Team Rest of the World
Tom Riddell (Captain)
Welcome to the Team Rest of the World Page.
As we count down to the S16 final, this is to place to hear all the news from your chosen captain, together with profiles of their team as the Rest of the World try to win the Pedlar Trophy.
Captain's blog - Thursday 17 October 2019
What a week! As several ROW finalists have said, an experience of a lifetime. I’m still reliving some of it (all of it would be too overwhelming), ably assisted by Paul’s updates and reflections, plus, of course, Luke’s photos and videos. I’m counting the retrospectives as part & parcel of the Season 16 Final. And did someone mention Twitter? The event that just keeps giving.
The golf was truly remarkable. Stunning courses, variable weather & some quite challenging conditions, friendly yet intense competition, and, in the end, an outcome that was fair and enjoyed by all. #The(Golfing)MiracleonMerseyside almost came to be, yet it was #CloseButNoCigar.
Of course, thanks to Virgin Atlantic, Flying Club, Milestone Events, all the sponsors, and the people who surrounded our adventure - Paul, Luke, Morag, Mel and Stu. You kept us on track, spoiled us, made us laugh, and joined us as Finalists.
There are some meaningful phrases that capture what this event and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Golfing Swingers League is all about - camaraderie, #SwingersSpirit, #SwingersFamily, @StattosBack, the Pedlar Trophy, and the loyal, non-competing actually and virtually present @GolfingSwingers community following all the action. Bring on Season 17!
If I’m ever back at a Final, I want a promotion - call me Major Tom.
Captain's blog - Thursday 3 October 2019
I imagine that every one of us is super excited and bursting with anticipation for the Season 16 Final. This event is so special. It’s about a great sport and one that we all love; it’s about attentive organization and planning; it’s about the support of sponsors, especially Virgin Atlantic and its Flying Club; and it's about friendly competition and camaraderie.
Even though it’s modeled on famous golf contests for the best golfers in the world, this culmination of Season 16 of the Golfing Swingers League is actually something that the Ryder Cup, etc. could learn from — the possibility of having a meaningful competition, but one in which the participants spend time getting to know one another and enjoy each other’s company, play some golf, and let the chips fall where they may (and the putts, too) in terms of the outcome.
Of course, Team ROW want to win for the third time. And we will certainly give it our all. Even though the team handicaps are even, the home team does have some advantages — turf, links, weather experience, match play, etc. But Team ROW are determined, and we will fight to the very last hole. In any event, we know that we will all have fun and come away with wonderful memories! See you in Liverpool. Soon.
Captain's blog - Monday 30 September 2019
Today Captain Tom previews his team but before he does, a few words on Tom himself:
Tom Riddell (Capt) Handicap 13
Tom is making an incredible 7th final appearance this year, having represented ROW at Manor House in Season 7, Orlando in Season 8, Gleneagles in Season 10, Barbados in Season 11, Sun City in Season 13 and Orlando again in Season 14. There are not many who can match his experience of Swingers finals, and importantly Tom has played in two UK finals before, including one which ROW won! Tom is a calming influence, who plays golf at the highest level, and will command the respect of his team mates, 5 of whom are rookies. Tom qualified 3rd in US Division 1 and plays his golf at Ledges GC in Massachusetts. Destined to be captain for a long time, Tom is sure to do an excellent job.
And now Tom previews the rest of his team:
Christy Ansbro Handicap 18
Our first rookie is Christy Ansbro from Palm Springs California who qualified 5th in US Division 2. This is only Christy’s second season as a Swinger, but she’s already become a popular member stateside having played in the S15 US day out in California. Christy is a lot of fun, but also a very good golfer and will be a worthy asset to the team in Liverpool. Christy plays her golf at Heritage Palms GC.
Gary Chequer Handicap 14
In his sixth year as a Swinger, Gary has qualified for his second final having played out in Orlando in S14. A good friend of Scott Murray who has moved across to Europe, it would be interesting to see these two battle it out in Liverpool! Gary himself is on the verge of moving back to the UK from Botswana so will want to do all he can in possibly his last outing in the red of ROW. Gary plays his golf at Gaborone GC and finished top of ROW Division 1. His friendly and positive personality together with previous final experience will be a real bonus for us.
Lee Corns Handicap 8
Lee is the surprise late call up for Team ROW, following Sean Henry’s unfortunate withdrawal due to work commitments. Lee plays his golf at Burnley Golf Club and has been a Swinger for 11 years. Last year he qualified for his first final in Vegas, and is delighted this time out to be swapping grey (or blue as it now is!) for red to take on good friend Mark Attwell and his team. Lee is a quality golfer and his inclusion in this ROW team will only make us stronger. Watch out Europe!
Andrew Davies Handicap 18
What is there left to say about one of the longest serving Swingers Andrew Davies!? The Welsh expat who lives in Indiana is one of the funniest guys around and goes by the nickname of ‘Dolphin’ – a reference to his incredible swimming talents! Andrew is making his 7th final appearance and is undoubtedly a good omen for ROW as he has featured in both of ROW’s final victories in the past! Andrew plays his golf at West Chase GC and finished 2nd in US Club Division 2. He’s been on excellent form this season and will be crucial to the ROW team in Liverpool.
