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 with 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.
|1st||Sports Illustrated||67||Tom Perlozzo||Christian Kuhn|
|2nd||Cunning Linkers||69||Hugh Morrison||Richard Grindon|
|3rd||I'd Put That||69||Bill Thomas||Clay Setzer|
|4th||Warsaw Dubliners||70||James Gallagher||Paul Wiorowski|
|5th||Team Boyle||71||Michael Boyd||Rich Coyle|
|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|
|2nd||Ed Too Tall Jones||69|
Pub Cup winners for Ocean were Christian Kuhn and Tom Perlozzo of Sports Illustrated.
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.