Birch Ridge prepares for Walker Cup
The opening of this column is usually reserved for random banter, but with so many upcoming events there just isn't enough time to deviate from the script. Consequently, in an effort to save both time and space, I won't mention that a night filled with adult beverage consumption, followed by a fishing trip the next morning, is a unique way to lose weight. Painful, that's how I would describe my weekend. Life finally returned to normal on Monday when Bill Engberg and I took some lovingly tolerable ladies to Eagleglen Golf Course in Anchorage for the Pro-Lady Tournament. Neither Bill's team nor my own won the event, but we led the field in fun. I keep telling myself that anyway.
Walker Cup Week
The Walker Cup is taking place at Birch Ridge Golf Course on Thursday, Friday and Sunday. The event, a series of matches between Kenai Golf Course and our own, has turned into a real pressure cooker for both sides as each golf course attempts to claim supremacy over the other. Which is a lot like a couple of Nigerians arguing over who's the better skier. This will be my first year playing the role of spectator during the matches, so if you're interested in watching some intense and always amusing golf, come on out and join the fun.
As the name suggests, the bassackwards is a truly bizarre tournament. We set the golf course up backwards. That's right, you'll play from nine green to eight green, eight green to seven green, and so on, all the way around the golf course. It's absurd and hilarious all at the same time. The tournament is Saturday and the entry fee is just $50 for Birch Ridge Golf Association members and $60 for non-members. Teams consist of A, B, C and D players, and golfers can form their own team or the BRGA will pair individual entries together.
Thirteen extensively experienced golfers teed it up last week for Senior League play. Don "Legend" McGhee lived up to his moniker with a sparkling net 31 for low total, closest to the pin on eight, and the long putt on nine. Only the insatiable Sid Cox prevented Don from a grand slam by capturing closest to at the sixth. If my beloved Seattle Mariners could hit a baseball as well as "Legend" hits the golf ball, we'd have something to be excited about this summer.
Tuesday Morning Ladies League
The sun was finally shining on our ladies for league play, but the brightest stars in the sky were Leona "Eye of the Tiger" Jackson and Carol "Sunshine Scooter" Hussey, who captured low gross and low net, respectively. Shirley Johnsrud got a piece of the pie with closest to at the eighth. The ladies were at it again awarding a "mystery team" prize. The winning team was Tonya Boedecker, Sandi Poe and Sally Hoagland. The real mystery is why they're awarding a mystery team. Why not the winning team? Why girls? Why?
Tuesday Couples Night
It was a beautiful night when our madly in love duffers teed it up for another night of promiscuous golfing action. This week, couples played alternate shot with the men teeing off the odd holes and the women doing the same on the even holes. Couples were also instructed to keep track of their putting totals, which no doubt required extremely advanced calculators. Dave and Sharing Keating won the event with a net 30, edging out adversaries Darrell and Susan Jelsma by a stroke. Vic and Carol Hussey rolled a paltry twelve putts for the lowest total of the night. Myrna "Mrs. Boss" Cowan provided some delicious nachos for everyone to enjoy after play had completed.
Birch Ridge Golf Committees Officially Unofficial Golf Rankings
The British Open provided plenty of entertainment over the weekend. Two Americans failed in their bid to end European major championship dominance as Darren Clarke, yet another Northern Irishmen, won his first major. Phil the Thrill teased his fans again by surging into contention before faltering down the stretch, and Dustin Johnson hit an iron out of bounds on the back nine to add to his collection of confounding second-place finishes. The results led to quite a shake up in the Celebrity Panel's rankings.
1. Rory McIlroy; 2. Luke Donald; 3. Lee Westwood; 4. Jason Day; 5. Steve Stricker; 6. Charl Schwartzel; 7. Dustin Johnson; 8. Phil Mickelson; 9. Graeme McDowell; 10. Darren Clarke.
Answer from last week: Harry Vardon has won the most British Open Championships with six victories. His first was in 1896 and his last triumph was in 1914. Vardon is truly one of the all-time greats by any standard. The overlap grip, used by many players today, was originally coined the "Vardon grip," after its inventor. Vardon was so dominant in his day that he won an absurd 14 consecutive tournaments at one point.
Q. Everyone knows Jack Nicklaus owns the record for the most major championship victories, but do you know how many second- and third-place finishes the "Golden Bear" has in majors?