Season Seven Final - 19-22 September 2010
Inspired Rest of the World claim Swingers title for first time
A final that will long be remembered for the quality of golf, the stunning setting and of course 3 days of glorious weather, not to mention a new name on the cup! Those of us lucky to attend realise what a special event this was, but for those of you who couldn’t make it this year, here’s how it happened…
Sunday afternoon saw our 24 finalists arrive at the stunning Manor House hotel in the beautiful village of Castle Combe, only to find that Steven Spielberg and his team were in town filming ‘War Horse’. Indeed Spielberg and the cast shared the hotel with our finalists throughout the week, and the working film set was a great insight into how a big budget film is made.
But our own blockbuster was about to start rolling. After an informal welcome buffet in the hotel, the finalists had the following morning to relax, although it was clear many were keen to make some final preparations on their swing given how crowded the practice range was!
Sharing lunch with our invited gold members who were playing the first of three invitational events across the weekend, our finalists went out for their traditional first day practice round in the afternoon where they became acquainted with this stunning course and its memorable holes.
That evening, the official team dinner took place in the golf club where our first ever playing captains, Nigel Cutting (Europe) and Joan Heeter (ROW) made their welcome speeches before presenting their respective teams with their Glenmuir shirts for the event. Already the banter was in full flow as each team went away to decide on their pairings and orders for the first round betterball matchplay. And it was a full 30 minutes before the captains returned and the pairings were read out to much cheering.
Tuesday morning and the final was officially all systems go, with one of the most daunting tee shots you could ever ask for, a 220 yard carry over a lake to the distant fairway. First up was Robert Scambler and Andrew Leese for Europe playing against team captain Joan Heeter and Sandy Douglass from the Rest of the World. We all know what a great golfer Joan is from previous years, and with an in-form Sandy as partner, they proved just too strong for Robert and Andrew winning 2&1.
The next pairing saw 4 rookies, Steve Faulkner and Hugh O’Connor for Europe facing James Green and Pawan Dhawaan for the Rest of the World. The youngsters Hugh and James showed no fear as they hit superb drives, but it was Europe who prevailed in this one winning 5&4.
Undoubtedly, the best golfer at this final for the second year was Alastair Price. This scratch golfer makes the game look so easy. Playing alongside Alastair was Bennie Van Der Berg, and together they halved their match against the Rest of the World pairing of Ian Readman and Tom Riddell.
It was certainly very tight at this stage. European team captain Nigel Cutting and the man with the trousers James Gear (sporting a yellow striped version today!) lost out to Andy Davies and Neil Hewitt 4&2, whilst Pieter Verster and David Hendler contested a very close match against Europeans Ken Daly and Andy Pilling which they won on the last by 1 hole.
In the final pairing, Martin Derrick and Wally Tibbitts ensured a very even first day with a 4&2 win over the Florida pair of Brian Jupp and Mick Thorpe.
With just 1 point separating the two teams after the first day, it was time to jump on our open deck bus for a trip to Bath, a bus driven by our very own male witch, Merlin! With the sun still shining it was a great way to unwind after a day on the course, and our tour guide provided some fascinating facts on the city before we headed to dinner, after a couple of inevitable toilet stops(!), at Gascoyne Place which has its very own original Roman wall complete with Roman inscriptions.
Pairings for the singles were decided over dinner, before the interesting journey back to the hotel began – it’s amazing how a few drinks blocks out the cold when sat on the top of an open deck bus at 10pm in late September! The trip back was a success however, with just the one toilet stop compared to at least four last year!
Back in the hotel bar, the pairings for the Singles were read out and it certainly appeared on paper that there were some very evenly matched games to come. Before that however, there were a few more drinks consumed in the bar of course, a few drinks which certainly led to some interesting topics of conversation from Mr Hewitt!
First up in mist the next day (no it wasn’t just your hangover Nigel!) was James Gear and Mick Thorpe. James had unfortunately hit a bad run of form by his standards and even the star spangled trousers couldn’t get him going as Mick played like a man possessed and set the scene for day by earning a 5&4 victory for the Rest of the World.
Next up was Martin Derrick and James Green. James showed no nerves again hitting a superb drive off the first, but Martin matched him. As James walked off the tee, every team member shook his hand, epitomising the spirit the Rest of the World team were showing and their determination to win the title for the first time. James played a superb match winning 2&1.
Ken Daly had his work cut out playing a very accomplished Sandy Douglass and indeed it proved too big a task with Sandy winning 3&2. Wally Tibbitts drew the short straw playing ROW captain Joan Heeter, but Wally did Europe proud pushing Joan all the way before succumbing by 2 holes.
One of the players of the week was Miami’s David Hendler. He played superbly in the fourballs and continued that form in the singles beating Hugh O’Connor of Europe 2&1.
Europe’s Bennie Van Der Berg, unfortunately the only player to find water off the first, two days running (sorry Bennie!) put it behind him to record an emphatic 6&5 victory over Andy Davies who really struggled with his back.
But the honour of securing the winning point for the Rest of the World fell deservedly to India’s Pawan Dhawaan. Pawan had to adapt his game to play on this course and he did it superbly winning 4&3 against Andrew Leese. There was no stopping the Rest of the World now, and Joan’s delight was clear to see as she realised she had become ROW’s first ever winning captain.
