And the MVP Award Goes to…
We had the same tee time, 1:00pm and I made sure to get there for 11:30am and Christian was already there hitting wedges. Ted and Sam didn’t show until about 12:15pm and Patrik came straight from the gym and got there a little after 12:30pm.
Normally when I go out Christian is there on the range working on my swing, but he is so much more important to our team that I wanted him to focus on his own game and I’d work hard on mine. My contributions to the team had to be pretty specific and limited to approach shots and putting. Me hitting a big drive did little for the team, but nonetheless I took those shots seriously. In fact, when asked to lay up on a par 5 I made sure to take those shots very seriously. We were unlikely to use my drives or my lay ups, but having them out there frees up my teammates to go at the hole aggressively. I took my role very seriously and wanted to make sure that I took as much pressure off of them as possible.
We changed the format slightly also. In past matches we would alternate holes, they go first, wait for us at the next hole, then we’d go first. To speed up play we decided to switch it up after nine holes. We tossed a coin and I won the option to choose. We discussed it the night before and for several reasons felt it would be advantageous to go first on the front nine and last on the back nine. We’d get updates on how they were doing because we had our man, “John Smith” watching them. John had money on the match and I swear to you, I wanted to win more for him than I did myself. We lost him 5k the day before and that’s a lot of money to him. He didn’t even want to bet on the match anymore because he couldn’t afford it. I promised him I’d play my best and not to worry.
I put John Smith in quotes because, well, he hardly looks or sounds like a John Smith. His English isn’t so good and he has the thickest Korean accent you’ve ever heard. He tells stories like, “I play Mirageeee with a Roy Cookie.” Awesomely funny dude. Hole #1 we had a good drive but we didn’t stick one at all. We had close to 40 feet for birdie. Sam missed… Ted missed… and pow, I drained it! Great way to start the day. They parred hole #1 and we were up 1 off the hop. We both birdied hole #2 but they eagled 3 to take the lead. Not much we could do there, as we made birdie. Both teams were off as we parred both #4 and #5. Our birdie on #6 was big, though and we were back up +60k. We blew 7 and 8- but so did they. Number 9, an easy par 5… we parred again! They won that hole and we found ourselves stuck 5k after the first 9, shooting 32 as did they.
On one hand we felt lucky to not be down more, but on the other hand we felt disappointed parring the last three holes. It didn’t get much better on the back to start. We parred #10 and #11 and waited for word on what they did. They parred 10 but birdied 11 so all of a sudden I was stuck 65k and was wondering if we’d ever make another birdie.
On #12 we got it right back and that got us back on a roll. As for their team, our spy, John Smith said they couldn’t make a putt to save their life and they left all kinds of shots out there. We both birdied #13, but my putt on #14 gave us another win with birdie. #15 and #16 there was no blood either, but then the unthinkable happened on #17. We could see them putting and noticed that it took a very long time. They were putting for par and it was up to Jimmy. A bogey! The first bogey by any team ever and that lifted our spirits. All we needed was par on #17. We had a ball on the green so I went and picked up my ball then ended up long and off the green. Christian goes, “Did you pick that up? We need to play that ball.” I was like, “Oh no, I didn’t realize it.” The pin was in an impossible, totally impossible spot on the green. You couldn’t make the putt, all you could do was hope to get it to about four feet. Had we used my ball, it’s an easy two putt. We suddenly realized how it was possible for them to bogey the hole. Luckily we hit one close enough and scooped up another hole. On #18 they were in for birdie and we had a very long putt to deal with. Finally, Ted decided to show up and do something of value and made a putt. I was so going to kick him off the team if he missed that putt! If I would have played my match against Ted I would have destroyed him, once again he just couldn’t put it together at all. After 18 holes we won $115k and I was happy about it. We shot a 62 and won, the day before we shot 60 and lost. It was clear that we didn’t really “win” so must as they “lost.” They wanted to play some more and asked for a slight adjustment, on hole #8, a long par 3 Nick and Jimmy could move up to the blue tees. Seemed fair to me since we won by two. On the first hole we got a bit sloppy and lost with par, but on #2 got it right back. We pushed #3 with birdie, and pushed #4 with par. We won with a birdie on 5 and then things really started to roll for us. Me and Christian essentially carried us home from there. Him hitting great drives, and me sticking some approaches and making several key putts. I put third in the order and made about seven putts. Christian hit the ball well off the tee which is huge for us, but he made zero putts. Going into the match I had a mindset of it’s just me and Christian. If Sam and Ted pitched in, great, but I’m not going to depend on anyone to get it done. I’ve got to do it.
I stuck one on #6 for a birdie and another win. That had me up $115 from the first 18 and another $120k on the extra nine. We both goofed on 7 for par, but I made a monster putt on #8 for yet another win as they parred. That had me up a total of $295k for the day going into the final hole.
We missed our long eagle putt and they didn’t reach in two. They chose a tough chip shot and both Patrik and Nick didn’t get close at all, Patrik missing the green entirely. Jimmy, skulled the ball and it looked like we were going to win yet another hole! Luckily for them, his ball hit the flag and stopped dead, otherwise we’d of been a huge favorite to win another 55k.
We shot 30 on that nine which is in line with what we did in every match. They shot a 33 making 6 pars on the extra holes which isn’t ever going to be good enough.
After 11 holes today we were stuck money and then went on a rush that is unheard of, winning 6 holes over the last 16. John Smith could finally breathe, his poker bankroll getting a healthy boost. I love being part of a team and coming through when the pressure is on. I love pressure in general, similar to being up against it in a poker tournament, the thrill you get on the golf course isn’t comparable. I love it, absolutely addicted to the feeling. That night we celebrated with some dinner at Sushi Ave and then a night of karaoke till late. Everyone was smiling, and we spent the night needling Ted about his awful play.
Today was a much needed day off, working really hard in preparation for the match. When I got back from Toronto, I couldn’t even hit the ball. Christian and I grinded hard, though, and I was ready just in time. Sunday we are giving Nick and Patrik a rematch on a previous bet that was filmed at www.rawvegas.tv. That was a match where were down 8 points in a high low total match after 7 holes, which is an insurmountable lead… but we found a way on the back to storm back and win by a point. That match pits Nick, Patrik, and Christian all playing from the blue tees, with me at the whites. 20k for the low team total, and 20k for the low man on the hole. I honestly feel like we are an underdog in that match, I didn’t feel that way about the scramble at all, but they deserve action since they give action. I’m not giving up, but I don’t feel like we are supposed to win unless we bring it. So much fun, I just love it.