The 2008 Cupp Cup was one for the ages. As if it were scripted, the entire weekend came down to the final hole of the last two singles matches. Team Josh needed two full points out of the final two matches to force sudden death. However, his players, Don Cieslewitz and Mike Smith, were both even going into the final hole. BOTH players needed to win the last hole – and they did just that. Finishing on the number one handicap hole, #6, both Don and Mike made clutch par saving putts as their opponents made bogey – forcing bonus golf.It wasn’t without controversy, however.
Mike Smith’s opponent, Lauren Steates, hit a nearly perfect seven iron into the final green, only to see it spin back fifteen feet off of the front edge of the green. Needing to make par to halve the match and therefore win the Cupp Cup for Team Wes, Lauren watched her ball continue to trickle towards the hazard guarding the front of the green, only to stop on TOP of the cement wall that divides the green from the hazard. “Wallgate” was born. As the ball was suspended on top of the wall, all sixteen players anxiously awaited the ruling from the captains. Both captains agreed that the leading edge of the wall was the defining line of the hazard and that Lauren’s ball was therefore inside the hazard, granting her no relief from the wall. Much to Lauren’s credit, she admirably putted the ball off of the wall without grievance, attempting what would have been the best and most dramatic up and down in the eighty year history of the club. Her shot off of the wall got her to eight feet. However, the golf gods seemed set on sending this one to a playoff as her valiant effort for the par save just missed.
The playoff was a sudden death format with each captain picking three players to represent his team. One player would be responsible for the drive, one player would then play the ball until it reached the putting surface, and the final player would be the putter. Captain Wes chose Mark Lloyd to hit the tee shots, Jerry Closinski for the middle leg, and Pete Fitsik to take care of the ball on the green. Josh chose Dave Fay for the tee ball, Tom Peters for the middle, and Ted Cupp for putting. The teams would play holes #1 and #9 until a winning team emerged.
As usual, the playoff came down to pressure putting. Ted needed to make a fifteen foot bender for bogey to force Pete Fitsik and Team Wes to make a tricky little three footer for the victory. Again, the golf gods were into the dramatic this day as Teddy rolled in his fifteen footer, sending the crowd into a frenzy! However, Pete Fitsik, long regarded as the best pressure putter at the club, calmly knocked in his three footer. Team Wes had finally captured the Cupp Cup!
Session One – Best Ball Matches
WES 1 point, JOSH 3 points
Match #1 – Closinski & Fitsik vs. Peters & Maracchion. Halved.
Match #2 – Dempsey & Lloyd vs. Fay & Maya. Fay & Maya, 2 &1.
Match #3 – Steates & Pollex vs. Cupp & Sgroi. Halved.
Match #4 – French & Artigiani vs. Smith & Cieslewitz. Smith & Cieslewitz, 1 up.
Session Two – Alternate Shot Matches
WES 3 points, JOSH 1 point
Match #5 – Fitsik & Pollex vs. Maracchion & Cupp. Fitsik & Pollex, 1 up.
Match #6 – Closinski & Steates vs. Peters & Smith. Peters & Smith, 2 & 1.
Match #7 – Dempsey & French vs. Fay & Sgroi. Dempsey & French, 4 & 3.
Match #8 – Lloyd & Artigiani vs. Maya & Cieslewitz. Lloyd & Artigiani, 1 up.
Session Three – Singles Matches
WES 4 points, JOSH 4 points
Match #9 – Dempsey v. Maya. Dempsey, 5 & 4.
Match #10 – Fitsik v. Peters. Peters, 2 &1.
Match #11 – Closinski v. Fay. Closinski, 3 & 2.
Match #12 – Lloyd v. Maracchion. Lloyd, 2 & 1.
Match #13 – French v. Sgroi. Halved.
Match #14 – Pollex v. Cupp. Halved.
Match #15 – Steates v. Smith. Smith, 1 up.
Match #16 – Artigiani v. Cieslewitz. Cieslewitz, 1 up.
Session Four – Sudden Death Playoff
Team Wes wins the Cup with a par on hole #1.
TEAM WES WINS THE 2008 CUPP CUP.
