Weather stole most of the headlines this weekend as rain fell hard on Sunday and threatened the finish of the 2nd annual Cupp Cup. But, the rained slowed just enough for Team Josh to break through and take their first Cupp Cup title, fourteen points to ten. If it wasn’t for Kenneth Caldwell’s speedy dispatching of Ronald Artigiani in their singles match, perhaps play on the greens would have been impossible as Kenny utilized his degree from Squeegee University and kept conditions just north of playable.
Day One began quietly as the morning matches went without any major upset. Friday night blowhard, Jeff Gifford, saw his best chance at securing anything resembling a point disappear as his golf ball leaped into the bushes through the fairway on #18 as Gifford/Pollex lost a pivotal foursome match to “Slasher” Smith/Potter. Eventual unblemished Team Joshers, Calicchia/Caldwell began their Cupp Cup domination by handling French/Artigiani 3&2 in the morning best ball. A bright spot for Team Wes was an absolute ass handing issued by Powonsky (Spank)/Fitsik in “Match Three” with the score of 5&4.
The afternoon matches looked like a jump ball on paper and it played out that way as the six points were split in half, 3-3. The alternate shot format provided some exciting and frightening golf. Dempsey/French, for example, took a win on the par three second hole scoring a triple bogey six. Another highlight from the afternoon was the heart stopping finish of the Pollex/Powonsky v. Peters/Smith match. Mike Smith’s career perfect record in the Cupp Cup was in severe jeopardy as the match made it to the last hole (#9). However, with a gallery of twenty watching, Mike made a frictionless left to right downhill slider from thirty feet to emphatically end the match. The shocked duo of John Pollex and Mark Powonsky just starred in disbelief as the putt slammed into the back of the hole (Pete Fitsik was seen fumbling for his ball scoop just in case the hole did not get in the way of the firmly struck putt). Mike Smith had done it again.
As the morning of Day Two arrived both the captains and the players knew they were in for a wet day. Heavy rains had fallen overnight and the singles matches began play in a light rain that eventually turned into a downpour. After a few hours of play, the action was suspended due to unplayable conditions. The course could simply not take any additional water. After two hours of hamburgers and booze, play resumed under only slightly better conditions. Captains Wes and Josh desperately wanted this Cupp Cup to play out and were fighting rain and darkness in order to do so.
The deciding match of the day turned out to be Dave Fay versus Eamon Dempsey. Fay, who was all square with the 2009 Club Champion through thirteen when play was halted, knew he was in a pivotal match. His point or lack thereof had a great chance of deciding which team won the Cup. A quick bogey on fourteen when play resumed put him one down with four holes left. However, Dave would not let the demons of last year’s Cupp Cup playoff reappear as he stepped up his game and won the next three holes, including a spectacular five wood that set up a birdie on the par three sixteenth. Fay’s comeback win gave Team Josh a crucial point and all of the momentum. They would never look back.
Sunday Evening Thoughts
As the squeegee and the champagne were finally laid to rest on Sunday evening, both captains took a moment to reflect on the 2009 matches to see what went right and what certainly did not. The statistics screamed that the 2009 Cupp Cup was decided in Pool B. Team Josh’s Pool B division was a perfect 3-0 in the best ball and a solid 4-2 in their singles matches. This five point difference was too much to overcome for Team Wes’s Pool A. This is something Captain Wes says he will address for the 2010 matches. “Pool B was terrible for us all weekend,” stated the disheartened captain. “Half of their Pool B went undefeated. What in the hell were we doing? Make no mistake, this is the area we need to improve for the 2010 matches and we will do just that.”
Now, some lowlights. Paul Katchmar and Jeff Gifford are both in the Cupp Cup record books for being the first two to ever be shut out during a Cupp Cup event. Both put up goose eggs over the weekend. Ouch.
Also setting a new Cupp Cup record was Ken Caldwell as he thumped Ron Artigiani 8 & 7 in his singles match on Sunday. Ken beat up on Ron so quickly that Ronnie got a rain check for a nine hole cart! After all, they were shaking hands on #11 green. Something tells me this record for the shortest match in Cupp Cup history will stand for a very long time.
Lauren Steates, the victim of a rare Eric Maya beat down, was seen looking for the 100 yard marker on #16 during her singles match. Rumor has it she stormed down to the maintenance shop demanding an answer from the superintendent as to why this par three does not have one.
2009 Session One – Eighteen Hole Best Ball Matches
WES 2.5 points, JOSH 3.5 points
Match #1 – Closinski & Steates vs. Peters & Katchmar. Closinski & Steates, 2 & 1.
Match #2 – Dempsey & Lloyd vs. Cupp & Fay. Halved.
Match #3 – Powonsky & Fitsik vs. Evans & Maya. Powonsky & Fitsik, 5 & 4.
