Before Trevor Immelman donned the Master's Green Jacket, before Tiger limped to victory at the U.S. Open and Padrick Harrington went back to back with victories at the British Open and the PGA Championship, the winners of the year's first Major had already raised their victory trophy. On February 24, 2008, not only did Cleves Delp and Royce Imhoff capture this year's "Major", they assured themselves invitations to one of the most exclusive dinners in the world of golf, the Friendship Cup Champions' dinner.
There they joined Geoff Russell and Tom Nolan, the winners of the first Friendship Cup.
Also winning invitations to the Champions' Dinner were Fred Warren and Jack Purcell of Links Magazine, winners of the "Pub Cup," the special tournament within a tournament pitting teams for the nation's top golf publications to play for the honor of their magazine.
These champions enjoyed a cocktail party and a sumptuous spread of beef, tuna, filet and lamb, with select wine pairings for each course by Ben Arnold Beverage Co., in the Sanctuary's Presidential Suite on the Thursday night prior to the beginning of this year's event. Custom-made chocolates featuring images of the winning teams were among the Champions' Dinner gifts along with a Jack Nicklaus prize package including logoed shirts, wedges, Nicklaus calendar and copies of the "Golf My Way" DVD.
While Thursday night was to honor the past champions, Friday night was to welcome the 2009 participants with a reception sponsored by Woodford Reserve and Brown Forman. The evening started with passed champaigne and Woodford Reserve bourbon tasting reception in the Grand Oaks Foyer. Following that, the participants retired to the Grand Oaks ballroom for dinner seating. The festivities began with a specially produced mockumentrary on the "long and storied" history of the Friendship Cup featuring Tournament Chairman, Tom Bewley. This was followed with the awarding of the Champion's Blazers. To the sound of traditional bagpipes, the official ceremony honored the team champions as well as low gross and low net winners as well as the Pub Cup Champions.
After the three-course dinner, participants ventured to the ocean-front hospitality room, also sponsored by Woodford Reserve and Brown Forman, for cocktails, cigars (outdoors, oceanfront, of course) a putting contest and a closet-to-the-pin contest on a virtual 17th hole on The Ocean Course, courtesy of a golf course simulator from interactive Sports Technology.
On Saturday morning, due to an afternoon storm forecast, the format was changed to a shotgun start on the Ocean Course. No worries with on-course beer provided by Yuengling and Bloody Marys and Blueberry Van Gogh cocktails were provided all day on the clubhouse patio, the day's golf went off without a flaw.
Following the round, participants ventured into the Ryder Cup Bar for more libations until it was time to return to The Sanctuary for a grazing dinner reception in the Ocean Room with live entertainment and wine provided by Southern Wine and Spirits.
Southern Wine and Spirits also provided beer, wine and cocktails in the hospitality suite that night which, once again featured both a putting contest and closest to the pin contests. Additionally, raffles were held for outstanding golf swag including Bobby Jones golf wear and accessories, gift cards from Dick's Sporting Goods, golf bags, equipment and bottles of wine and liquor as well as golf rounds.
The weather that threatened Saturday afternoon showed up in full force on Sunday. While the rain held off, it became quite winding - to the point that some contestants had to hit 3-woods and drivers into some of the par-3s. Some of the less-hardy participants opted to forgo the joys of heavy-weather golf but many stuck it out. Congratulations to the following winner:
|1st Place Team||Andy Pirkle & Kevin Brown||129|
|Low Net Winner||Andy Pirkle||143|
|Low Gross Winner||Steve Agazzi||154|
(Top 10 teams were awarded vacation packages to some of America's greatest resorts)
|1st||Andy Pirkle & Kevin Brown||129 (New Tournament Record!)|
|2nd||Hal Jones & James Glasgow||130|
|3rd||Will Hicks & Jay Cooper||134|
|4th||Gary Odchowski & Neil Fisher||136|
|5th||James Krass & Matt Krass||136 (Tiebreaker was second-round total)|
|6th||Kevin Patton & Scott Leiti||139|
|7th||Andy Jones & Doug Eccles||141|
|8th||Mark Megan & Marty Couch||143|
|9th||Clyde Hiers & Dave Poulnot||143 (Tiebreaker was second-round total)|
|10th||Tim Eachus & John Emge||144|
|The Ocean Course||Turtle Point|
|Closest to the Pin|
|(Winning framed print of hole signed by Pete Dye)||(Winning Footjoy golf shoes)|
|Will Hicks||Jim McGlashan|
|Bill Darby||Scott Leiti|
|Tom Pashley||Marc Megan|
|Henry Robinson||Clyde Hiers|
|David Poulnot||Bob Prewitt|
|Andy Jones||Steve Agazzi|
|Andy Groves||David Bechler|
|Net Skins Results|
|Blair LeBurn #2 (3)Leon Legget #4 (2)Dave Poulnot #7 (3)Tim Nolan #15 (3)Tom Isaacson #14 (2) #17 (1)|
After word of the victory of Golf Worlds editor in chief and publisher in 2007 spread, writer, editors and publishers of other publications signed up to vie for the Friendship Cup. Teams were formed from GOLF Magazine, Golf Digest, PGA Magazine, Golfweek and Links Magazine, as well as the returning 2007 champions. In 2008, tournament officials opted to create a tournament within a tournament the Pub Cup, where the various teams played for the honor of their publication. The Golfweek Team of Henry Robinson (East Coast Sales Manager/Special Projects Director) and Jason Lust (Director of Design), were able to beat out the rest of the teams and took home the 2009 prize the coveted Pub Cup as well as framed photographs of The Ocean Course.
A special thanks goes to these organizations that donated prizes and products to the third annual Friendship Cup and to Bobby Jones our presenting sponsor.