The Cup is Finally Empty

Congratulations to Scott Howard. He finished strong and took home the 1st place prize in the “Half-Cup” competition May 15th. Scott edged out 2nd place finisher, Bob Sznewajs (pronounced just like it’s spelled). Joe Busch held on by a thread to capture 3rd place. Del Spence and Kristi Williams rounded out the top five.

Since the inception of our Corona Cup formatted tournaments, I have told everyone the algorithms used to determine point allocations in each match were designed to make the event very competitive. After nearly 3,400 holes of golf, the results weren’t locked in until the final group walked off the #18th green. Everyone was in the thick of it until they weren’t. A single putt in the middle of any one of the rounds could make a big difference in the standings, even if the round in which the putt was made or missed, was extremely mediocre. Consider this real story about the Half-Cup’s final round.

When the lights went out Friday evening, here were the top six finishers and their point totals in the Half-Cup.

  1. Scott Howard (895.2)
  2. Bob Sznewajs (803.5)
  3. Joe Busch (662.7)
  4. Kristi Williams (601.9)
  5. Pat Collins (576.7)
  6. Dell Spence (570.6)
Memorial Day 2019 (82 of 99)
The Honorable Joe Busch

As usual, I went to bed fairly early Friday night. Soon thereafter, Joe Busch exhibited the classic honor those true to the spirit of golf carry with them. He realized there may have been a scoring error. He sent me an email saying he was pretty certain the scorekeeper had made an error and awarded him a five rather than six on the fifth hole of the Padre course. Joe also was afraid the reverse had happened on the ninth hole and that he may have been given a six instead of a five. He believed the mistakes cancelled each other and would have no impact upon the results, but he felt compelled to correct the errors.

When I digested Joe’s email Saturday morning, I discovered he was half-right. His score on the ninth hole had been recorded correctly, but the fifth hole score was indeed one lower than his actual score.

Joe had carded an 85 rather than an 84. I promptly made the change and reran the Half-Cup results and was relieved to discover that at first glance, Joe remained in 3rd place, but by a much smaller margin. All was well or so I thought. Here are the revised Half-Cup standings with Joe still clinging to his $150 3rd place money.

  1. Scott Howard (895.2)
  2. Bob Sznewajs (828.7)
  3. Joe Busch (625.8)
  4. Dell Spence (612.5)
  5. Kristi Williams (601.9)
  6. Pat Collins (576.7)

All was well. Whoa! Wait a minute. Joe stayed in third place, but Bob Sznewajs’ second place point total increased by 25 points. Oh my! Kristi Williams was no longer in 4th place; she fell to 5th. Dell Spence climbed from 6th place solidly into 4th place. Pat Collins fell one position and he hadn’t even played on the final day. With more than a thousand dollars in prize money already distributed, I had visions of a lynch-mob now asking for a full explanation of the algorithms buried deep within the program code.

I considered my options – change my name and wear a disguise, sell my membership and move to Mexico, disqualify everyone involved and keep the money, come out of pocket for any prize money deficiencies (No, now I’m talking like a crazy person). Some options had greater appeal than others, but none seemed to make me feel safer. Viewing the Cup as half-full, I had some solace in knowing that if I were to be hung from a tree, at least I’d be in the shade.

Facing down the problems like an impending dental appointment, I dug in to sort in all out. After a half an hour analysis, I discovered the changes in point totals for 2nd and 3rd place didn’t alter the prize amounts. Sznewajs still pocketed $200. Busch still held on to $150. So far, so good, but what about the complete reshuffling of 4th, 5th, and 6th places? Imagine my relief when I looked at the awards spreadsheet and discovered the prize money for 4th was $100, 5th was $100, and 6th was $100. Dodged a bullet there.

My survival chances were improving, but I wasn’t out of the woods (and that’s where the hanging tree is). We’ve long had a rule on the day game that once players walk away from the scoring table, all results were deemed correct even if they were incorrect. On this one, I could declare the “It sure sucks to be you” defense. But as luck would have it, I dodged one final bullet. Joe had finished a slim one stroke out of the money in the day game. He was now two strokes away from the cashier’s window.

One final challenge remained – take a page out of play-books of political leaders everywhere and deflect the blame. One can’t be too careful.

Mike Forde (4 of 5)
The Banker did it with the pencil in the conservatory

Got this one! For years, our chief banker has been Mike Forde. It has been his responsibility to make certain all monies were collected, awards were “properly” determined, and paid in the appropriate amounts to the appropriate parties. Clearly he failed. And all this after I had relied so heavily upon him, trusted him to do what was right in an efficient and equitable manner in keeping with the standards instilled in him while at Cal State Fresno. He failed in his task. He let us down. However, in the spirit of honor and forgiveness so nobly displayed by Mr. Busch, I have decided (with the acquiescence of Pat Collins and Joe Busch) to pardon Mr. Forde, especially in view of the fact he is on the injured reserve list with a severe cut to his finger. When told of the magnanimous actions of myself, Busch, and Collins, he has offered to show us his finger. What a guy!

In the wake of all this, still no one has asked to review the algorithms. Pax Vobiscum.

Author: h. Alton Jones

writer/scientist/adventurer

One thought on “The Cup is Finally Empty”

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