2008 Cupp Cup Individual Statistics
Eamon Dempsey – 2-1-0, 2 points
Mark Lloyd – 2-1-0, 2 points
John Pollex – 1-0-2, 2 points
Jerry Closinski – 1-1-1, 1.5 points
Pete Fitsik – 1-1-1, 1.5 points
Dave French – 1-1-1, 1.5 points
Ron Artigiani – 1-2-0, 1 point
Lauren Steates – 0-2-1, 0.5 point
Mike Smith – 3-0-0, 3 points
Tom Peters – 2-0-1, 2.5 points
Don Cieslewitz – 2-1-0, 2 points
Dave Fay – 1-2-0, 1 point
Eric Maya – 1-2-0, 1 point
Ted Cupp – 0-1-2, 1 point
Jim Sgroi – 0-1-2, 1 point
Ross Maracchion – 0-2-1, 0.5 point
2008 Cupp Cup Individual Letter Grades
Captain Josh F
It is obvious though a reasonable motivator and course management specialist, that Captain Josh lost this one in the draft with brother Wes. Members of Team Josh, that chose to remain anonymous, inquired with RCC officials about the likelihood of potentially petitioning for Kitty Cupp’s services to lead their team next fall. If Captain Josh were a movie, he’s score two thumbs down.
Tom Peters A
Tom’s only slight blemish was a halve in his first match in the best ball. However, in said match, he did drain a sharply breaking 12 footer on the final hole for the tie. Tom’s presence on the golf course rooting his teammates on after his 2 and 1 dispatching of Pete Fitsik was greatly appreciated during singles matches. Mr. Peters has a lot of tremendous golf ahead of him. Let it be known that Mr. Peters will be an irrefutable force to be reckoned with in 2009.
John David Fay C-
Dave started out strong with a win paired with #188 in the best ball. A whitewashing in the alternate shot left a bad taste in Dave’s mouth and he never quite got his mojo back as he fell to Jclo in the singles. Like a place kicker that misses an important field goal in the 3rd quarter, it was imperative that Dave regroup as his services would be required again. After a fateful reshuffling with Tom Peters that landed Mr. Fay driving duties for the sudden death playoff, a well struck drive finished in Davey Jones’ locker on the left side of #1 fairway. Dave’s disappointment was clearly evident but let it be known that Team Josh would not have wanted anyone else standing on #1 tee primed for battle in that playoff. I’m certain Dave has next year’s Cup Cupp marked on his calendar – ready to extract sweet revenge.
Eric Maya (#188) C
Perhaps slightly in over his head, #188 fought gallantly all weekend. One of the better performers during Friday night’s social gathering, Eric’s talent spilled over to the best ball match where he accumulated his only point for his team. A tough loss in alternate shot coupled with the lack of consumption of alcohol proved too much to overcome in his Maya’s 5 and 4 dismantling at the hands of young Eamon Dempsey. Maya is said to have checked the RCC website 163 times in recent days to see if a 3rd pool of 8-12 handicappers has been created for next year. Eric was quoted on Friday night as saying, “Who the hell can I beat in Pool A?”
Ross Maracchion C-
Ross’ Cupp Cup career got off to an auspicious start as a prior engagement prohibited him from bonding with fellow teammates at Friday night‘s social. A halve in Saturday’s best ball would prove to be the zenith of Ross’ weekend. A nagging chronic back injury and a reported case of Montezuma’s Revenge, a souvenir from his recent trip to Mexico, hampered his efforts on Sunday.
Mike Smith A
The man with a common name played with an uncommon combination of grit and determination all weekend long. The only human on either team to garner a perfect three points, Mike saw the final hole in nearly every match earning him the nickname “The Closer.” Mike’s tremendous play together with his presence off the course made him a bona fide Team Josh MVP candidate.
Ted Cupp B
The “putt heard ‘round the #1 green complex” netted Mr. Ballgame an entire one letter jump in his final grade. All calls to his agent remain unreturned when asked about the rumor that his playoff putt ricocheted off an extremely large ball mark and into the hole. Teddy did little to disprove the theory that he hails from West Virginia as he “kissed his sister” twice over the weekend to acquire his only point for Team Josh via two ties. Ted’s presence was enjoyed by both teams alike as some had heard reports that he had drowned in a tank of Pinot Noir while performing his duties as Director of Quality Control at Thirsty Owl Wine Company in Ovid, NY.
James Sgroi C-
James seemed a bit of a deer in headlights at times on the golf course during the weekend. Captain Josh made several attempts to bolster his confidence on Sunday and it finally proved fruitful as Mr. Sgroi mounted a massive final four hole comeback that reminded many of Justin Leonard’s memorable performance at the Country Club in the 1999 Ryder Cup. It would serve Jim well to note that when he puts his purse away and files his doubts under “T” for trash, he makes a worthy opponent for anyone in either pool.
Don Cieslewitz B
Handcuffed by an undisclosed social phobia, the “fishman” sat at home Friday night and played solitaire instead of partaking in delectable libations and good times. On the course, Mr. Cieslewitz proved a wily veteran. Don willed himself to two victories despite having to constantly ward off chants of “FISH THIS!!” from Team Wes. The oldest team member of Team Josh at 119 years of age, Don handled the 27 hole final day with the youthful vigor of a 90 year old.
