Interview with the Empire

As we close in on Whitey Cup XXVI, we were fortunate to catch up with Young Razz, last year's winner. We wanted to ask a few questions about how this accomplishment has changed, and shaped his life. After all, he was the one who taught us the amplification effects of a Solo cup and your iPhone--this is in addition to his on-course exploits.

We hope you enjoy this brief, but telling journey between the ears of a young champion.

Since winning the prestigious Whitey Cup, how has your life been different? 

Well, that’s a more difficult question than you think. In many ways, life is the same. The old man still nags me to do chores around the house, even the pointless ones mom insists. I mean, who dusts plant stands? And the girls on campus most definitely don’t respond how I thought they would when I brag about a fake golf tournament where you beat out a bunch of 50-year olds. It’s more of an internal change. I find I’m more confident, and that even if I fail, somebody will ultimately fail worse. Take the stableford round. I was furious I lipped out the 30-foot birdie putt and had to tap in for par. I thought that cost me the Cup. The old me would’ve carried that burden for months, maybe years. But now I have the experience and knowledge that some real life version of Scott driving the ball into the water and making a bigger mistake will help me succeed. It’s liberating, really. The new me loves life. I know that I can walk with my head held high, knowing I can make small mistakes, but somebody else is going to eff up the big picture.

Where would you rank WC title among lifetime achievements? 

It’s up there, for sure. Finishing third in the fifth-grade spelling bee is up there, because we had like five Indian kids in the class, and not the Cherokee kind of Indians if you know what I mean. Getting the high score on Miss Pac-Man at Bernie’s is another moment where I waxed a bunch of 50-year olds. And there was the time I had the 8-point 3-rebound effort in the 14 & under hoops league playoff game. If we’re being honest, not many have accomplished as much in 40 years than I have accomplished in half that time. I mean, how many people my age can send a fax?

You seem to be much more calm on the course than you would expect with two, how shall we say this, volatile parents.  How do you do it?

Many years ago, one of the great lessons I learned from my dad was actually a part of the Whitey Cup. With a chilly forecast, he was asked about his packing strategy which left him with no long pants. His response: “I pack until the bag is full, and then I stop.” That meant a lot to me and I carry that forward. On the golf course I think until my head is full. And then I stop. It’s amazing how calm you can be when your head is full of thoughts. The questions and the confusion shut down all emotion. You forget. Until you remember.

What sort of shape is your game in for this year?

It’s kind of like a rhombus. All four aspects of my game are equal—driving, short game, putting, and cursing—but none are square. They flex to meet each other in a beautiful symmetry. There’s an elasticity to my game, a fiery freak of nature. You forget I have seen many storms in my life. Most storms have caught me by surprise, so I had to learn very quickly to look further and understand that I am not capable of controlling the weather, to exercise the art of patience and to respect the fury of nature. Keep in mind a square is a rhombus, but a rhombus isn’t a square. I am not a square. I am a rhombus. Coo-coo-kee-choo.

What are chances you don’t repeat this year?

Close your eyes. Put a number to what you see. Those are the chances I don’t repeat.

What is your goal for this year’s trip? 

I have nothing to prove on the golf course. We all know I’m going handle Roger like my dad handles Wildwood ribs or how Boxcar handles a housewife with a high credit limit and low self esteem. I want to complete a Trey Slam and simultaneously own the bowling title, Beer Frisbee title, and cornhole title at the same time my name is etched on the Cup. Maybe I’ll feel benevolent at that point and let someone else have a big Saturday. Beyond that, I want my dad to have a fabulous rookie year so he can see how special this trip is. Maybe he will return. I want a hamburger...no, a cheeseburger. I want a hot dog. I want a milkshake...


A Matter of Knowing What To Do

Three weeks from today, we celebrate those in the armed forces who died while serving our country. You may pay respects by having a party, arguing whether or not a hot dog is a sandwich. (It’s meat between two pieces of bread, after all.) Some of you may choose to work in a last tune-up round of golf in preparation for this year’s Cup.

Luckily, you don’t have to wait that long to get tuned up. Start now so that you don't end up on some motivational "failing to prepare is preparing to fail" poster or some such nonsense.

As a new feature in May, longtime Cuppers will offer up their tips and advice—the things not written up in Golf Digest—to help you survive and thrive, and perhaps even become a betting favorite at this year’s Whitey Cup. (Who are we kidding—you’re not the betting favorite unless your name rhymes with Play Machete.)

