The PGA Championship is about to tee off and the focus of coverage will be on many major names in the world of golf. Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka are just a few of the pro golfers coming to Farmingdale to compete on Bethpage Black. But its always good to look for the guys that aren’t on anyone’s radar, especially those with Long Island ties. Enter Jason Caron.
“When I was a kid, I played baseball and hockey,” said Caron, who grew up in Cape Cod, Massachusetts and currently lives in Greenlawn. “I just kind of got introduced to the game [of golf]. There was a guy that was from my hometown that played on the PGA Tour. When he was in town, we would hang out and I watched him golf. It became the sport that I wanted to pursue.”
Caron spent a lot of time working to get to the level he is at today. He turned pro in 1994 when he was in his mid-teens and continued playing in tournaments for a few years after until he got his first crack at the PGA tournament in 2000.
“I played in my first tour tournament in Hawaii,” said Caron. “It was great. Back then, I was playing full-time and I got my tour card. I played like 60 events out there on the PGA Tour over the years. At the time it was just a part of my life and my job so it was great experience and I’m glad I did it for a long time.”
Caron began to settle down but continued working to become an expert of the game. He started working at the courses themselves, spending three years as an employee at a country club in Westchester before applying for and becoming club pro at Mill River Club in Oyster Bay in 2014.
“Now I have a career and a family, so things are a lot different and I don’t miss [the tour],” said Caron.
Still, Caron continues to play in the occasional tournament and wanted to pursue playing in the PGA Championship. He earned the chance to play in the tournament after competing in the Metropolitan PGA Showcase in Bluffton, South Carolina. Although he did not have high expectations going into the tournament since he didn’t play much in the winter, he ended up shooting well enough to advance to the final round and claim fourth place. The placement gave him a one-way ticket to Bethpage Black.
He has played in a major before: The 2009 U.S. Open, which also happened to be played at Bethpage Black. His experience on the course is sure to help him when he tees off on May 16.
“The golf course is the hottest, fairest course I’ve ever played on,” said Caron. “Its just a really good test. Being able to play the New York State Open there every year helps. It’s going to be a monster. The golf course is so good tee to green, its hard to put into words.”
He is hoping to focus on the aspects of the game that he has excelled in, which includes keeping the ball in play and focusing on not shooting high.
“Par is a big score out there,” said Caron. “I don’t need to make a lot of birdies. Its going to be a grind. I like that kind of golf. I have some experience with that and I’ve been playing well lately so that’s always good.”
In the meantime, his wife, Liz Caron, will be rooting for him while he competes on the big stage. She has quite the experience herself on the PGA circuit, participating in 10 majors and also working at the Mill River Club with her husband.
“She is an outstanding player,” said Jason. “She’s played once or twice since we’ve had kids so she’s the real deal. I know how good she is. It’s great because we both understand when things go well and when things don’t go well on the golf course. The great thing is we have two little girls and they take your mind off of the golf when they say ‘daddy’ or ‘mommy.’”
Watch Caron and all the golfers play at Bethpage Black starting May 16 on TNT and throughout the weekend on TNT and CBS. For more information on the tournament, visit www.pga.com/events/pgachampionship/2019.