If I had to choose one cool moment (at least for me), I was in a playoff for the junior county championship against a rival of mine. We didn’t hate each other, but I wouldn’t call us best of buddies either and we took great joy in beating the other and great misery losing to the other.
My rival was a very charismatic kid. He was one of those people that if a bunch of us were involved with some mischief, all of us would get punished except for him. They would just chalk it to him just being himself and ‘how could you hate him?’
The point being is that the we were the eldest age group and everybody at the course saw the playoff. There was probably about 300 people watching the playoff and 297 of them were blatantly rooting for him. The 3 that weren’t were friends of mine. And that’s probably because I gave them a ride to the course
A little backstory. On this very course we were playing a junior event a few years before this playoff occurred. My rival missed a short putt and instead of putting out…he whacked his ball off the green. I just stood there after he did it and didn’t move.
He asked ‘what are you doing?’
I replied ‘you’re still away.’
This led to a contentious moment. There were no gimmes in this tournament and he did not putt out. Unfortunately, I thought the rules officials would clearly be on my side.
To my surprise, the rules officials hemmed and hawed about it. I then said it wasn’t fair to the other players that putted out. Again, he was a very popular kid and people always made exceptions and excuses for him.
Eventually, the long time club pro heard about this in the pro shop. He was sort of a mentor of mine and he came out of the shop and read the riot act to the rules officials and told them in no uncertain terms that he had to putt out and that resolved that issue.
But even still, there was resentment harbored against me and many of the adults thought I was being a stick in the mud. I really didn’t hate my rival. And I don’t believe he hated me. But, there was always a lot of tension and we were very competitive against each other and when this led to the playoff for a fairly prestigious tournament, we both badly wanted to win.
Again, about 297 people were clearly rooting against me to 3 rooting for me. I hit my drive hard, but pulled it a bit. My rival was a long hitter and he piped one down the middle of the fairway.
I wasn’t just imagining that the crowd was clearly for him. It was kinda funny watching us walk down the hole as the entire crowd followed him down the fairway while my 3 friends followed me to my ball in the left rough.
Only there was one problem…I was under a big pine tree.
The only possible shot I had was to hit one left handed to the middle of the fairway. If I took an unplayable, I would have no shot at the green as there were these big trees in my way. Somehow, I hit a shot about 30 yards, left handed under a pine tree to the middle of the fairway. Honestly, it was strange…but that 30 yard shot was one of the best shots of my life. I don’t know how I pulled it off.
I hadn’t given up hope, though. The course had put in a new 150 yard marker that year on this hole. And I had found in the practice rounds (this was before rangefinders and GPS) that the marker was CLEARLY off by about 12 yards. I had a feeling that he didn’t notice that and I did. And if I can find the green, 2-putt and make bogey….maybe he misses the green short and can’t get up-and-down and we play another hole.
I am still away. I hit a good shot and I’m 25 feet away from the hole with a slick downhill putt. He gets up to hit…and I was right. He didn’t realize that the 150 yard marker was off and he ends up short of the green. But, it wasn’t that difficult of a chip. In fact, it was somewhat makeable.
Again, I walk to one side of the fairway with my 3 friends and the rest of the crowd follows my rival. His ‘fans’ were basically celebrating like this was over and he won and there was just a jovial energy to the crowd in his favor.
He chips up to about 3-feet and now everybody thinks it is over…including myself.
But, I go up and drain the 25-footer.
It was like hitting a walk-off home run at an enemy’s ballpark. I recall a few faint claps from the crowd. And I did see my friends high five each other.
He then gets up and misses the 3-footer. The crowd is just absolutely stunned at the reversal of fortune. They did stay for the trophy presentation though.
Edited by RichieHunt, 28 August 2018 - 02:04 PM.