Lightning never strikes twi.. Oh.

24 08 2014
On the left, Mr. Len Doyle. On the right, Mr Wayne Wood. In the middle, the man who knows this is the only way he's going to get to pose with the Canadian Pairs trophy.

On the left, Mr Len Doyle. On the right, Mr Wayne Wood. In the middle, the man who knows this is the only way he’s going to get to pose with the Canadian Pairs trophy.

Long, long ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, Len Doyle won a golf tournament.  The Canadian Pairs qualifier at Glacier Greens. This was in the days when young Leonard  was less of a hacker than he is now and also happened to have a talented partner by the name of Jim Livingstone. Len never tires of telling the story of how he and Jim went to Ontario and had a great time. The details of the actual golf they played there remain shrouded in mystery – I can only assume they didn’t do too well – but the fact that they won the qualifier means that before every competition Len enters at Glacier Greens he’s keen to describe himself and his partner as ‘pre-tournament favourites’.

Somewhat more recently – in 2011, in fact – Wayne Wood (along with partner Dave Sheppard) – also won the Canadian Pairs qualifier. By that time, the finals had moved a little closer to home – Crown Isle, in fact. I happened to be officiating at that tournament and I remember two things about it: firstly, that Dave Sheppard was still recovering from a serious illness and could hardly swing a club, and secondly, that it poured with rain the entire weekend. At one point, they stopped play for three hours and Wayne and Dave went home to dry off before coming back to finish their round and get soaked all over again.

So yesterday we held the 2014 edition of the Canadian Pairs qualifier at Glacier Greens and you would be right in guessing that Len and Wayne brought home the bacon. With a barely credible (certainly if you’ve ever seen either of them in action) best ball net score of 57 points, they beat Nick Mykitiuk and Rudge Wilson by a couple of shots, with the Phil Ball/Wayne Mabee and Liz Stirrett/Dave Wacowich partnerships a further shot behind. These guys were all in the ‘close but no cigar’ category’, although they did all win sleeves of Titleists or Callaways for their efforts. Beaten into 5th place (the ‘no cigar, no golf balls, thanks for coming out’ category) were Rob Borland and Warren Brandson, who left the course thinking they might have placed higher but were undone by a slight scorecard malfunction by their playing partner whose name it would be a little unkind to mention. Right, Karl?

If you’re wondering how I fared in my own competition, well wonder no more. As is now traditional, I picked a new partner this year (‘Spread the Blame’ is my motto) and Billy V and myself finished comfortably off the pace. I only have to mention the words ‘Canadian Pairs’ and ‘partner’ in the same sentence and people start looking at their feet and searching for the nearest exit. I mean, come on guys! If Lennie and Wayne can win this thing twice, surely my turn will come?

Many thanks to Bill Kelly and his staff in the pro shop for doing all the background stuff that enables a tournament to run smoothly and to the Men’s Club for providing the runners up prizes. And, last but not least, to the 44 ladies and gentlemen who vied for the trophy this year. If we get enough entries in 2015 we’ll give it another go and I’ll be looking for a partner. Any volunteers?

All da best.

Dave B.

P.S. Meanwhile, Len and Wayne are looking forward to 36 holes of golf at Crown Isle at the end of September (along with a banquet and a bucket of prizes) and should they – God forbid – win there they’ll be off to Pebble Beach in December. That has to be worth the $15 entry fee, doesn’t it?

Advertisements




Fizzum and the Great Robinski* – RWB 2012

3 09 2012

Robin poses with the Big Club while in the background Adrian delves into his gift wrapped $15 prize. What horror has Vic Crisp come up with this year? Surely not the infamous gold lamé underpants again? Only Moira will know for sure…

The 12th annual Red, White and Blue tournament is in the books and we have another first time winner. Step forward Mr Robin Houlgrave, aka the Great Robinski, who destroyed the field on Saturday with a ridiculously low net 62 in the first round to lead by seven shots and then clung on during a sphincter-tightening stretch over the last few holes in round 3. “And how did Robin fare in round 2?”, I hear you ask. Well, thereby hangs a tale: the asterisk after Robin’s name in the title – check now, if you weren’t paying attention earlier – is to signify the fact that the RWB has, for the first time, a winner who only played two of the three designated rounds. “But how could this be allowed to happen?”, I hear you ask again. All but one of the 16 competitors were gathered around the first tee on Sunday morning, psyching themselves up to do battle with the daunting Blue/White tee combo at Glacier Greens, when the news came in from the pro shop that Robin would not be playing Round 2 due to “a family problem”, but he’d try to make it for round 3. Obviously everybody was sympathetic, until someone pointed out that if he was going to be there in the afternoon it couldn’t exactly be an emergency. At this point there was a bit of muttering concerning Robin’s motives: could it be that he was deliberately trying to throw the tournament and thus avoid having the Big Club on display in the family room for the next 12 months? Some were shocked at the very idea, a couple of past winners wished they’d thought of the same strategy but absolutely no-one thought that such a scheme was that far fetched. Bruce felt Robin should be named the winner there and then, no questions asked, but an unusual spirit of generosity prevailed and it was decided that Robin should be given the average score of the rest of the field for round 2. A net 75 was the result – thus retaining the overall lead – and the rest, despite a pretty blatant attempt by Robinski to get himself DQ’d in round 3 by playing the wrong ball on the 13th fairway, is history.

On the right – Adrian (2nd place in the tournament and big winner in the skins game); on the left – Bud (Not even close. In either).

Bagger Dave (who placed 3rd) and Li’l Stevie Ellis (also 3rd. Unfortunately, 3rd from last).

4th place finisher Wayne Mabee alongside Al Pasanen. Wayne shot a net 60 off the red tees. Sandbagging? It’s what the RWB is all about. Al shot over 100 (gross) in each of the first two rounds. That’s also what the RWB is all about.

Rod Cobham, who finished 5th, deep in conversation with Mike Worley. Or should that be ‘shallow in conversation’? Mike finished outside the top ten yet again. Smart man, that Mike. Never any chance of the Big Club ending up on HIS mantel.

On the right, 2010 winner Sir Stanley Mills. On the left, many time loser Dave Buckley-Jones. (Ouch). Also featured, in an unsuccessful attempt to at least win the hide and go seek competition, Bruce Coulter.

Bill O’Neill and Vic Crisp. Neither were really in the running for the trophy (which was exactly as they planned it), but they did win dinner off Bud and Bruce in a 3rd round side bet.

Liz Stirrett and Dave Wacowich, who played all three rounds together and were STILL on speaking terms at the end of the weekend. Probably a tournament record.

It is fitting that the final word should go to Liz. After all, some misgivings were expressed about having a woman play in the Red, White and Blue (yes, Bud – don’t even attempt to deny it), but in the year that women were finally accepted as members of Augusta National it seemed only right and proper for the RWB to do the same. Liz may not be a multi millionairess like the two ladies down in Georgia, but she certainly enriched the competition. She declared Bill O’Neill ‘a perfect gentleman’ (Billy’s still blushing) and also enriched my vocabulary: in round 2, her hubby Dave, Rod and myself were all lying two on the 7th green, with shortish putts for par, when Liz blasted her first putt some way past the hole. She muttered something I didn’t quite catch, but which sounded like ‘fizzum’. After she’d putted out, I asked her what she’d said, thinking it was some Canadianism that I hadn’t learnt yet. ‘Oh. Don’t you know that one, Dave? It’s actually FISM – and it stands for “Fuck. It’s Still Me”.

Welcome to the Red, White and Blue, Liz, and thanks for the language lesson!

All da best.

Dave B.





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.