But there was still plenty of golf to be played. Tom Riddell edged out Robert Scambler 2&1 to give another point to the Rest of the World, whilst an inspirational performance by Pieter Verster saw him comfortably beat Steve Faulkner 5&4. Ian Readman struggled to keep pace with Alastair Price, as Europe’s top man won 4&3.
European captain Nigel Cutting received a rapturous reception from the clubhouse as he walked on the 18th green to close out a 2&1 win over Neil Hewitt, whilst Brian Jupp took the last point for the Rest of the World winning by 1 hole over Andy Pilling.
In the end it was a comfortable win for the Rest of the World, but there’s a fine margin between winning and losing, and there were times where Europe could have changed the outcome.
In the prize giving that followed Nigel Cutting, the gracious losing captain, congratulated both teams on a superb effort. Nigel made a great captain as did our winning captain Joan Heeter from the Rest of the World. Joan’s enthusiasm and determination to win shone through from the outset and she deservedly lifted the cup before pouring a bottle of Magners into it for her team to drink.
As the European team departed, along with Pieter Verster and our winning captain, Joan, the remaining Rest of the World team headed through the film set and into the Castle Inn down in the village where we enjoyed a farewell meal and lots of laughter as we brought the curtain down on Season 7.
Thank you to all finalists and all the invited guests who took part in such a memorable event and indeed season. Thank you also to our sponsors Callaway, Glenmuir, Brand Fusion International, Golfbidder, Volvo and Marriott as well as the team from the Manor House. And once again a special thanks to Michelle, Jenny and Sharon from Virgin Atlantic, without them this event would not happen.
Keep on Swinging!
THE FINAL RESULTS
DOUGLASS & HEETER (ROW) BT SCAMBLER & LEESE (EUR) 2&1
FAULKNER & O'CONNOR (EUR) BT GREEN & DHAWAAN (ROW) 5&4
PRICE & VAN DER BERG (EUR) v READMAN & RIDDELL (ROW) MATCH HALVED
DAVIES & HEWITT (ROW) BT CUTTING & GEAR (EUR) 4&2
VERSTER & HENDLER (ROW) BT DALY & PILLING (EUR) BY 1 HOLE
DERRICK & TIBBITTS (EUR) BT JUPP & THORPE (ROW) 4&2
DAY ONE SCORE - EUROPE 2.5 ROW 3.5
THORPE (ROW) BT GEAR (EUR) 5&4
GREEN (ROW) BT DERRICK (EUR) 2&1
DOUGLASS (ROW) BT DALY (EUR) 3&2
HEETER (ROW) BT TIBBITTS (EUR) BY 2 HOLES
HENDLER (ROW) BT O'CONNOR (EUR) 2&1
VAN DER BERG (EUR) BT DAVIES (ROW) 6&5
DHAWAAN (ROW) BT LEESE (EUR) 4&3
RIDDELL (ROW) BT SCAMBLER (EUR) BY 1 HOLE
VERSTER (ROW) BT FAULKNER (EUR) 5&4
PRICE (EUR) BT READMAN (ROW) 4&3
CUTTING (EUR) BT HEWITT (ROW) 2&1
JUPP (ROW) BT PILLING (EUR) BY 1 HOLE
DAY TWO SCORE - EUROPE 3 ROW 9
OVERALL MATCH SCORE - EUROPE 5.5 ROW 12.5
CONGRATULATIONS TO REST OF THE WORLD, SEASON 7 CHAMPIONS!
ADDITIONAL FINAL PRIZES
LONGEST DRIVE DAY ONE - DAVID HENDLER
LONGEST DRIVE DAY TWO - DAVID HENDLER
NEAREST THE PIN DAY ONE - ANDY PILLING
NEAREST THE PIN DAY TWO - ROBERT SCAMBLER
INVITATIONAL COMPETITION WINNERS
LONGEST DRIVE - MARK HANVEY
NEAREST THE PIN - JOHN COGAN
5TH PLACE - LEE BLUNDEN 34PTS
4TH PLACE - CHRIS WILD 34PTS (COUNTBACK)
3RD PLACE - JOHN COGAN 35PTS
2ND PLACE - JOE BARRETT 35PTS (COUNTBACK)
1ST PLACE - JAMIE PORTER 41PTS
LONGEST DRIVE - MATT EVANS
NEAREST THE PIN - MIKE FOY
5TH PLACE - MIKE BULLOCK 33PTS
4TH PLACE - JAMIE GIBSON 35PTS
3RD PLACE - KEITH ALLINGHAM 36PTS
2ND PLACE - CHRIS PRIOR 38PTS
1ST PLACE - NICK JAMESON 38PTS (COUNTBACK)
LONGEST DRIVE - MARTIN TOAL
NEAREST THE PIN - RICHARD LEE
5TH PLACE - ROB WILLIAMS 33PTS
4TH PLACE - NIGEL EVANS 34PTS
3RD PLACE - DIPAN SHAH 35PTS
2ND PLACE - PAUL SWATKINS 35PTS (COUNTBACK)
1ST PLACE - TREVOR CROSS 35PTS (COUNTBACK)