It wasn’t only across the pond that fitting tributes were being paid to “The King”, Arnold Palmer – in a fitting tribute to Arnie one of our newest teams opted for a late name change. Ironically Arnies Palmies were up against another side who had recently changed their name, though more in protest than tribute as their former friend left them in the lurch in favour of academic excellence – Who Needs James Godwin?
It wasn’t just the name that paid tribute to the great man either – they had an entire army of players, each with their very own golfing speciality that made selection and even tactics very mentally taxing for their captain. Arnie’s made their mark on the opening hole when a monster putt for the half lit the blue touch paper and set up a screamer of a match.
Arnies then came close to holing a wedge on the next hole to claim the early lead. This, however, was a game that went back and forth with the two teams going toe-to-toe and exchanging some huge blows. WNJG came back stong with back-to-back birdies only to see Arnie hole a putt “the length of 2 double decker buses” on the 14th.
By the time the sides reached the 18th tee, Arnie stood one hole ahead and on the verge of an emotional first victory. Shorn of their skipper, Matty B, WNJG looked to Ryan to clinch a crucial half on the final green. Speculation was rife as he stood over the putt as to what sort of a man Ryan might be. Would he crumble like Andrew Ogier? Would he rise to the occasion like Thomas Pieters? The answer soon became apparent as the ball rolled closer to the hole – he’s a man made of steel and other really tough things, a man who would never leave your side in battle, and above all, a man who holes 25 foot putts for halves!
This was the right result and has set a huge standard for the coming weeks.
The final match of the night saw two debutants entering the Team League pressure cooker; I Like Big Putts locking horns with The Fists Of Furyk. Before a ball had been struck in anger, Putts made a huge statement with a multiple beer bucket order that very much set out their stall for the season to come. They brought a big squad, and now they were starting to forge an even bigger reputation.
Furyk’s Fists were flying from the trees on the opening hole, as they produced a miracle up and down that Putts couldn’t match from a far easier position. Following these early pyrotechnics, a lull ensued as par followed par for several holes. With very few chances being made by either side, Putts set about demolishing their industrial stocks of craft beer.
As the putting oil began to work its magic, Putts started to live up to their name, sadly though only making up for some wild play off the tee. With little of note happening in the game, Putts tried to shuffle their pack to kick-start the flow of birdies, but to no avail. Furyk held their nerve for an opening day three points and left their fellow newbies pointless but far from downbeat.