They descended from 21 states and 4 countries the first weekend of March. Seventy-one new and 75 returning contenders arrived with hopes of winning the coveted Friendship Cup trophy and navy Ralph Lauren blazer.
Often referred to (by the planners at least) as “Golf’s Fifth Major,” this 6th Annual Friendship Cup brought the largest field ever and proved to be very interesting.
The Friendship Cup is a two-man tournament for male amateur players and was contested on the world famous Ocean Course, site of the 2012 PGA Championship, and the Tom Fazio-designed Osprey Point Golf Course.
The weekend kicked off Thursday night with a Lowcountry oyster roast and BBQ at Mingo Point overlooking the Kiawah River. Attendees socialized and made challenges over cold drinks, freshly roasted oysters, a crackling bonfire, cigars rolled by Coastal Cigars, lively music courtesy of the Travis Allison band, and a bountiful Lowcountry buffet complete with BBQ, steak, red beans-n-rice, collard greens and banana pudding. After a few welcomes, guests were dismissed to return to The Sanctuary for the nightly hospitality suite!
The camaraderie and competition continued in the Bauer International hospitality suite with a putting contest, cornhole tournament, darts, foosball, Golden Tee and everyone’s favorite – the golf simulator from Full Swing Golf. Fierce competitions spread over 3 nights with a wide array of prizes from golf clubs to hotel stays.
On Friday, the tournament began with a brand new feature to the Friendship Cup – live electronic scoring from VPAR. Each foursome took an electronic handheld device and entered their scores after each hole. This allowed for minute-by-minute leaderboard updates and definitely added to the excitement and competitive nature of the tournament.
Due to the large field, 2012 was the first year to split the teams. Half of the teams played The Ocean Course on Friday and half played Osprey Point and then on Saturday, they switched. That is where it became VERY interesting, but before the infamous Saturday round that will go down in history occurred, we gathered to honor our past champions.
Maui Jim sponsored our “Aloha” reception where all attendees were surprised with a new custom pair of Maui Jim Sunglasses from their feather-light Sport Collection. Then attendees were treated to a “craft” beer tasting dinner sponsored by Pearlstine Distributors where chefs and beer purveyors perfectly paired the food & drink at tasting stations around the Grand Oaks Ballroom.
Past attendees were honored with commemorative plates with The Ocean Course Clubhouse pictured and dined above the crowd on risers at the head tables.
A traditional bagpipe processional led in the 2011 Champion’s Ralph Lauren Blazers and the presentation to the “Red Sox Warriors” Claude Hoopes and Duncan Gratton, as well as the 2011 Low Gross (Hugh Morrison), Low Net (Tim Moore) and Pub Cup Winner (Rick Hall), produced smiles and applause.
On to Saturday where the weather was ominous… The Friendship Cup committee and golf professionals decided Friday night to go ahead and make Saturday a shotgun start. Off they went on their respective courses for the 2nd round. Many were hoping to make up for a less than stellar day 1 round and others were hoping to maintain the lead.
The lightening finally forced officials to call the round with a few holes to go. With the shotgun format, the only fair way to call the tournament was to use the complete scores from day one. With two courses played on Day One, this created an unprecedented situation – there would be not one but two Friendship Cup Champions!
After a busy afternoon for tournament officials, everyone gathered back in the Grand Oaks Ballroom for a celebration dinner and the awards presentations. Football Hall-of-Famer Ed “Too Tall” Jones participated in the weekend as a guest of the Gary Player Group and graciously agreed to speak at the awards dinner as an added bonus for all!
Instead of having the usual top 10 overall tournament winners, the top five teams were awarded from each course. They were called in alternating course order and had 60 seconds to choose a vacation package from the prize board.
Ocean Course Winners
1st Sports Illustrated 67 Tom Perlozzo Christian Kuhn (also Pub Cup Winners)
2nd Cunning Linkers 69 Hugh Morrison Richard Grindon
3rd I’d Make The Put 69 Bill Thomas Clay Setzer
4th Warsaw Dubliners 70 James Gallagher Paul Wiorowski
5th Team Boyle 71 Michael Boyd Rich Coyle
1st Bill Thomas 72
2nd Hugh Morrison 73
3rd Evan Weinberg 75
4th Tom Perlozzo 75
5th Dick Raskopf 75
1st Hugh Morrison 73
2nd Bill Thomas 76
3rd Gary Gottschalk 79
4th Evan Weinberg 81
5th David Sinclair 81
Osprey Course Winners
1st Red Beans and Rice 62 Jonathan Lee Shannon Spillman
2nd Dew Sweepers 64 Clyde Hiers Patrick McGovern
3rd Team Putz 64 Andy Pirkle Kevin Brown
4th Team Jones 64 Ed “Too Tall” Jones Brant Whetstone
5th Hamma Time 65 John Moxley Robert Andrews
1st Kevin Brown 68
2nd Ed Too Tall Jones 69
3rd Clyde Heirs 70
4th Matt Mixon 70
5th Jonathan Lee 70
1st Matt Mixon 72
2nd Kevin Brown 73
3rd Robert Andrews 73
4th Mike Ramsden 74
5th Clyde Heirs 77
Pub Cup Winners for Osprey were Jack Purcell and David Wynn of the LINKS Magazine Team.
The additional proxy prizes and skins money for day two were raffled off to be fair and a final party in the hospitality suite ended another memorable Friendship Cup.
The dates are set for 2013 – February 28 – March 3. Registration will open in June 2012.
The Friendship Cup Package includes:
- Accommodations for three nights
- Daily Breakfast (Friday and Saturday)
- Thursday Night – Mingo Point Oyster Roast & BBQ (includes alcohol)
- Friday Night Dinner for all attendees honoring our Past Champions (includes alcohol)
- Saturday Night – Awards Dinner and Reception (includes alcohol)
- Hospitality room for three nights
- Two golf rounds (One on the Ocean Course)
- Two boxed lunches while golfing and alcohol on course
- Tournament gift bag