Thanks, Thor!

I also made it home safely with a huge assist to the fine folks at the Starbucks on Stringtown, which is on the opposite side of the road than my Garmin thinks it is. There was one minor slow down due to a disabled tractor trailer in the passing lane of I-70 east but it cost us less than 10 minutes, way better then previous return trips.

I had very low expectations golf-wise, and met them. My net score in the tournament was higher than I hoped my gross would be, and that with a course handicap of 18. True, I've basically taken this year off from golf with the exceptions of rsg events in Pitt/Hershey/Cincy and Columbus but holy cow, that was brutal golf that I played this weekend. I eventually got to a point where I was hitting decent tee shots, but I hit at least 60 to 80% of my irons on the toe, and while I didn't get the 'ol toe hook, I usually lost 10 to 20 yards off the shot, and at the Players Club, that equaled either a water ball or an extra stroke on the hole.

Dad and I got to Columbus in good time, checked in and were at Roosters by 8:30. Place was packed, not even a seat at the bar. Bill King walked in a couple minutes behind us and we found some stools by the wall. I ordered a beer, Pat Inglis found us about 10 minutes later, then the pager went off and they had us a six place table by the window. It was serendipity after that. We saw Chuck Bernard and Paul Osad walk in, by the time I walked over to get them they had already found seats at the bar and ordered a beer. They came over to join us, the table next to us left as Gary Hayenga arrived and the entire crowd was there within an hour. First Joe Dean made it in and it was so great to see Joe again, rsg-ohio isn't rsg-ohio without Joe Dean. The Dave Tutelman/Fred Stluka/Coops gang arrived WAY earlier than usual, followed by Rockpyle, Kern and Paul Schulte. The gang was there! The two new Pauls are great additions to the group. We consumed mass quantities of wings and actually got out of the restaurant at a decent hour. Rock came over to my room and we played beer roulette, I had brought along a variety pack of beers, they were covered in ice so we just drank whatever two beers I pulled out. We had three each, then retired.

Got to Split Rock in plenty of time Friday morning, there were patches of fog on the way there but not at the course. Conditions weren't great, lots of hard pan to hit off of, think I shot a 112. Played with Rock and Chuck, scores were irrelevant, at least to me. First time I tried playing 18 with my Droid X and discovered that it would only last 16 holes if I didn't wait to enable GPS until I was on the 1st tee. The pace was good, greens were fine once you got to them, a nice warm up round. I had a very tasty roast beef sammich and some very fine home brew while I waited for dad to finish. Rock had some of his oaked and non oaked IPAs, very yummy. Chuck broke out a very hoppy IPA that he picked up at Fathead, a micro in the Cleveland area. Then we were off to Foxfire.

Decided to ride for the afternoon round to save my legs for the tournament. Played with Rock again, along with Gary Hayenga and Dave Tutelman. Actually had a decent front with a 46 including back to back pars on 4 and 5! Rock and I had a little match going on and I actually found myself up 5 at the turn. We halved 10, then Rock won 11/12/13 and I was up by 2. Won one, halved one to go dormie three, then lost 16 as Rock bogied while I eked out a 10. Halved 17 though for the 2/1 victory! Thanks Rock! I won a free babysit the drunk guy on Saturday card. Shot 100. May have been my best round, I'm not sure what I shot at Phoenix on Sunday. Couple more parking lot home brews, jump start Rock's minivan, then off to the Red Robin for some snacks. Got back to the hotel at a decent hour, got a shower, then dozed off while watching the replay on the golf channel. Sorry Rock, that I couldn't come out and play. Made up for lost time Saturday night though, didn't I?

Saturday morning dad and I hit up Bob Evans for breakfast, then to the course in time to sting the fingers of my right hand with some more toe hit irons at the driving range. Enough of that, rolled some putts, then it was time for the granddaddy of them all, RSG-OHIO! I didn't have my A game. Played with Thor and Fred Stluka. Didn't expect to win, but didn't expect to start double-bogey-double-double-bogey-sextuple-par(!)-double-bogey either. Number one was a decent tee shot, mediocre approach, thinned chip across the green from a bare lie, chip, 2 putt. Number 2 was a good 5 iron (I DID hit the green, it just didn't stay on!). Short chip to 3 feet, then the bad luck. I mean I don't want to whine, but Thor and Fred will confirm the size of the spike mark in my line. Someone ahead of us was dragging their feet all across the greens. We tapped down the ones around the holes so the folks behind us wouldn't have to deal with them. I wanted that par on #2 though. Probably wouldn't have made a difference though.

