From all across America they came. They came from 19 states as far away as Hawaii. One player even came from across the pond in the U.K. They came to vie for the coveted trophy, the fifth year of the famed 5th Major, The Kiawah Island Friendship Cup.
Thursday night’s opened with a different twist -- dropping the formality of years past, contenders and their guests enjoyed a casual yet memorable welcome dinner at Mingo Point. This special venue, overlooking the Kiawah River, featured a beautiful sunset as a bagpiper call all to freshly roasted oysters, barbeque, a cigar roller, roaring bonfire and bluegrass music. The previous years’ champions were presented with their “Friendship Cup” jackets and Kiawah Island Golf Resort President, Roger Warren, extended a warm welcome.
Following dinner, participants proceeded to the hospitality room in The Sanctuary where the party progressed with music provided by DJ John Quincy. Full Swing Golf’s simulator was a crowd pleaser – especially with their newly offered Ocean Course program allowing contests that paralleled with the actual golf course they would tackle on Saturday. Raffle prizes, a putting contest, caricature artist, foosball, and darts added to the party atmosphere but the favorite addition by far for 2011 was the “Cornhole” bean bag toss tournament.
Friday morning, tee times began at 9:00 at Turtle Point. Footjoy sponsored closest to the pin prizes, Lee Distributors provided Miller and Yuengling product and Stoli kept players happy at the turn with a Bloody Mary bar. Before teeing off, memento photos were taken that were later presented in commemorative frames at the award’s dinner as a parting gift.
Friday night was the “Past Champions Dinner” in the private Ashley Cooper Suite in The Sanctuary. Winners of the first four Friendship Cups as well as the Pub Cup (tournament within a tournament for members of the media who participate in the event) enjoyed a three-course dinner with wine pairings provided by Ben Arnold Beverage Company and entertainment by flamenco and Latin guitarist Dori Chitayat. As in years past, the winners of the last years’ event stayed in one of the top suites at The Sanctuary for the duration of this year’s tournament. The rest of the participants enjoyed another night in the hospitality room with Stoli and Ben Arnold Beverage providing cocktails. More raffle prizes were awarded as the “Cornhole” tournament came to a dramatic finish with Kevin Brown and Andy Pirkle (2009 tournament winners) capturing the now coveted title.
Saturday participants took on The Ocean Course. Once again, Lee Distributors and Ben Arnold (Stoli) made sure participants didn’t go thirsty. Following the round, stories were swapped and cocktails enjoyed in The Ocean Course’s Ryder Cup Bar. That evening the awards reception and dinner honored champions Gratton and Hoopes but not before tournament chairman, Tom Bewley, chaired some archived footage of an international attempt to wrest the Friendship Cup to foreign shores!
Entertainment included music by jazz guitarist Nikolai Svishev and honary guest and speaker Lance Barrow of CBS Sports – producer of the upcoming 2012 PGA Championship. Prizes, including trips to some of America’s finest resorts were presented. Then, participants retired to one last night in the hospitality room to relish in their new friendships.
|1st||Claude Hoopes & Duncan Gratton - Red Sox Warriers||138|
|2nd||2010 Defending Champions Randy Jones & Tom Crosby||139|
|3rd||Richard Grindon & Hugh Morrison - The Ruff Divers||140|
|4th||Andy Pirkle & Kevin Brown - Team Putz||140|
|5th||Tim Moore & Andy Shelton - Team Tim Dandy||141|
|6th||Paul Burke & Gary Rosenberg - Ball Busters||142|
|7th||Tom Bewley & Gary Odachowski - B.S.C.||143|
|8th||Marty Couch & Alan Skipper - Two Amigos||143|
|9th||Clay Setzer & Bill Thomas - ITT||144|
|10th||Jerry Czarnecki & Jerry Faulk - Men-In-Blue||144|
|LOW NET||Tim Moore - Received 5 nights at Turtle Bay Resort in Kahuka, Hawaii||149|
|LOW GROSS||Hugh Morrison - Wins a fitted driver courtesy of Titleist||152|
Each won a pair of Contour golf shoes courtesy of Footjoy
Each wins a Pete Dye autographed, framed print of that hole.