The first tip comes from Lindy, who has played in 24 of 25 Cups—his only miss coming as a result of a torn Achilles tendon during an especially athletic move in a basketball game. I am not making this up: Lindy was receiving an inbounds pass and crumpled to the floor. But I digress.

As you know, we don’t always play in favorable conditions. Rain, wind, and Roger’s body odor can impact a round. Sometimes the weather can be unpredictable. It’s not like we can, you know, access the latest radar and pinpoint the zip code on our phones. Wouldn’t that be cool? Lindy

So in those times where you are caught unprepared for changing weather, it helps to improvise. For Lindy, this means taking the golf club cover normally used to keep your clubs dry and using it as a rain hat to whisk away water so you can laser-focus on a shot.

But you can’t just stick it on your head. The best way to use this trick is to unzip it to allow your face to peek through the open area. The bottom of the zipper stays snug to your chin and the top matches the curve of your dome to form a bond that even the staunchest rain cannot penetrate.

Have a non-standard tip for the group? Let the executive committee know and your knowledge may be published!


You Have To Sacrifice

It didn't take long. One day. Narstu has declared he's ready to compete for the title. We're moving him into the "hungry veteran" category. He's ready.

After reading the March 1978 edition of Golf Digest and consulting his personal swing guru, Narstu decided his problems have nothing to do with lack of talent. Rather, it's about balance. In an attempt to gain the perfect balance for a golf swing, Narstu sacrificed his appendix this spring. He decided that by having his appendix removed, an extra 14 kilohertz of kinetic energy is forced through his endocrine system on the left side, thus creating the ideal ballstriking form.

"It's Darwinian," said Narstu from his hospital bed. "A monkey plays only with the monkeys, a donkey only enjoys the bray of the donkeys; these and other examples prove that the nature helps round the clock to bring & bond together automatically every living creature of the common internal features and there is absolutely no glitch possible in its working & the people can’t be an exception." 1643025

When reached for comment, Roger muttered something about an 8-10 split and Roost now being out of balance. "He's dead to me," said Roger.

But it doesn't stop there. Narstu plans to use his newly-airborne appendix. He's open to ideas. Take the poll on the right side of the page and let's find out how Narstu will use his appendix on this year's Whitey Cup trip!


Cup 26!

Our 25th anniversary trip was so awesome we changed houses and changed courses, but kept most of the same damned ragamuffin people. Here's what we've got:

Dates:  Play May 31 - June 2 (we have the house from 5/30 - 6/3)

Courses:  Forest Creek South, Forest Creek North, Dormie (36), newly renovated Mid-South (36) - extremely excited about gaining access to FC courses. They are the ones right out our back door, where boB usually throws the Frisbee.

Where: We've moved next door. We figured the neighbors would stop complaining if we just took over their house. We're now at 412 Meyer Farm Drive. It isn't quite Uncle Eddie's tenement on wheels, but it'll do.

Cost: $983, which includes $25 per round per man for forecaddie fees at Forest Creek courses.  Also includes second round on Friday for captains choice which was not included in base cost last year (for some of you the forecaddie will represent cost savings as compared to lost balls). Payment schedule breaks down this way:

  • Pay Kevin $296 by 5/11 (Venmo or check accepted) - this covers house
  • Pay Kelly (First Tee) $387 by 5/11 (this cover Friday and Saturday golf)
  • You will need $300 for Thursday golf ($250 will be paid at course Forest Creek and $50 in cash payable to forecaddie)

Schedule:

Wednesday, May 30: Arrival. Practice round to be organized closer to the date.

Thursday, May 31: Forest Creek. Times to be booked in May.

Friday, June 1: Dormie (8:57 first group; 2:33 replay)

Saturday, June 2: Midsouth (8:05 first group; 1:30 replay)

Sunday, June 3: Departure       

Roster:

A total copy/paste hack job from Kevin's email about a month ago: The competition will be extremely heated as the last four champions are in the field (Trey, Scott, Jack, and Michael) as well as some hungry veterans (Roger, Duncan, and Tim) and those just “there for the time” (Bart, Rich, Dude, boB, and Kevin).


Cup Two Five: Hysterically Historical

They came from everywhere, those 12 heroes. It was a quest, accomplished 24 times hence, but never like this. Their destination combined Augusta, Valhalla, and nirvana. There were no ruby slippers nor yellow-bricked roads, but tennis shoes, flip-flops, and dusty North Carolina backroads were no deterrent. The 12 disciples, and they had no idea that in four days they would discover their putting Jesus, traversed their own paths for their own version of The Stand.

A couple from the easternmost tinges of the Cup radar set a fiery pace. Two followed, as if Noah himself commanded it, stopping only for the golden brown batter that once heated and consumed wreaked havoc as it greeted intestines large and small.

