Who wants it? RWB 2013

3 09 2013
Who wouldn't want this splendid trophy on their mantle for a year?

Who wouldn’t want this splendid trophy on their mantle for a year?

The Red, White and Blue tournament was first played in 2001 and has been chugging along nicely ever since. It has slipped into a regular slot on the world golfing calendar – the Labour Day weekend – and each year a dozen or so very enthusiastic but largely untalented golfers from Glacier Greens have vied for the right to take home the Big Club, as the trophy is called.

OK. The first paragraph is mostly accurate, except for the ‘vying for the right to take the trophy home’ bit. Somehow in recent years it has become fashionable to claim not to want to win the Big Club. Last year’s winner, for example, the Great Robinski, ensured there would be no repeat this year by contriving to shoot 88 in Saturday’s round. That’s a net 88, not gross, although clearly Robin’s play was. No sense of shame, some people. Bud Bryan was keen to play, but made it clear that under no circumstances was he allowed to win – his better half Alice had threatened to kill him if he showed up at home with the Big Club. As it turned out, he didn’t need to worry. Actually, the Chief is the only one person I can think of as having said he’d quite like to win the trophy, but with his dry sense of humour it’s hard to know if he really meant it. Anyway, given the way he’s been hitting the ball of late, it was never likely to happen.

Some players, like Mike Worleybird (who finished 3rd), Billy V (4th) and Roderick (5th) played well enough to maintain a certain level of self esteem while never actually contending for the title. Others, like Bruce (6th) and the aforementioned Bud and Adrian (7th and 8th), preferred to spend the weekend hurling insults at those around them, which in fact made it a pretty normal weekend for the rest of us. Smokin’ Joe kept under the radar in 9th place and Elmo, deciding he’d had enough of the abuse he got last year for coming last, improved in each round to finish in the top ten, just ahead of Dave Buckley-Jones, who was shockingly well behaved this year. Perhaps he had a headache. To save our blushes, I won’t give the exact placings of the last four. As already mentioned, Robin had his reasons for keeping his head under the parapet. I was just flippin’ inept from start to finish. And let’s be kind to newcomers Michelle M and Mike P and trot out the old clichés: the occasion got to them, they played well but the putts didn’t drop etc etc. Nah! Let’s face it – they were as bad as Robin and me.

So who did want it? For the first two rounds, the answer was clearly Stan Mills, who amassed a six shot lead with a couple of sub par rounds. Over lunch on Sunday, however, I suspect Stan had an epiphany. The man who spent the the first eight months of 2011 looking at the trophy he’d won in 2010 must have decided that he didn’t want the Big Club cluttering up the living room for another whole year. Tee shots started to go awry in the final round, putts started to come up a tad short. News from the course was that someone was coming up on the rails. Who else, but Li’l Stevie Ellis, who barnstormed his way to an amazing net 61. At the last, almost despite himself, Stan the Man made a couple of birdies to force a tie. What now? A tension filled sudden death playoff? Stan bought me a coffee and a muffin – an unsubtle attempt at bribery – and whispered ” I think the trophy should go to the high handicapper, Dave. I’ve already won it once. Let Stevie have his moment of glory.” Nice try, Stanley, but there’s a precedent. In 2006, el Bandito Juan tied with Lou ‘Picasso’ Smith. There was no playoff – everyone liked the idea of both guys having to put the trophy  on display for six months each.

And so that’s how it is this year: your Red, White and Blue joint winners for 2013 – Stan Mills and Steve Ellis. Many congratulations, guys!

All da best.

Dave B.

Yeah, I know, Beauty and the beasts. Michelle wonders what she's let herself in for as Mike W admires Bruce's ball juggling skills...

Yeah, I know, Beauty and the Beasts. Michelle wonders what she’s let herself in for as Mike W admires Bruce’s ball juggling skills. Many thanks to Bruce, by the way, for the prizes he presented to each competitor on the first tee. Thanks to Lordco, too.

Bud chortles at the very idea of Stan winning the trophy for a second time. "Like that's gonna happen!"

Bud chortles at the very idea of Stan winning the trophy for a second time. “Like that’s gonna happen!”

"You shot HOW many yesterday?" Dave BJ asks Robin if it's contagious.

“You shot HOW many yesterday?” Dave BJ asks Robin. ” Is it contagious?”

Bagger D and Mike P enjoy a moment before the final round. There was little to enjoy for the next four hours...

Bagger D and Mike P enjoy a moment before the second round. Sadly, the last 36 holes brought precious few other moments to enjoy.

A respectable first showing for RWB rookie Billy V. Yet more disappointment for the Chief. The coffee was good though...

A respectable first showing for RWB rookie Billy V. Another disappointment for the Chief. The coffee was good though.

Elmo moved all the way up from dead last in 2012 to a top ten finish this year. Rod moved from 5th to er, 5th

Elmo moved all the way up from dead last in 2012 to a top ten finish this year. Rod moved from 5th to er, 5th

Stan Mills and Steve Ellis, the 2013 RWB champions. The vertically challenged dynamic duo pose proudly behind the Big Club.

Stan Mills and Steve Ellis, the 2013 RWB champions. The vertically challenged dynamic duo pose proudly behind the Big Club.

Editor’s note: sadly, no picture was available of Smokin’ Joe Dunham, who was practising on the driving range at the time the pictures were taken.

Why, Joseph, why?

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Dong!

14 11 2012

And the moral of the story is: “When it comes to dong, you get what you pay for.”

I recently posted an account of an unfortunate mix up in Vietnam which resulted in me clambering into bed with the wrong wife (along with her husband). The response has been both gratifying and disappointing: gratifying because of the interest this episode aroused (oops – probably a poor choice of verb given the circumstances) but disappointing because my post had absolutely nothing to do with golf which is, after all, supposed to be the focal point of my blog.

Anyway, a natural reaction among my walking colleagues was to ask how the rest of the holiday went and whether I got myself into any other scrapes during our trip. I had to admit that one minor event did come to mind:

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been in the habit of having my haircut while on holiday in foreign climes: I’ve had my follicles snipped in countries such as France, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Mexico and Peru, and I was keen to add Vietnam to the list. My chance came as we were walking through a park in the old quarter of Hanoi: I could see a dozen barbers who had set up shop on the sidewalk. Our guide, Thang, had told me that the going rate for a haircut was about 40,000 dong ($2), so when the gentleman I selected asked for 100,000 dong ($5) I shook my head and started to walk away. He immediately followed me and we eventually agreed on 50,000 dong, although I could sense he wasn’t that happy about the deal. I gave him the money and he proceeded to shave right up the back of my head and then hack away at the top in fairly random fashion. Literally five minutes later I was done, leaving a pile of grey hair on the sidewalk and, I’m sure, a barber who was happy to have had the last word in his dealings with such a cheap customer.

I was retelling the story to the walking group in Serious Coffee yesterday and, not surprisingly, they enjoyed my discomfort. John Bucher, as always, had some wisdom to share: “Don’t you know, Davey, that you NEVER pay for a haircut  until it’s finished?” “Yeah,” said everyone else within hearing range, “everyone knows that.” “Yeah,” added one particular member of the group, “you only pay after. It’s just like hookers.”

WELL! There was laughter, followed by a somewhat awkward pause as the person who’d made the comment considered the likelihood of his indiscreet remark being repeated in, say, a golf blog. No need to worry, fellow walker, what happens in the walking group stays in the walking group, right? But I’d like to be a fly on the wall when the wives start asking their hubbies who it was. (And no, Jewie, it wasn’t me. Honest!)

All da best.

Dave B.