Assistant Captain Bob Pawlak A-
Bob Pawlak was masterful in his first year of action in the Cupp Cup. The only thing keeping Bob away from an “A+” was that he forgot to bring mudslides on BOTH Saturday and Sunday… rookie mistake.
Assistant Captain Morgan Bishop D
Not only was Morgan one of Team Wes’s Assistant Captains, he was also the 32nd alternate. Thankfully, Captain Wes did not have to make the call for Morgan to suit up. In fact, rumor has it that Wes sent limos to all of his players on both days just to make sure this didn’t happen. Morgan did a nice job in his first year as Assistant Captain and probably deserved an “A” on just performance alone. However, Morgan’s dog, Keita, peed on the carpet in the clubhouse, sending his grade plummeting all the way to a “D.”
Jerry Closinski B
Jerry entered the Cupp Cup hot off of arguably the best year ever seen in Rome Amateur golf. Jerry won his first Rome City Amateur title, the Member-Member for the third time in four years, three-peated his Club Championship title, and even won the L.T. Shoot-out a week before the Cup. Needless to say, expectations were high for J Clo. Jerry struggled in team play, grabbing only a half point in two matches including a loss in Captain Wes’s dream combo of J Clo and Lauren. He did turn it around in the singles as he handled Dave Fay, 3 & 2. This Cupp Cup performance seems very similar to Tiger Woods’ Ryder Cup experiences – a struggle in team play yet dominant in singles. The one difference, however, is the J Clo was one of the most vocal supporters of his team after his singles play – willing his teammates to success down the stretch. In addition, his iron into #1 green during the playoff was very crucial and shouldn’t be forgotten.
Eamon Dempsey A-
Eamon was the ace up the sleeve for Captain Wes. After struggling in the first match, Eamon turned it on Sunday, winning both of the most lopsided matches of the weekend. He and Dave French won 4 & 3 in the alternate shot in a nine hole match and then Eamon dismantled Eric Maya on the back nine in the singles match, winning 5 & 4. This strong showing when the pressure was on was key to Team Wes’s victory.
Mark Lloyd A-
Mark took home two points for Team Wes with solid play over the weekend. If not for the buzz saw that was Dave Fay in Mark’s first match on Saturday, he could have grabbed a perfect three points for his captain. Wes can only hope for more of the same in the 2009 matches.
Pete Fitsik B+
Although he statistically had a very average week (one win, one loss, and one tie), Pete provided an extra boost to his team’s moral by wearing khaki pants in lieu of his trademark jeans to Friday night’s social. It cost him $25 to rent them for the evening, but it was well worth it. Pete’s only loss came to Tom Peters in the singles matches. Pete fought valiantly and took Peters to #17 green. In addition, Pete’s pressure filled two putt in the playoff didn’t show up in the box scores, but it did secure the cup for Team Wes.
Dave French B-
Another Team Wes member who finished 1-1-1 for the weekend, Dave showed a lot of heart and “team first” mentality. Dave and Eamon’s thrashing of Fay and Sgroi in the Alternate Shot matches was the point that turned the matches ultimately in Team Wes’s favor. Remember, before that point was won, Team Josh had jumped out to a 3-1 lead. Dave and Eamon’s victory proved to both teams that this Cupp Cup was not going to be a runaway. With all of this being said, Frenchy’s back nine stumble in the singles matches would have become the story of the weekend if Team Josh had won the playoff.
Lauren Steates C
Although Lauren only secured one half point for the team, she was a few good breaks away from a three point weekend. Bad Break #1: Two of her three matches pitted her against “The Closer,” Mike Smith. Bad Break #2: The infamous “Wallgate” ruling. Bad Break #3: Riding with Ron Artigiani for eighteen straight holes without earplugs, Bad Break #4: Being engaged to Wes (this has to mess up your head a little bit while you are trying to make three footers).
John Pollex B+
Johnny P. earned two big points over the weekend. His comeback in his singles match with Teddy (down two with two to play) to earn a half point was the difference in the entire Cupp Cup. Had he not made par from the bushes on his final hole (#4), he would have lost his match and Team Josh would have been celebrating.
Ron Artigiani C
The mastermind behind the personalized ties for Friday evening, no one was more excited about the Cupp Cup than Ron. He proved to be a great teammate throughout the event, as shown in the photo below. Unfortunately, his golf performance didn’t rise to the occasion as he only mustered up one point in three matches.