SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) Sam Darnold and Josh Allen are spending their weekend watching greatness, and for once it’s not other football players.
They’re at Shinnecock Hills for the U.S. Open.
Selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft – Darnold by the New York Jets, Allen by the Buffalo Bills – the two quarterbacks are headed to the pros but are far from done learning.
”We talk about it all the time in the quarterback room: Whenever we get a chance to watch greatness, whatever it is, we want to do it and learn from it,” Darnold said. ”Even last weekend with Justify winning the Triple Crown, you appreciate that as a quarterback and someone who’s striving to be great. .
”Then to see what guys like Dustin Johnson are able to do, it’s just so cool to watch.”
That’s who Darnold and Allen are rooting for, too. Johnson entered Saturday on top of the leaderboard, 4 over par, but was struggling in the third round.
Darnold and Allen checked out all 18 holes, spending a long time by the green of No. 8, just watching everyone putt. Each golfer’s ability to pinpoint a shot never ceased to amaze them. But it’s what comes before the swing that they really admire and respect: the preparation before the action.
”It’s like what me and Sam would do as quarterbacks, evaluating the defense before we snap the ball and trying to get understanding of what they’re doing,” Allen said. ”And that’s what they’re doing on the course. Before every shot, they’re trying to gauge the wind, trying to gauge the distance, and ultimately trying to have the right swing to put the ball where they want.”
That also includes zoning in on the task and blocking out distractions.
Darnold, who has played maybe a half-dozen times, actually ended up being the cause of such a distraction.
A fan recognized Darnold in the crowd and shouted, ”J-E-T-S! Jets! Jets! Jets!” The outburst came in the middle of a player’s backswing. Darnold couldn’t recall whose swing, but it was his second shot on a par 3.
”He was just laser focused,” Darnold said. ”Still hit a really good shot, and it’s just really cool to watch these guys do what they do. Even with all the hecklers, everything that’s going on, they’re still able to just focus.”
That’s a standard Darnold and Allen can take back to the football field.
Darnold completed 63.1 percent of his passes and averaged 295.9 yards per game in his last season at Southern California. He was picked third overall.
Allen, who brought his dad – his frequent golfing partner – to Shinnecock Hills, hit 56.3 percent of his passes for 1,812 yards and averaged 164.7 yards per game at Wyoming last year. He went seventh overall.
”I love football, so there’s nothing that’s going to replace that,” Allen said. ”But golf, it’s a second.”