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Golfer's Home Away From Home

Massapequa chiropractor plays host to Gary Christian, a little-known golfer on his way up.

Saturday afternoon, a little-known golfer named was paired with Tiger Woods in the  of

But all week, Christian has been paired with Massapequa's Jeffrey Poplarski.

Dr. Poplarski, a sports and family chiropractor with a clinic in Amityville, is playing host to Christian, providing a family-atmosphere for a 41-year-old golfer, who for the first time has made it to the ranks of the PGA Tour.

"He had to play his way on to this tournament and he made the cut," said Poplarski. "The guy is just off-the-charts super-nice."

In a world where Tiger and Phil Mickelson are household names, many golf professionals struggle to qualify for the tournaments that could make their careers soar. Some stay with host families who volunteer to put them up for the week of the tournament.

Many golfers don't want the distractions of a hotel and prefer a family setting to keep them focused on their game. Poplarski gave up his master bedroom for Christian, a British native who now lives in Alabama with his young family. Christian has free reign in Poplarski's Massapequa home.

Poplarski is perhaps better known in golf circles than Christian. For the past decade, he has served as the wellness director for the U.S. Open. In that capacity, he has directed the overall treatment of the players, caddies and volunteers at the various U.S. Opens, including the first one held in at Bethpage in 2002 and again in 2009.

Poplarski's team of 100 health-care volunteers have administered to the hundreds of players and caddies and thousands of volunteers who take part in each of these tournaments.

Poplarski, who runs golf-wellness clinics around Long Island for a wide range of amateur golfers, also serving on various committees at The Barclays Tournament, which enters its final round Sunday at the . The PGA does not yet have a wellness program like the U.S. Open's. Poplarski hopes that one day the PGA will adopt the program.

The two have become close. After his round, Christian and Poplarski head out to dinner and then return to his home away from home.

Poplarski hears the phone calls. Christian calls his wife each night and talks to his kids back in Alabama. One night, he called his mom.

"He's a complete gentleman, a family man with great core values," said Poplarski. "I'm sure we'll stay in touch after this. We have a lot in common."

Poplarski asked Christian about being paired with Woods in the third round. "He said 'my whole life I've been dreaming of this type of thing,'" Poplarski said.

Follow The Barclays from our Bethpage Black topics page

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