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Golf Gazette: Sibling rivalry works well for these brothers


Sibling rivalry is defined in Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “competition between siblings, especially for the attention and approval of their parents.” The competition may be when one sibling keeps his room cleaner than the other, gets better grades in school, does things around the house without complaining and eats everything on his plate. And you can add to the mix when one sibling tries to outdo the other athletically.

The world of sports has seen many siblings competing against each other such as Serena and Venus Williams in tennis; Phil and Tony Esposito in hockey; Joe, Dom, and Vince DiMaggio in baseball; and Eli and Peyton Manning in football. But hold on. This is a golf column and so far no mention of sibling rivalries on the golf course. Be patient, faithful reader.

In August, two brothers squared off against each other for the club championship at Island’s End Golf Course in Greenport. Jim Sage, 61, of Greenport, beat his brother, Mike, 62, of East Marion, to win this year’s title.

The brothers, both longtime members at Island’s End, are no strangers to winning the club championship, with Jim having won the title five times and Mike a three-time winner. This year’s final, however, was the first time the brothers played in the final match against each another.

The Sage brothers first began playing golf when they were around 10 years old. Jim’s interest in golf took off, while Mike, enjoying the game, was more interested in baseball.

The brothers’ rivalry on the links heated up when they were in their late 20s. When asked if it made a difference winning or losing to his brother, Mike had this to say: “Jim wants to beat me as much as I want to beat him. We’re both very competitive. If I lost to the Pope I’d be mad.”

At one point during the match, Jim, who said he is the better looking of the two, conceded a tricky putt to Mike that most players would have made their opponent putt. “I don’t want to see Mike miss a short one and I know he doesn’t want me to miss a short one, either,” Jim said.

I was curious what the boys did the night before to prepare for the event.

“I went out with my friends and had a good time,” Mike answered.

Jim took another tact. “My putting had been awful so I came up to the course to practice,” he said. “My wife, Bev, [a former club champion], asked me why I wasn’t turning my shoulders. I made the adjustment and sunk a few putts early in the match, which got my round off to a good start.”

I asked the Sage brothers the most important thing they have learned from competing against each other on the golf course.

“Mike’s ability to come back is amazing,” Jim said. “He’s capable of making a lot of birdies in a row. I’ve learned from Mike to never give up.”

Mike responded: “ Jim stays pretty calm out there, good or bad, no matter what happens. I tend to get a little hyper so I try to stay calm like my brother.”

“You have to make pars, especially in match play,” Jim said. “If you make a lot of pars you’re going to do well.”

TEE TIMES Kenny Weinstein of Sandy Pond Golf Course in Riverhead reported a few holes-in-one at his course. Jack Tyniec of Calverton aced the 118-yard sixth hole using his 7-iron and Joanne Keane of Shirley found the cup on the fifth hole.

The former Times/Review publisher, Troy Gustavson, had his second career hole-in-one at Cedars Golf Course in Cutchogue on Oct. 29. Troy’s first ace was reported in this column a number of years ago when his tee shot on the fifth hole at Cedars ended up in the cup of the second hole. Quite the feat, indeed. Using a 6-iron on Cedar’s sixth hole, the longest hole on the course, Gustavson’s recent hole-in-one was witnessed by his grandson, Tyler.

In my first column back in April 2003, I wrote, “One of the best things golf offers is the generational divide it conquers.” You can bet, years from now, Tyler will be standing on the sixth tee at Cedars and will say to his playing partners, “Back in the fall of 2015 I was playing golf with my grandfather and he made a hole-in-one on this hole.”

Generation divide conquered.

Photo Caption: Mike Sage of East Marion, left, and his brother Jim Sage of Greenport faced each other for the Island’s End Golf Course club championship this year. (Credit: Jay Dempsey)