Tim Teufel Celebrity Golf Tournament celebrates 27th anniversary

GREENWICH — Inclement weather couldn’t stop Tim Teufel’s tradition.

Rain forced the Tim Teufel Celebrity Golf Tournament to be postponed in August, but the rescheduled event took place on a fall day in summer-like weather.

Tamarack Country Club was the venue where numerous sports celebrities focused on their short game and golfed for a good cause, as the Tim Teufel Celebrity Golf Tournament Sponsored by Sweet’N Low celebrated its 27th anniversary on Tuesday.

“I was thinking about that, 27 years, how do you sustain a tournament such as this for that long,” said Teufel, a Greenwich native, who was a second baseman for the New York Mets from 1986-1991. “You can only say it’s because of the help of others. I’ve had tremendous people leading this tournament for years gone by.”

The tournament, which featured groups of four, has raised money for the Fairfield County Sports Commission and its Chelsea Cohen Fitness Academy since 2012.

“The Fairfield County Sports Commission is a great organization that provides after school programs for kids and services for people in the community,” said Teufel, a member of the Mets’ 1986 team that won the World Series. “Sweet’N Low has been such a great provider of sponsorship for us. They help make it easy to make a golf tournament sustain itself.”

From 2011-2016, Teufel served as third base coach of the Mets. Currently, he is roving infield instructor and ambassador for the organization.

“I’m responsible for every infielder in our organization, from the Dominican Republic to the Gulf Coast League, to all our affilliates around the country,” said Teufel, who is based out of Florida, but travels frequently with his new role. “I coach them up during the year and teach the instructors what we want our infielders to accomplish. I’ve got my hands on the next group of infielders that are coming to the big league.”

T hough the Mets made the World Series in 2015 and qualified for the postseason in 2016, this season saw the injury-plagued team struggle to a 70-92 finish.

“The bounce-back season is going to come from our pitching,” Teufel said. “Jacob deGrom had a great year and Noah Syndergaard should return strong. We have some young position players who will learn the game in the big leagues and are in position to get a lot of time. We’ll have a turnover of youth — similar to what the Yankees did.”

Indeed, Teufel is keeping his eye on the current playoff situation.

“It’s exciting, the Dodgers are playing well, the Nationals — that whole series is fun to watch — and the Yankees coming back from 2-down and finding themselves at 2-2,” Teufel said. “The momentum shifts are tremendous.”

Lee Mazzilli, a longtime Greenwich resident who played for the Yankees and Mets and managed the Baltimore Orioles, made another appearance at the tournament to support Teufel’s event. Joining Mazzilli was his son L.J. Mazzilli who is an infielder/outfielder in the Mets’ minor league system.

Bruce Harper, who was a standout running back for the New York Jets from 1977-1984, makes a habit of testing his golf skills for charity.

“It’s very nice to come out and play golf for a great cause,” said Harper, a member of two Jets playoff teams. “I played in one yesterday (Monday) at Hamilton Farms (New Jersey). Just to be a part of it is nice. This event brings the best out of us.”

Harper likes what he sees from his former team, which was picked by many to have a losing season, but are off to a surprising 3-2 start.

“They had an ugly win last week, but if you can win ugly that is a good thing,” Harper said. “They are going to fool a lot of people, no doubt.”

Charles Way, a bruising running back for the New York Giants from 1995-1999, also teed off at Tamarack.

“I’m here to support Tim Teufel and what he is doing for the community through this great cause,” said Way, who worked in the Giants’ organization for numerous years following his playing career. “Being at events like this is always a special thing.”

Way emphasized the importance of kids being involved in sports.

“Teamwork is an important value of any sport,” said Way, who manages a financial services company. “It teaches you how to work together. You can’t do everything by yourself.”

As for the Giants and their 0-5 start to their season, Way is interested in seeing how they will respond.

“Given all the injuries, they’ll have to see what the backups can do,” he said. “In 2013, we started 0-6 and we still had a chance to compete with Dallas for the division. There is still a glimmer of hope.”

The Tim Teufel Charity Golf Tournament is one of many events Brookfield resident Mark Yusko coordinates. Yusko, who is still undergoing treatment and rehabilitation care following a surgery he had last year, was on hand once again Tuesday, to introduce the sports celebrities. Tuesday’s tournament commenced with Yusko driving his tee shot on the first hole.

“I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor in late 2015 and had it removed at Yale in March of 2016,” Yusko said. “It pressed upon the part of the brain that effects the left side. After months of rehab, I’ve gone from a wheelchair, to a walker, to a cane.”

Former heavyweight boxer Gerry Cooney and former NBA guard Wes Matthews returned to Tamarack to show their support for the Fairfield County Sports Commission.

“I mis sed Mark Yusko, I wa nted to see him and Timmy (Teufel),” Cooney said. “Being a part of this tournament is alway s a lot of fun.”

Cooney, who went 28-3 during his professional career, co-hosts “Friday Night at the Fights” on SIRIUS XM RADIO every Monday and Friday from 6-8 p.m.

“Boxing is great right now, the talent is deep in all the divisions,” Cooney said. “There are some great fights coming up.”

Matthews, a Bridgeport native, who played for the six NBA teams, including two Los Angeles Lakers championship squads, coaches the sport he loves at Greenwich Academy.

“I can’t wait for the season to begin,” Matthews said. “We have been making progress and we hope to continue to get better and better every year.”

dfierro@greenwichtime.com; 203-625-4423

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