River Pointe Golf Club head pro Sonny Skinner, right, talks over a hole with caddie and Albany native Steve Tambroni during play at the PGA Championship this week in Rochester, N.Y. Skinner didn’t make the cut, but he and Tambroni called the trip an experience of a lifetime. (Photo courtesy of Sonny Skinner)
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Sonny Skinner woke up from his nap Friday afternoon a little groggy and dazed.
A rough two days of golf has a way of wearing on a guy.
“It’s OK,” reassured Skinner, the Albany golf pro at River Pointe who finished 16-over through days of play at the PGA Championship — 13 shots off the cutline of 3-over. “I hope things go my way in one of these (majors) eventually, but until then I’ll keep enjoying my time and trying to meet the challenge.
“But that challenge was just too much for me this week.”
Skinner told The Herald before his trip to his third PGA Championship that he felt it would be a reach to even make the cut at Oak Hill — a course which made a lot of great golfers look average this week. But between just making the field and soaking in the experience with good friend and caddie Steve Tambroni of Albany, Skinner wasn’t about to complain about a free trip to New York to play alongside the best in the world.
“You know, I just didn’t have it this week. My little game wasn’t good enough for this course. But, hey, I made two birdies each day — so that was good!” Skinner said with a sarcastic laugh. “But Steve and I had a blast all week. Once things started to unravel, he even made a joke on the 17th hole when I hit into the rough that I had finally started to get good at hitting out of it — because I’d had so much practice this week.
“That was pretty funny.”
Skinner also had lots of support from back home — long distance and in person.
“We had about 30 or people or so from Albany and River Pointe who came up to cheer us on, and they followed us the whole way, rooting for us,” Skinner said. “It’s disappointing I didn’t perform better, but I tried to keep the right attitude and fight until the end.”
Speaking of the end, Skinner had a prediction about how this year’s PGA Championship would conclude.
“(Jason) Dufner is my pick,” he said of the 36-hole leader at 9-under. “I’ve known Dufner for years, and he’s turned into quite a player. I joked with him earlier this week about how he used to be a caddie for a player we both knew, Jay Hobby, and Hobby used to say all the time how he had this guy carrying his bag who was a lot better golfer than he was.
“Dufner and I laughed about that. I mean, he’s certainly proven what a great player he is. I’d like to see him win it.”