David Wright is used to playing with 45,000 people yelling in his ear. This week though, he is seeing something different at the PGA Championship.
The golf course is not the baseball field.
“It’s kind of quiet,” said the Mets great. “It’s not totally quiet, but yeah, it’s different for sure.”
Oh it’s surely a different week for Wright, as he settles into the role of honorary ambassador at the 101st PGA Championship at Bethpage Black. Wright is here to take pictures with fans, be involved in many of the events off the course and frankly just enjoy himself. There’s no pressure on him here. No worries about his back.
He’s just having fun.
And the crowds are reminding him of Citi Field.
“You know, amazing,” Wright said. “They really came out in full force, and hearing — kind of walking by, the “Let’s Go Mets” chants, and a lot of we will-wishers, so pretty cool. But really neat to see how — everybody wearing the Mets hats and the Yankees hats kind of come out and support a different sport, but are still pretty rowdy and loud.”
A newbie to golf, Wright started playing after he retired last year to keep his competitive juices flowing. But with his spinal stenosis, he needs to be careful on how much he plays.
So this week has been a learning experience, especially when talking the sport with first round leader Brooks Koepka (-7).
“We met Brooks yesterday on the practice facility, and he was awesome,” Wright said. “He wanted to talk baseball, I wanted to talk golf, so we were trying to ping-pong it back and forth off each other, and he was real gracious with his time, came over for 10 or 15 minutes in the middle of his practice session and just kind of talking shop a little bit.”
Speaking of baseball, Wright is a special advisor to Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen, so what does he feel about his other employer?
“We’ve had some ups and downs,” he said. “We’re obviously playing a little better now. But earlier on in the season, it seemed like we — the bats were hot, but we weren’t pitching up to our capability. Then all of a sudden we started pitching the way we should, and the bats got a little cold. So we just need to put it together.
“But you mentioned Alonso and some of these younger players, I mean, that’s what you want, especially as a fan. And me, I guess selfishly, because of the relationship and the longevity that José Reyes and I had, you’d like to see that with a Pete Alonso and a Jeff McNeil, those types of players. There’s more, but to have those younger, home-grown guys that really bleed blue and orange, that came up through our system and really appreciate and respect the uniform and want to go out there and do everything they can to win for the team, the organization, the city, and it’s nice to build around those types of pieces.”
As it’s nice to take a different role, like the one he has at Bethpage Black, where it’s nice and quiet.
Speaking of the quiet, it’s not something he would prefer over a baseball crowd cheering or even jeering.
“Yeah, that would be too weird, especially because I swung and missed a lot, so I’d hear the whoosh when I’m swinging and missing, which I don’t want to hear,” he said. “No, it’s different, but you can kind of tell like that energy is the same. Anywhere we followed Tiger and Brooks and Molinari this morning and just — I mean, even if we weren’t following them, you could kind of tell on the course where they are just because of the roars and just the excitement.”
Sounds like Dave has found a new love.