Big Ed! (R+W 2017)

18 09 2017

 

Ed 02

Mr. Ed Hayes, ladies and gentlemen. The very worthy winner of R+W 2017

The 17th edition of the prestigious Red, White and Blue tournament took place this past weekend, and with it came a number of firsts: last year play was washed out on the Saturday, so we played 18 holes from the blue tees on Sunday morning and then 18 more from the red tees in the afternoon and thus RWB became R+B 2016. This year the weather was lovely on Saturday but Sunday – as promised – dawned wet and windy. A unanimous pre-round decision was made on the putting green: no 36 holes this year – just a quick 18 from the reds and hope we missed the worst of the weather. So R+W 2017 it was. Perhaps defending champion Joe Dunham summed up the general consensus: “Listen, Brooker – I’m too old for this sh!t.” He’s always had a way with words has Joe…

Three groups of three set off down the first fairway, and the first group (best described as ‘the No Hopers’ after their pitiful efforts on Saturday) were also the first to set a record: the fastest round ever played in the history of the tournament. Just 2 hours and 25 minutes after teeing off (and 2 hours and 23 minutes of pouring rain), Chuck Kennedy, Rod Gray and Rudge Wilson were back in the social centre with a variety of beverages in front of them. Their scores? Irrelevant. Their pace of play? Magnificent.

Group 2 (‘The Stragglers’), consisting of Joe Dunham, Dave Buckley-Jones and Yours Truly, failed to break any records but at least were still on speaking terms as they walked off the 18th green. Yours Truly had put a ball in the pond and racked up a triple bogey, Smokin’ Joe had just had a miraculous chip-in birdie and Mr Buckley-Jones had failed to notice either occurrence. Like the others Dave was very, very wet and just wanted to get inside, where he enjoyed being ‘leader in the clubhouse’ – for about 20 minutes.

The final group, the three players who were in  serious contention after their fine rounds on Saturday, took a bit more time about their golf. They consisted, said one of their number, of ‘two sandbaggers and an idiot’. The players concerned were low handicapper Bill Village and somewhat higher handicappers (and first time RWBers) Phil Ball and Ed Hayes. Obviously it would be unfair to identify the idiot, but let’s just say that it wasn’t Phil or Ed. Of the three, Bill hit lots of fairways and greens, Phil missed nearly all the fairways but hit all the greens (eventually) and Ed? Well, Ed had a splendid round and shot a 95. That’s 95 gross which comes to er, 59 net, which is a record for the RWB, as is his 12 shot winning margin. Blimey!

It was a pleasure to watch everyone at the prize table, as we all picked our well-wrapped prizes – in reverse order of finishing, of course – and laughed gleefully at what we’d chosen. I think Bill Village won the jackpot, though – a sort of troll thingy, designed to hold a bottle of wine to its mouth with a big, hairy claw. Just the sort of thing to grace Bill’s new gaff on Crown Isle. As Bill said afterwards – we can expect to see it again on the prize table next year, really well wrapped.

As for this year’s winner, Ed took the prize giving ceremony with good grace, even when he realised that the $9 prize money would not cover the cost of engraving and that he was honour-bound to keep the Big Club on display at home (for at least a day). After that? Well, past winners tell us that sheds, crawl spaces and garages appear to be the location of choice for the magnificent trophy

Many congrats Big Ed, and thanks to all for taking part. It’ll be a new, no 36 hole, Joe Dunham-inspired format next year. See you all then!

All da best.

Dave B.

 

 

 

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The fifth Major? RWB 2010

29 08 2010

For years there has been heated debate about whether a fifth tournament should be added to the current list of majors. The Masters, the U.S. Open, the U.S. PGA and the granddaddy of them all, the Open itself, are the tournaments that every golfer dreams of winning. Now, I believe, is the time to add another tournament to the list. The Players and the World Matchplay have been promoted as possibilities, but I have another suggestion. Like the Masters, it is played annually on the same course. Like the U.S. Open, it is played on a course with fearsome – some would say tricked up – greens. Like the Open, it has a proud British background. And like the PGA, many of the competitors are household names only in their own houses. Step forward, if you please, the Glacier Greens Labour Day Weekend Red, White and Blue!

Steeped in history, the Red, White and Blue is about to celebrate its tenth anniversary, during which time it has had no fewer than eight different winners – many of them contentious and some whose names on the Big Club trophy should really be asterisked. If you would like to know more about the tournament’s storied past then you should scroll down to my third ever blog, published in February this year, imaginatively entitled ‘The Red, White and Blue – a short history”.

As for 2010, the competition is as fierce as ever and the competitors the usual disparate – and desperate – bunch of hackers. With the scandalous exception of el Bandito Juan, who was declared co-winner of the event in 2006 – this loophole has since, of course, been closed – one thing that all past winners have in common is that they are not actually very good at golf. How could it be otherwise, when the tournament results are calculated purely on net scores and Berger Doubles are an integral part of the scoring system? To my mind, this is what makes the R, W and B worthy of the title of ‘Fifth Major’ – it stands out so clearly from all those other same old, same old tournaments around the globe.

At the time of writing there are a dozen or so entrants for the 2010 tournament. There could have been more, but entry criteria are stringent and some have failed to meet them. Peter Dobbs, for example, has taken umbrage at my refusal to give him a more generous handicap on the grounds that he’s recently had a couple of open heart surgeries or some such thing. No medical exemptions on this tour, Dobbsy! Glen Parsons, knowing that his high handicap might lead to success but fearing what wife Maureen would say if he showed up at home with the Big Club, has withdrawn in the interests of domestic harmony and John Ringstead’s letter of withdrawal states that he has decided to ‘concentrate on painting his railings’. Nice one, Picasso! Dave Laird has been honest enough to go on record as saying that he would rather not spend the entire Labour Day weekend in the undergrowth of Glacier Greens, while for others (and yes, some of them are teachers) the $15 prize / entry fee would appear to have been an insurmountable obstacle.

“But what of this year’s actual entrants?”, I hear you ask. Well, in alphabetical order, with handicap and other pertinent info attached, here they are:

Dave Brooker (9 hcp, including penalty strokes): If the three stroke penalty for being last year’s winner wasn’t enough, my putting is so bad that I drove over my putter in the Eurovan yesterday in an attempt to ‘give it a damn good lesson’. Still, I suppose that shows that my driving is pretty accurate.

Bud Bryan (13 hcp): Born in Portsmouth at the dawn of the 20th century, the amiable Mr. B has a few kind words for his fellow competitors. “They’re all assholes”. I don’t think he meant it – he was probably just referring to Adrian and Bruce.

Dave Buckley – Jones (21 hcp): Often found in cahoots with Mr Mills and Mr Fitzgerald, the man with the poshest name in the tournament field loves the cut and thrust of competitive golf, especially when it involves slagging off teachers.

Bruce Coulter (6 hcp): Bruce Almighty made no attempt recently to hide his glee at learning that his handicap had just gone up from 5 to 6. He failed, however, to realise that he still has the lowest ‘cap in the field and therefore no chance of winning.

Vic Crisp (19 hcp): Winner of the 2007 edition of the R, W and B, thus making Victor a particularly appropriate first name, Mr Crisp is always a tough man to beat on net scores. Has never really stuck to his vow of silence on the golf course.

Martin Davies (17 hcp): Another past winner, way back in 2002, Martin has shown little form in the tournament of late. On the other hand, the Welsh Wizard is always a pleasure to play with.

Joe Dunham (16 hcp): Smokin’ Joe, so called because of his truly prodigious length off the tee, has one real aim in the tournament – to finish higher in the standings than Adrian Haut. Surely a very attainable goal…

Dan Fitzgerald (11 hcp): Dan has found some novel ways to avoid the tournament in the past – ‘going to Afghanistan’ was particularly impressive – but this year he failed to find an out. Somewhat like his situation whenever he finds himself in a bunker.

Elmo Guinan (15 hcp): Mr 59 himself. Owner of the second most impressive flop shot in world golf, unfortunately the rest of Elmo’s game more closely resembles what might be played by his big  red namesake from Sesame Street.

Adrian Haut (12 hcp): I have in front of me an email from Mr Haut accepting his invitation to play in this year’s R, W and B and describing himself as the pre tournament favourite. You need to understand that Adrian lives in a parallel universe in which he has some kind of decent short game…

Robin Houlgrave (14 hcp): Winner of this year’s Celtic Challenge and before that the Vegas Invitational, Robin has never fared well in the Red, White and Blue. He’s fine off the white tees, OK off the blues, but the reds? Hasn’t got a clue.

Jack Jackson (13 hcp): First time entrant in the tournament, JJ has fine golf skills and – fortunately – a good sense of humour, but does he really know what he’s let himself in for next weekend? I think not.

Stan Mills (10 hcp): There are those who think that Stan is indeed the man and that he will walk away with the Big Club this year. I happen to agree with them, which almost certainly spells disappointment for the wee mon.

Mike Worley (8 hcp): Some say his golf swing is reminiscent of a fly fisherman in hip waders, but Mike is another man with genuine title aspirations. However, when the decks are cleared for action, will he be able to hook the big one?

So there you have it – as fine a group of golfers as you could wish to see (unless you prefer watching golfers who are any good). Who will add their name to the proud list of winners on the Big Club and then have to persuade their wife that the magnificent trophy should be accorded a place of honour and not, as has allegedly happened in previous years, dumped in the crawl space? All will be revealed next week in the tournament summary…

All da best.

Dave B.