehearse his acceptance speech.
Third round leader Dan Forsman was cruising along with a three-stroke lead through 12 holes on Sunday afternoon at En-Joie Golf Club, a true municipal course in Endicott, New York.
After four birdies, it looked like clear sailing along the Susquehanna River for the two-time Champions Tour winner.
With extraneous thoughts in his mind and an overall lack of focus, he 3-putted the par-3 14th . From there, his round and championship contention began to unravel.
Remember the golfer who did not want to be a millionaire, but wanted to play like one?
Sir Walter Hagen never made a million dollars in his career, but he did win a lot of tournaments down the stretch by asking his competitor what he intended to do with the money when he won.
Forsman admitted as much in the post-round interview of asking himself the same question-thinking it would be nice to get his first win in New York.
He was formulating his victory speech for the 18th green with thoughts like "here I am standing as tall as the Empire State Building."
The sun broke through the clouds as he was about to putt that gimmie for par on 14.
With thoughts that may have affected his putting routine, he bogeyed the same hole that had jinxed him with his first bogey of the tournament the day before.
Do you think the golf gods impact the outcome of golf tournaments?
Forsman, though he bogeyed three of the last five holes, has the heart of a lion. Needing eagle on the last to tie, he drilled his tee shot on the 419-yard par-18th down the heart of the fairway.
Though his lob wedge failed to find the hole and he missed yet another short putt for birdie, this introspective golfer who already has won once this year is destined to win again.
Roberts, playing two groups ahead of Forsman, was looking at making a par-5 at the 12th , but ended up chipping in for eagle.
Something from the heavens above distracted Forsman on the 14th . After going 49 holes with one bogey, he bogeyed three of the last five holes.
Funk and Roberts shot 65-the best round of the day by four strokes over the field.
Funk finished second for the second year in a row.
Roberts thinks he needs birdie at 18 for a playoff and wins the tournament outright in regulation.
The gentleman from Tennessee exclaims at the end of his acceptance speech that "I love New York baby."
I know the golf gods and another God have blessed me as I covered this golf tournament in my hometown.
Just walking up from the television compound to the clubhouse this morning was nostalgic for me.
I caught Chip Beck, Mr. 59 and local golfing hero Mile Hulbert coming off the 11th tee.
I happened to work the same charity outing at Shores Acres on the north shore of Chicago a few years back.
Me with my hickory clubs and able-minded Mr. Hickory associates.
Chip with his inspirational personality and golfing skill.
The consummate amateur hickory golfer Harry Horton giving Chip Beck a few tips on how to play with hickory clubs is a memory I will cherish for my lifetime and beyond.
Mr. Hulbert, who I have seen caddie for his buddy Davis Love III at Mr. Palmer's Bay Hill tournament is one of the finest television personalities to assist in the business.
Then in the next group hitting into the 10th green was Jay Haas who I saw win the U.S. Senior Open at Oak Hill where I played last Wednesday.
I also did the Nationwide Tour's BMW Charity Open at Jay's home course earlier in the year- The Thornblade Club in Greenville, South Carolina.
Then coming off the 10th tee was Ben Crenshaw, the walking and golfing legend.
Out on the golf course I ran into Binghamton's own Todd Jones one of the premier instructors in the game of golf.
The whiz kid is currently the Head instructor at the world-renowned TOUR Academy at TPC Sawgrass at the home of the PGA TOUR.
His stable includes five-time PGA TOUR winner Blaine McCallister, two-time major and PLAYERS champion Sandy Lyle, two-time PGA TOUR winner Len Mattiace, up-and-coming Steve Wheatcroft and LPGA's Chella Choi.
And best of all I so much enjoyed reading the final column in the 61-year career of John Fox sports editor emeritus of Binghamton's Press & Sun Bulletin newspaper.
Mr. Fox gracefully inscribed and autographed his last column to me… the message being inspirational well-wishes for me in my new golf writing career.
In perhaps the hardest time in our country in the last generation or two and maybe at a time when your golf game is not in its finest form.
Please always believe better times are ahead and do something positive about you and about the situation.
Interesting enough due to immense demand and requests the inspirational video of the recently departed Alex Alexander was replayed prior to the closing awards ceremony on the 18th green.
There was a technical malfunction so it played without any audio and maybe that is the way it should be at times in our lives.
Maybe we need to hear our own words, our own hearts and project them out for the world to hear.
If you live in this community I bet in some way the 2010 Dick's Sporting Goods Open and the life of Alex Alexander made a positive impact in your life.
I know it did in mine.
Some words of wisdom given to me by my older brother when I was barely a teenager and seem to be echoing in my mind throughout this memorable day.
"Golf is a lot like life, the more you learn and become educated about it the easier it is to meet its challenges."
As far as improving your golf game, go see a qualified PGA of America professional like Todd Jones.
As far as fun, being entertained and having a wonderful sense of community- go see another golfing event like the 2010 Dick's sporting Goods Open though you may not find one better or conducted in a more heartfelt manner.
Good living and good golfing my friends…
Andy Reistetter is a freelance golf writer. He follows the PGA TOUR volunteering and working part time for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, and The Golf Channel.
He resides in Jacksonville Beach, Florida near the PGA TOUR headquarters and home of The PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach.