The Sweet Sixteen – the official entry list for the 2011 Red, White and Blue

1 09 2011

This weekend marks the 11th running of the famed Red, White and Blue tournament at Glacier Greens here in the sunny Comox Valley. Since 2001 some of the greatest names in world golf – Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood to name but three – have never even heard of the competition, let alone entered it. But for those who have, I think it’s fair to say that many have become obsessed with the thought of going home with the Big Club – the prestigious trophy handed to the winner. What I mean by this is that most entrants are looking forward to an enjoyable 54 holes of golf over the Labour Day weekend but will do virtually anything to avoid the embarrassment of having to lug home one of the largest (not to mention ugliest) trophies in the world of golf. Last year Stan Mills was the one who got caught up in the excitement of it all and was sitting in the chair when the music stopped. Twelve months later, burdened by the three stroke penalty automatically handed to the holder of the trophy, the shame of having the Big Club on permanent display at home and the expense of having his name engraved on the base, Stan is unlikely to repeat his mistake.

This year we have a full slate of sixteen entrants in the ‘Fifth Major’, as it is known by absolutely nobody except me. Full results, including photos and details of the (un)lucky winner, will be published next week, but in the meantime here, in descending order of competence, are the Sweet Sixteen along with the reasons why they won’t win this year. (Hey – I’m bound to be right for 15 of them!)

1. Sir Stanley Mills: Technically not actually knighted yet, but surely it is only a matter of time before Stan is recognized by Her Majesty for his services to golf after his epic victory in 2010. Handicap this year: 7 (inc penalty for last year’s win). Chances of a repeat: nil.

2. Bruce Coulter: By some way the lowest capped player in the field, Bruce is still celebrating the missed putt on the 54th hole last year that handed victory to Stan the Man. A handicap of 3 should ensure failure again this year in this net only competition.

3. Mad Mike Worley (8 hcp) :  Normally the most mellow of men, the pressure of the final day got to Mike last year when he fired a tee shot on #14 into the group ahead. His defence – that they were in the middle of the fairway and therefore should have been considered safe – was immediately accepted by the rules committee.

4. Dave Brooker (11 hcp) : Dave’s new career low came last week when Trevor Jones quietly asked him if he was deliberately missing all those three footers to give his opponent a chance. Sadly, the answer was no. The man’s a putting machine. A broken down machine.

5. Bud Bryan (12 hcp) : Recently returned from his trip to Alaska, Bud has as much chance of winning the RWB as he did of climbing Mount Denali in his flip flops.

6. Adrian Haut (12 hcp) : We all know the Chief is a bit different. For one thing he is on record as saying that he would actually like to win this tournament, which pretty much ensures he won’t.

7. Smokin’ Joe Dunham (13 hcp) : A shoo-in for ‘most improved’ golfer of 2011, but this basically just reinforces how bad Joe was before he purchased the White Knight. If desire alone wins tournaments Joe will be right up there. It doesn’t.

8. Jack Jackson (13 hcp) : Jack finished 3rd last year in his tournament debut and is actually my pick to win this year. That would be the kiss of death for Mr Jackson’s chances then.

9. Rudge Wilson (13 hcp) : Rudge was a regular entrant back in the day, but the moonshine liquor he magically produced on the 14th tee usually led to a disastrous finish for the Rudgemeister and the rest of his foursome. Understandably, none of them seemed to mind very much.

10. Elmo Guinan (16 hcp) : Possessor of the finest Mickelson style flopadopolous shot in all of Canadian golf, Elmo is the only player in the field who can chat with Dave about cricket. It doesn’t help his score, but ensures that he’s invited back every year.

11. Glen Parsons (16 hcp) :  Glen sent me an urgent email from Port McNeill yesterday requesting reinstatement in the tourney. I’m only guessing here, but I would think wife Maureen has made it clear that he can play as long as he absolutely promise not to bring the Big Club home with him on Sunday. You don’t mess with Mo.

12. Vic Crisp (20 hcp) : Vic was the victor of the 2007 tournament (see what I did there?) but old age and treachery have not really done much for him recently. Perhaps he could try talking a bit more. Or even singing.

13. Bill O’Neill (20 hcp): This is Bill’s first go at the event. He seems like a very nice person. What’s he doing playing in the RWB?

14. Wayne Mabee (20 hcp) : Another first timer, Wayne is also a longtime subscriber to my blog and thus should know better than to risk winning this weekend. You don’t just get the trophy for a year, you get 12 months of abuse. Just ask Stan.

15. Al Pasanen (21 hcp) : The third and final new entrant. I think Wayne maybe talked him into it. (I hope you’re spotting all these grammatical devices. That was a homonym). And I hope Al and Wayne’s friendship survives the weekend.

16. Dave Buckley-Jones (23 hcp) : The man with the poshest name in the field as well as the highest handicap. On the surface Dave looks like a genuine contender, but then consider all the extra money we’d have to pay to get his full name inscribed on the plaque. Not gonna happen.

So what a field! One of these fine gentlemen is going to prove me wrong and walk off with the Big Club on Sunday evening, as long as Stan has a) got it engraved and b) can bear to part with it. And don’t even get me started on the prizes! I can hardly wait to see what Bud Bryan brings to the table this year!

So all da best, gents. May the best man win, (taking full handicap into consideration, of course).

Dave B.





2010 Red, White and Blue – results

5 09 2010

Well, the 10th edition of the RWB is in the books and once again we have a first time winner. Stan ‘the Man’ Mills , with a three round net score of 207, walked off with the trophy and all of $12 in cash (almost enough to pay for the engraving) after a titanic battle with Bruce ‘Almighty’ Coulter, who came up just one shot short. The fact that these were the only two players in a field of thirteen to break the net par of 213 only goes to show that the overall level of sandbagging was disappointingly low this year. Third place went to newcomer Jack Jackson (whose parents were apparently so poor that they couldn’t afford any different names) who finished with a total of 215. Rounding out the top five were Vic Crisp (216) and Smokin’ Joe Dunham on 217. Many thanks to Vic for his insistence once again that all prizes be wrapped and bear no sign of original ownership – it ensured that that the prizes were as varied as usual. I’m not sure who won the Indonesian fertility statuette – or for that matter who donated it – but I’m sure it will be a nice talking point next time the vicar comes round for tea. Joe, by the way, is on record as saying how much he enjoyed playing off tees from which he was unlikely to leave his drive short of the ladies’ tee box and suffer the traditional embarrassing consequences.

In sixth place was Bud Bryan (220), who pipped Mike Worley on a fiendishly cunning countback system that I thought up while reading out the placings at the awards ceremony on the patio. Sadly, I have already forgotten how this system works, so no precedent has been set for next year. One shot behind, in 8th place, was Robin Houlgrave who was a major winner in Bruce’s skins game, played concurrently with the main event. I myself placed 9th, with a score of 224. I never really recovered from Scottish Wife’s last words as I left the house at the crack of dawn this morning: “If you win that bloody Big Club again, either you or it is spending the next twelve months in the crawl space. And seeing as how the club doesn’t snore, things are not looking too good for you right now…”. No surprise, then, that my game never really got going today.

Dan Fitzgerald, whose day was interrupted by dog sitting duties, took 10th place with a score of 226 and his oppo, Dave Buckley-Jones, finished one stroke behind him on 227. Dave did, however, produce the performance of the afternoon by birdieing #5 – the hardest hole on the course – for a net score of one and thereby allowing the rest of us to accuse him of sandbaggery of the highest order. Twelth place, with a score of 229, was occupied by the Chief himself, Adrian Haut, thus proving his pre-tournament prediction of victory to be quite spectacularly off the mark. Finally, last – and as numbers don’t lie – decisively least came Mr ’59’ Guinan. Elmo must have been less than tickled to finish at the bottom of such an unskilled bunch of hackers as were on show this weekend, but has the consolation of knowing that things can only improve next year.

So it only remains to invite this year’s participants (and anyone else reading this who doesn’t take him/herself or their game too seriously) to the 2011 edition at Glacier Greens on the Labour day weekend, when Stan will seek to defend his title and also explain how the Big Club took pride of place in the Mills household for twelve months. I can only imagine  Stan’s excitement at the prospect of this wonderful memento taking up space in the living room for a whole year…

In the mean time, thanks again to all of you who made this year’s event so much fun!

All da very best,

Dave B.

P.S. I am recovering nicely from the injury I sustained on the 14th fairway, after being struck by a tee shot played by a competitor who must for legal reasons remain nameless but whose first name is Mike and last name Worley. Mike’s profuse apology, earnest explanation (I was in the middle of the fairway and thus he couldn’t have been expected to hit the ball anywhere near me) and cash compensation package (25 cents) are sufficient for us to have reached an out of court settlement.





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.