World War II veteran and golf lover attends PGA Championship

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Wednesday, we saw the biggest crowd of the week at Oak Hill. 

In the crush was a man who served our country in World War II and played golf up until he was 97. 

News10NBC’s Berkeley Brean walked the course with him. 

Brean says it was an honor to meet Tom Conners. 

He grew up in East Rochester, served in the Pacific, was a teacher and coach, and golf has been a part of his life for nearly his entire life. 

Tom Conners was just a face in the crowd as we tried to walk through the crush of people. But as soon as Brean told fans that he was a World War II veteran, the crowd parted and they got him front row access. 

Conners knows and loves golf. In East Rochester, he knew Robert Trent Jones, the famous golf architect. 

His father knew Bobby Jones, one of the greatest American golfers of all time.  

Conners has been to every major tournament at Oak Hill. 

“It feels great. I’ve been to every tournament here since 1941,” says Conners.

As a kid, he either snuck in or caddied. 

In the war, he was stationed on Okinawa and then Korea.

“And we did a good job,” says Conners. “I mean because Korea is an economic engine for southeast Asia so we did a good job over there.”

There are all kinds of veterans at the Champsionship. 

Conners loves the fellowship of the game.

Berkeley Brean, News10NBC: “Who are you rooting for this week?” 

Tom Conners, World War II veteran: “Well, some of the guys I rooted for I don’t root for anymore. Rahm is a strong player. I’d like to see Rory win.”

Berkeley Brean, News10NBC: “Well Tom thank you for your service and have fun at he tournament.” 

Tom Conners, World War II : “Thanks for interviewing me. I’ve enjoyed it.”

Everybody is here to watch the golfers. But when Berkeley Brean introduced them to Tom and said he was on Okinawa in World War II, they turned to look at him. 

A great reaction for the greatest generation.