After a grueling week at the 148th Open Championship in Northern Ireland, spending some time with family on the East End is exactly what the doctor ordered. The East End . . . my happy place. There’s certainly no mystery as to why the wealthiest people on the planet flock to the Hamptons each summer. An hour can feel like a day, a day like a week, and a week like a month.
Last Saturday I was treated to something so special that no amount of money could ever buy it: what has become “the annual Bubka Beach Party” orchestrated by my daughter, Robin Helgerson, on the magnificent Long Beach, was truly one to be remembered.
Living and vacationing in a location that is often dominated by the weather, planning a beach outing for 30 of your best friends and relatives can be a little nerve-wracking, but the weather gods were on Robin’s side and it turned out to be the most perfect day possible. It simply could not have been better — bright sunshine, gentle breezes, and the most glorious sunset, and the best company possible.
Robin’s meticulous planning assured that the beach barbequed food (so ably managed by Jarrett) was as exceptional as the guest list. Since I don’t spend as much time on the East End as I’d like, getting together with family and long-time friends is such a treat, and this was one for the record books.
My brother, Tom, and his wife, June, as well as my sister, Nancy Josslyn, and her son, Todd Jacksima, were there as were all my children, Robin Helgerson with her son Jarrett, Robert Bubka as well as Lane and Kim Bubka, and their children, Truman and Wrenley. Then, all the grandparents plus two of the finest Golf Club pros in the business and friends of mine for over 50 years, Bob Joyce and Bob DeStefano. My partner both in work and life, Janis Self, was there and was very helpful especially to the entertainment for the night — the East End Legend, Doug Dwyer and his wife, Pat, who are also on the 50-year friend roster.
There were so many people that are or have been friends to me over the years all together in one special place. It was absolutely magical. I have been blessed to work at a lot of fantastic locations, but this is always home, and there is nothing at all like spending time with family.
It was also a special week on the Champions Tour. Tom Watson, who is revered all over Great Britain and Ireland, said his farewell to the Senior Major Championships last week as he finished playing in his 18th Senior British Open Championship (he made the cut in all of them) at age 69. Watson has won a total of eight major championships including five British Opens and six senior majors, including three in Great Britain. The only Scottish course where Watson didn’t win was St. Andrews, and that has always been one of his greatest regrets.
There is no doubt that Watson is an adopted favorite son all of the British Isles. He has always loved playing links golf and would often go to Ireland the week before the Open championship to play the great golf courses there, so it was no surprise that while at Royal Portrush covering the Open Championship, I found Watson stopping by our broadcast location just to say hello. Such a classy guy and one of my all-time favorites.