Karl Dzioba Handicap 15
Our second rookie is Karl Dzioba who plays his golf at East Potomac GC in Virginia. Karl has been a Swinger since Season 10 but makes his first final having finished 10th in US Division 2. Karl has had a solid season and this summer played links golf on a trip to Scotland. This experience will be particularly useful on the links courses of North West England and I am sure Karl will be a valuable member of team ROW.
Clinton Heap Handicap 11
Former ROW Captain Clinton Heap returns for his fourth consecutive final. One of the most passionate Swingers, Clinton loves competing in these finals and was a member of the winning ROW team in Sun City in S13. Clinton won ROW Division 2 and plays his golf at Durban Country Club. Clinton will be a massive team player and will fight for every point until the last. No ROW team would want to be without him!
Ray Lewis Handicap 10
ROW’s fourth rookie is Ray Lewis from Florida who finished top in US Division 1. Ray is clearly a strong golfer who has qualified for his first final in only his second year as a Swinger. Ray plays his golf at Harmony Golf Reserve and although a long way from the links of North West England, Ray’s preparations began earlier with a trip to the area in September to get some links practice in. Such a quality golfer will be a danger to Team Europe.
Andrew Lyth Handicap 4
A big hitter in more ways than one, Andrew Lyth is a ROW winning captain, one of only two, and one of the finest golfers to wear the red team shirt. Andrew is playing in his 8th final, a total that can only be matched by Ken Daly in Team Europe. Andrew finished 6th in US Division 1 and plays his golf at Wildcat GC in Texas. With 10 wins to his name, Andrew has a good final record and his inclusion this year definitely makes us a strong proposition.
Brian O’Connor Handicap 16
One final behind Andrew is California’s Brian O’Connor, US Division 2’s most dominant force down the years who again finished top this season. Brian plays his golf at Monarch Beach Golf Links, the venue for the S5 Final. Brian was part of Andrew’s winning team at Sun City in S13, and like Andrew also has 10 wins to his name. He’s a key member of any ROW team and he’s one name most Team Europe members will want to avoid when that first round draw is made!
Steve Prater Handicap 9
Our fifth and final rookie is Steve Prater who qualifies for his first final at the first attempt! Steve is a friend of fellow team member Ray Lewis and also plays his golf at Harmony Golf Reserve in Florida. A strong single figure handicapper, Steve will undoubtedly be a valuable asset to this team, as we attempt to win back the Pedlar trophy.
Andre Wainwright Handicap 8
Tobie de Jonge’s misfortune, is Andre’s gain. Andre proved an excellent finalist on his debut last year out in Vegas. A great team player, he enthusiastically worked tirelessly to try to push ROW onto victory but it wasn’t to be. After a great start on day one in the fourballs, Andre lost out to the Grays on day two and to Andrew Gray in a memorable singles on day three decided on the 18th hole. I’m sure he will be grateful for this opportunity for revenge this year! Andre plays his golf at Durbanville Golf Club in South Africa.
AVERAGE HANDICAP 12
Captain's blog - Monday 23 September 2019
Congratulations to all finalists for the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Swingers Golf League Season 16 Final. Having read through the itinerary, I know that we are all in for a fantastic event — thorough and thoughtful organization, top notch venues, fun, some great golf, a bit of competition, plenty of camaraderie, and the foundations for lifelong friendships. Those of you who are “veterans” know that we are in for a good time; for the “rookies," trust us, it will be a blast.
I’m thrilled to have been asked to serve as the Captain for Team Rest of the World. Having played golf for almost my entire life, I greatly appreciate the influence that Swingers has had in motivating and maintaining my commitment to improving and enjoying golf.
ROW have a strong team with a mix of veterans and rookies. Two of our members are past captains, one of whom guided ROW to victory in 2016. Our combined handicaps are just a touch above Team Europe’s. But those handicaps will serve to level the playing field, even if the actual playing fields won’t be level. I look forward to working with all my teammates to “bring home” the Pedlar Trophy!
Team Europe has an enviable record in the Swingers Finals -- Team ROW having won only twice, in 2010 and 2016. On Twitter there have been frequent references to Europe’s success in team match play: both in the modern version of the Ryder Cup and, most recently, in the Solheim Cup. But these are professional golfers! So, perhaps, the proper comparison is the Walker Cup, with a very long history of U.S. dominance in the amateur competition with Great Britain & Ireland. Regardless of comparisons, the Swingers Finals are a wonderful example of the spirit of golf and the opportunity to play a challenging but exhilarating game with fellow enthusiasts.
Think of the end of the Solheim Cup earlier in September, on the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles (where two rounds were played in the Season 10 Swingers Final!). It came down to one last stroke (well, Suzann Pettersen’s approach on the 18th was also quite spectacular). If she makes the putt, Europe wins 14 1/2 to 13 1/2; if she misses the putt, it’s a tie, Europe 14 and US 14. Here’s to that kind of drama and good golf for Team Europe and Team ROW at Royal Birkdale and Southport & Ainsdale in October.
Counting down the days. See you all in Liverpool!