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To the westernmost outpost, a wee car loaded with enough pig to drop the Big Bad Wolf headed down 220 south, waving to a man they call Blundo once crossing the Greensboro line. This Blundo fellow carried a presence, despite running low on cell phone data and having a credenza hanging out of his car trunk.

A father/son and brother combo soon heated tires, eight in all not counting spares, and made south to the promised land of pine trees and old white guys. Pops had bored the son to slumber by the time 288 became 95, and the brothers argued which would win the beloved Cup, never accounting that Neither was the winning bet. The final cars set forth loaded with hummus and twigs and enough greens to make it a 50/50 proposition that if they had been pulled for speeding, a marijuana possession charge was next.

 It began at a ratchet ramshackle nestled off a lonely stretch of US1, the main road nary a bullet-hook four-iron from the practice "range," called Hyland Hills. Pleasant surprises and blue-jeans-as-driving-pants begat pithy signs that inspired you by reminding you that you could be working.

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The author remembers exactly zero of the shots hit that day, a brisket-induced Blundoian Fog that is yet to lift. But he does recall that great American pastime. That sport that engulfs baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet all into one 10-inch diameter orb. They call a spring meadow beautiful. Cashmere luxurious. Lightning energetic. But nothing, and we mean nothing, can stand the test of time like the past time of these brave warriors. This game was only interrupted by a small cheer that emitted from Boxcar's boxy car. A love seat had been sold. As for the game, it tested the mettle of even the people who know what the word mettle means:

COPY AND PASTE THIS URL TO SEE THE VIDEO. WANTED TO KEEP IT PRIVATE

https://youtu.be/5mMSzHPtrxc

Oh, the golf. The competition was competitive among the competing competitors, despite the lack of warm ups or actual golf holes. Eventually the 12 Wise Men settled on golf's version of the whiffle ball ghost runner for all putts. Dormie was a little like that girl in college: brutal negativity early in the evening, but by the eighth beer she looked much better than you remember. The new format was a positive, even if The Dude IS NOT GETTING OUT OF HIS CART TO CHANGE PARTNERS. The weather held, and we had a blast. Meanwhile, Goober sold a lamp.

Hawk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the end of Day One somebody led, somebody was in sixth, and there was a decision to be made. Bowling. What did it mean to the group of marauders? Well, it means this:

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And yet, with so much positivity flowing, a sullen yet unspoken bond hovered, striking each hero by the heart and by the gut. It was the realization that Day One was over, and real life was One Day closer. This horrifying fact kept everyone awake until all hours of the night. Everyone except Razz, that is. His blood pulsed with the sugar of 439 Fla-Vo-Ices and the reality that "my God I'm in contention to win this thing, if I can figure out what game we're playing."

Day Two belonged to the Round Tables. The big breakfast club, which for Roger is a full cup of cottage cheese, met to discuss politics, dijon mustard, and the average rainfall of the Amazon Basin. This occurred at "Pine Needles," which we discovered is Hungarian for "the sausage gravy is at eye level." Pappy moved a love-seat/recliner combo.

I don't have to recount the golf, because I was not in your group and you don't care about my game. But it was a lot of fun. Except that third hole. That damned thing is 120 yards of hell. Paul Azinger would call it utterly diabolical, and I would not disagree, though I would still give him a hard time for using an idiotic word to describe a golf hole.

There are few traditions more grand than someone ordering a bad lunch at the Friday Round Table. This began, I believe, with Duncan, who on a 95-degree day with 95% humidity (wind chill factor was 94 degrees), ordered meatloaf. The rock artist would've been a better choice, but Duncan, uh, gutted it out. Bart raised his hand this year all Arnold Horshack-like. (Google it, young guys!) He went with Fish & Chips, a great call since the golf courses of central North Carolina are renowned for fresh caught gamefish. As Bart washed down the first (and perhaps only) bite, Boxcar hit his desk quota by selling four to a local IT firm who just signed a contract with Wells Fargo Bank. This was impressive, considering Boxcar had boB screaming "Nancy" in his ear.

After a midday commercial break in which Tim tried to sell each of the other 11 competitors "the perfect couch for a nap," the group amassed again at Pine Needles for an idea WAY ahead of its time. In fact, I'm shocked this has never been brought up or considered before. A twilight captain's choice round. It lived up to billing, and then some.

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IMG_1429It didn't matter if the soles of Roger's shoes were baked off or not because he was walking three inches off the ground. Razz was in government paperwork heaven, pencil-whipping score cards like a rented mule.

