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Legendary Boxer Cooney To Host The Retreat Golf Classic At Sebonack

Originally Posted: April 14, 2009

Brett Mauser

Hosted by Gerry Cooney, the Bob Kyle Memorial Golf Classic will take place on Tuesday, May 26, at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton. Images courtesy of Google and The Retreat

Southampton - He has stood across the ring from some of the world's elite pugilists. Now Long Island legend Gerry Cooney will help The Retreat take a stand against domestic violence. Last week, Cooney was named host for the annual Bob Kyle Memorial Golf Classic, which will take place on Tuesday, May 26 at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton.

Former heavyweight boxer Gerry Cooney is joining forces with The
Retreat and will host their annual event at Sebonack Golf Club.

Cooney owned a house on Lion Head Beach in East Hampton for 12 years and in that time worked with The Retreat on the Hands Are Not For Hitting campaign.

"It's a great program because of what they're doing to help stop the abuse of women or the family and get them away from the situation," Cooney said. "It gives them a place to come to with their kids and mend."

Cooney, a Huntington native, finished his career with a record of 28-3 and once fought Larry Holmes for the WBC heavyweight championship. Cooney's crowning achievement was a first-round technical knockout of Ken Norton to set up the title bout with Holmes. He also stepped into the ring with Michael Spinks and George Foreman.

The 52-year-old Cooney indicated that his attraction to the event aside from his affinity for golf was his personal experience with domestic abuse. He said he grew up with a father who was "a very physically tough man who took it out on us." The repercussions were evident throughout his life.

"That emotion causes a lot of problems," Cooney said. "You don't grow up normal. You grow up with a lot of fear and a feeling of not being good enough. ... [With the Classic], people are helping make life a little easier for others. They're helping make a change. That's the real value, but they're also playing golf at a great course with a bunch of great people, exchanging stories all day and having fun."

An avid golfer who is apt to shoot in the high 70s or low 80s, Cooney and dozens of others will take on Sebonack, which was selected last year to host the 2013 U.S. Women's Open.

"The Retreat's Golf Classic provides a rare opportunity to play the course that was named 'America's Best New Private Course of 2007' by Golf Digest," Retreat Development Director Jennifer Palmer said in a press release. "We are ecstatic to have this opportunity to hold our Classic at Sebonack. Not only are we raising money to support our domestic violence services, but we are fulfilling many golfers' dreams of playing on such an exclusive course."

Gerry Cooney's opponents in the ring included Larry Holmes, George Foreman, Michael Spinks and Ken Norton.

Former Syracuse quarterback Don McPherson, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, will also be on hand for the fundraising event. In 1987, he led the Orangemen to an undefeated record and won the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award and Maxwell Player of the Year Award for his efforts. McPherson has devoted much of his time after football to advocating for the prevention of violence against women and is vice president of The Hopewell Group, a philanthropic consulting firm in New York City.

In addition to the main event, this year's Classic will also host the first-ever Retreat Corporate Challenge. The lowest-scoring foursome from a single company will be awarded the Retreat Corporate Challenge Trophy at the cocktail reception afterward.

Entrants are still being taken for the mid-day shotgun start. The field is limited to 72 reservations. Interested parties can call The Retreat at 631-329-4398 or email golf@theretreatinc.org. The Retreat has provided shelter, safety and support for domestic violence victims and their children since 1987.

Updated: June 2, 2009, 5:46 pm
Appeared In: community >> local sports