The final match of the 2013 Inferno Cup series promised to be an intense and exciting event. It did not disappoint. The suspense level was elevated given the fact that seven players vied for six money positions and the money was non-trivial. Each of the seven was paired with a player that had been eliminated from the hunt and the twosomes selected their best net ball on all holes except the par threes where both balls counted. There was only one strategy to claim the money – play your best golf and hope your partner’s wheels didn’t wobble. To add even more intrigue to the format, one of the seven, Mike Nichols, would require a blind draw for a partner. If he was to claim a victory, he’d have to play great golf and then turn in his best effort in drawing a small piece of paper from a hat.
Nichols was the first in the clubhouse and turned in a great score of a gross 73. As the other teams arrived, the suspense grew higher and higher. When the second team walked into the Member’s Grill, Jim Stamatis revealed a most respectable net 67. Jim Gabriel matched him with a net 67 of his own. As it happened, Stamatis’ playing partner beat Gabriel’s playing partner and Stamatis now sat in first place with Nichols still waiting for a blind draw.
As teams trickled in, Stamatis hung on to the top spot by the narrowest of margins. Commissioner Kildare’s team reported – honorable but not good enough. Dave Inman turned in his card – respectable, but not respectable enough. Stamatis held on.
With a growing and animated crowd, the anticipation filled the room like pollen in a spring breeze. Kildare brought the hat over to Nichols. He reached into the Panama and pulled out a folded piece of paper. As the final team with Jim Woods on board climbed the stairs leading to the Member’s Grill, Nichols unfolded the paper and found his blind draw was to be Jim Gabriel. A button was pressed on the computer and the new standings were generated. Someone grabbed the computer and turned the screen to see the standings while someone else pulled the computer in the opposite direction. Fortunately the computer didn’t break from the hands pulling in multiple directions, but only because Bruce Partridge’s wine glass flew through the air and covered the computer with cheap chardonnay. Everyone ducked for cover, especially those who didn’t like cheap chardonnay.
After running a towel over the machine, it was good to see it was still functioning. It was good, that is, for everyone but Jim Stamatis. Nichol’s draw of Gabriel shot him into first place on the day, two strokes in front of Stamatis’ team. A celebration was beginning to unfold, but one card remained. Woodsy’s scorecard was handed to the official scorekeeper who had so many people huddled around him, he entered the scores in an oxygen starved environment.
The last score was input. A button press revealed the final standings for the day. Jim Woods had fired a 250-to-1 odds score of net 63. Woods and Ken Vlah combined for a 68 and beat the second place team of Mike Nichols and his blind draw by a full seven strokes. The celebration began in earnest (well actually in the Member’s Grill) and it was Woodsy that partied hardy. He had moved into a tie for first place in the Inferno Cup standings along with Jim Stamatis and Dennis Kildare. It was a dramatic end to an exciting, fun and spectacular race for the Cup. After 618 rounds of golf, 11,124 holes, 753 lost balls, 16,822 rules violations, 2,388 hours of golf, 3,184 cart miles driven, 9 eagles, 608 birdies and 492 triple-bogeys (or worse), the Cup came down to one match, seven players and one blind draw. What more can be said other than “Wow”?
Congratulations to all 34 participants for making it a spectacular and most memorable event. And the biggest thanks go to Commissioner Dennis Kildare for sharing his creation with all of us. See you at the awards presentation after the big skins match October 2nd in the Member’s Grill.