Roost and Lindy simply smiled. They'd seen the movie. The official result was a 58, though Bart added it up to 56 and Rich tallied 50 government-issued slashes.

Whatever, it was a magical round.

 

 

 

 

 And then there was Saturday, when champions are made. Or something like that. The summary is that you score the most number of points during Stableford, so you play that round well and you can win. You play poorly, and you don't get on TV. Trey shocked everyone. After playing five very good rounds, he played a very good round and stood on the precipice of history with the last group on the tee box. Goob also continued his strong play, selling a dining room set to a lonely housewife during the round.

Scott stood on the 18th tee, needing only a bogey to win and defend his title. Maybe a par. We're not sure. But we are sure he did not need to hit his tee ball in the water. Of course, he hit the ball in the water--and since we stopped playing beer captain's choice five or six years ago he couldn't go into his pocket for a mully.

Now, Scott did not know he needed a bogey. Or par. So you cannot say the pressure got to him. He did not know he was in first, because we don't have electronic scoring, and if you look closely you can see Kevin keeps score on whatever piece of paper is handy at the moment. But we all know if Scott had known, he would've piped his drive into the middle of the fairway, and promptly fallen into the water on his own accord. While he would've needed a new cell phone, Scott would've recorded the wettest par in Cup history.

Damn shame we were deprived of that because with absolutely no pressure on him, he rolled his drive into the lake.

But this isn't about Scott hitting his drive on the 18th hole in a tournament he was leading into the lake. Not at all. It's about Trey's outstanding play all week. We all got to watch him play bombs away on the tee, and play patty-cake on the greens. I have no idea what that means.

But this isn't about Scott hitting his drive on the 18th hole in a tournament he was leading into the lake nor is it about Trey's outstanding play all week. It's about a wonderfully fun group of guys and five days we all look forward to seeing pop up on the calendar.

I don't want to get all sappy, but if you think about it, if you think about the golf, the food, the extracirriculars and the camaraderie, you will agree that next June cannot come soon enough. My best to you and your families.

  IMG_1420 Boys

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What Happens In Vegas...

The email came from K-Rot, but upon digging I found the originating email account was BigNed@gmail.com. Sure this ranks somewhere between Rick Neuheisel's bracket sheet and five UofR baseball players in a fantasy league, but here goes a place for your extra money:

ODDS

Scott:  4-1. He's the defending champ and knows what it takes, even if he has no idea what he did.

Roger:  5-1. Truly a mudder, odds improve as conditions worsen, needs to survive match play portion and focus on bowling matchups.

Trey:  6-1. Rookies have had recent success and the kid has talent galore, but fighting a nasty case of the gene pool.

Bart:  7-1. New clubs and attitude, however same game? He played better when he didn't give a crap.

Jack:  8-1. Also defending champ, if you don't count the year in Betty Ford, so is he playing with house money or feeling pressure?

Lindy: 9-1. Wildcard having not played since last Cup. Out of the gates like a stallion, finishes like a plow horse.

Ned: 9-1. He isn't even going on the trip, but with his betting prowess he stands a better chance of winning than half the field. Don't ask how.

Rich:  10-1. Consistent performer who will give it his all, practice swings and all. Another middle of the pack finish, or finish the pack?

Tim:  10-1. Can he claim title in his now home state to impress his Dad? Excerpt from conversation upon telling his dad he won: "Did you know winning 3 Whitey Cups is harder than a double eagle?"

Ian:  10-1. Looking for consistency and could be a contender if he locates....the right partner at the right time.

Kevin:  10-1. Annual betting favorite wondering why we're so far from O'Neill Chiropractic.

boB:  12-1. Tasted A flight a few years back and voted most likely to wear "Why Not Me?" t-shirt on Wednesday night.

Dude:  12-1. Led heading into home stretch a couple of years ago and a long shot, but remember, an Olympic decathlon champion is now a woman. You never know.

Cup 25: The Inflammation

Wednesday, May 31 to Sunday, June 4

Kelly noted in the confirmation that there is a No Jeans and No Tank Tops policy. Heed the warning, as that eliminated The Bomber from this year's trip:

THU, JUNE 1

Dormie. First tee time is 7:57. (Rich, I'll set the alarm that you will ignore.) Replay begins at 1:33.

FRI, JUNE 2

Pine Needles. First tee time is 7:40.

SAT, JUNE 3

Talamore. First tee time is 7:56. Replay begins at 1:38.

Our house is the same as last year: 414 Meyer Farm Road in Forest Creek, Pinehurst