After that it was more of the same. Tried to play conservative but my ball striking was just too bad. Thor played well but snapped hooked his tee shot and first provisional into the woods on #4 and made 10. I made a 10 on #6, Fred on 11. Just for good measure I had another one on 14. Number 6 is the short par 4 around the water. I've never been in that water before. I barely put a 5i into it off the tee, then a toe hit 9i. Hit an 8i into the left greenside bunker, then double hit the ball coming out. Chip, two putts, 10, thankyouverymuch.

On the 7th tee Thor and I realized we weren't playing our traditional tournament round match. We decided to start. He said do you want to just start here. I said no, let's just check the scorecard and see where we stand. He said he would be up 4. I said let's just start here. Seven is a 160 yard par 3 over water. Thor hit the greenside bunker. I topped my tee shot but kept it short of the water, then barely cleared the water with another toe hit iron. My ball just trickled onto the front of the green. Thor blasted out to about 3 feet but I made my uphill 30 footer for par. The ball hit the back of the hole, jumped up in the air, spun around twice while waving at us, then dropped into the hole. He made the putt for the half. He still won 5 and 4 though. I tried to get through 14/15 playing conservative. Nothing but 7 irons on 14. Made 10. Grrrr.

After the round I got to run the Texcel app, that was cool. Congrats to Paul A. and Pat I, net and gross champions. Paul seemed stunned. The jacket fit him well though.

MPM. Neal Bell and I have played against each other since our Scotland trip in '04. He usually just proceeds to kick my ass, but he hasn't played much this year either and we actually had a competitive match. He called it Scotch Play Madness as we do enjoy our scotch (and cigar for me, not for Neal this year as he had to run 20 miles the next day). I won the first, conceded the 2nd after finding the pond but not my ball, lost the 3rd and 4th (lost ball), won the 5th with a par, lost the 6th with another toe hit PW that didn't clear after taking the water out of play with driver on the tee shot. We both hit into water on 7, went into 8 two down. We both hit good tee shots, cart golf really, then both laid up with our seconds. Neal found a bunker with his 3rd while mine was another toe hit iron about 20 yards short of the green. Chipped up, Neal hit a thin bunker shot into someone's cart. We were in the last group so there was a bit of a gallery. Neal played a nice left handed putter out of the cart, then onto the green. Didn't matter though, I put my downhill left to righter into the heart of the cup. Also managed to win #9 with a bogey, I believe it was a World-Ohio tie. Bit of a deluge as we left the parking lot, but it had blown through as we reached Longhorn. Great food and service there, then there may have been a bit of imbibing afterwards, along with some chatting with Mexicans in the next room as I showed off my Spanish and Rock and I chugged their hot sauce of the bottle. Rock, Paul and I somehow wound up at the Peddlers and any rumors that I flirted with a cute softball player are sadly true.

Woke up Sunday with somewhat of a scotch/beer/hot sauce fueled hangover, took very long shower, then off to one of my favorite golf courses...Stinky Links!...aka...Phoenix. Was going to walk, decided to ride, played with Chuck and Warren. I was in the pro shop paying for my cart upgrade when a guy walked in to see if he could go out as a single. Pro shop guy said 3 hours, I said come play with us, we're a 3-some. So he did. I played a little better, actually ran off a string of 4 pars at one point. Cart girl promised me a bloody mary on the 4th hole, when we finally saw her again on the 9th she said they ran out of mix. Oh well.

And then it was over. Again. Thanks very much Thor, you always do such a great job. We missed you Tex, hope you feel better. Missed you Sneds, and Plat, and Stemma, and DPH, Joe Conte, Super Dave and all the west coast people. Please come back next year.