Match #4 – Pollex & Gifford vs. Smith & Potter. Smith & Potter, 1 up.
Match #5 – French & Artigiani vs. Calicchia & Caldwell. Calicchia & Caldwell, 3 & 2.
Match #6 – Nick Facciolo & Jim Sutton vs. Domagal & Gehman. Domagal & Gehman, 3 & 2.
2009 Session Two – Nine Hole Alternate Shot Matches
WES 3 points, JOSH 3 points
Match #7 – Steates & Gifford vs. Cupp & Calicchia. Cupp & Calicchia, 2 & 1.
Match #8 – Dempsey & French vs. Evans & Caldwell. Evans & Caldwell, 2 & 1.
Match #9 – Lloyd & Facciolo vs. Fay & Potter. Lloyd & Facciolo, 2 up.
Match #10 – Fitsik & Artigiani vs. Maya & Domagal. Fitsik & Artigiani, 2 & 1.
Match #11 – Powonsky & Pollex vs. Peters & Smith. Peters & Smith, 2 up.
Match #12 – Closinski & Sutton vs. Katchmar & Gehman. Closinski & Sutton, 1 up.
2009 Session Three – Eighteen Hole Singles Matches
WES 4.5 points, JOSH 7.5 points
Match #13 – Closinski v. Cupp. Closinski, 1 up.
Match #14 – French v. Potter. French, 2 &1.
Match #15 – Dempsey v. Fay. Fay, 2 & 1.
Match #16 – Facciolo v. Domagal. Domagal, 5 & 4.
Match #17 – Powonsky v. Katchmar. Powonsky, 1 up.
Match #18 – Artigiani v. Caldwell. Caldwell, 8 & 7.
Match #19 – Lloyd v. Peters. Peters, 4 & 2.
Match #20 – Gifford v. Calicchia. Calicchia, 3 & 2.
Match #21 – Fitsik v. Evans. Halved.
Match #22 – Smith v. Sutton. Smith, 2 & 1.
Match #23 – Steates v. Maya. Maya, 4 & 3.
Match #24 – Pollex v. Gehman. Pollex, 2 & 1.
TEAM JOSH WINS THE 2009 CUPP CUP, 14 points to 10.
2009 Cupp Cup Individual Statistics
TEAM WES – 10 points
Jerry Closinski – 3-0-0, 3 points
Pete Fitsik – 2-0-1, 2.5 points
Mark Powonsky – 2-1-0, 2 points
Mark Lloyd – 1-1-1, 1.5 points
John Pollex – 1-2-0, 1 point
Dave French – 1-2-0, 1 point
Ron Artigiani – 1-2-0, 1 point
Lauren Steates – 1-2-0, 1 point
Nick Facciolo – 1-2-0, 1 point
Jim Sutton – 1-2-0, 1 point
Eamon Dempsey – 0-2-1, 0.5 point
Jeff Gifford – 0-3-0, 0 points
TEAM JOSH – 14 points
Mike Smith – 3-0-0, 3 points
Nick Calicchia – 3-0-0, 3 points
Ken Caldwell – 3-0-0, 3 points
Tom Peters – 2-1-0, 2 points
John Domagal – 2-1-0, 2 points
Ed Evans – 1-1-1, 1.5 points
Maite Cupp – 1-1-1, 1.5 points
Dave Fay – 1-1-1, 1.5 points
Eric Maya – 1-2-0, 1 point
Jeff Potter – 1-2-0, 1 point
Gene Gehman – 1-2-0, 1 point
Paul Katchmar – 0-3-0, 0 points
2009 Cupp Cup Individual Letter Grades
Captain Josh B+
Perhaps Josh’s best move of the event was encouraging Ted Cupp to rest the pinched nerve in his neck suffered while dancing in the streets of Valladolid, Spain while celebrating the improbable marriage of his middle son to an attractive, intelligent, and talented Spanish woman only weeks before the event. After convincing Ted to take a pass on the ’09 Cupp Cup, Josh quickly phoned Nick Calicchia…a move that eventually translated into three full points. In another stroke of pseudo-genius, Josh recruited Judy Smith and Patti Gehman to cook a stellar breakfast on Saturday AM, which got Team Josh off to a running start. Note: Ms. Steates was photographed being denied a hot breakfast by Smith/Gehman, then photographed again leaving the kitchen with a pop-tart, half an Eggo waffle, and a black eye.
Tom Peters B+
Tom’s rock solid play from ’08 spilled over into this year’s event as his 2-1-0 record went a long was in securing Team Josh’s first ever win. His only blemish came in Saturday’s opening best ball round when paired with an unwitting Paul Katchmar. Tom’s ’09 Cupp Cup highlight was, undoubtedly, dismissing friend Mark Lloyd 4 & 2 in Sunday in a match that was even closer than the score might indicate.
Ed Evans B-
An ’09 captain’s pick, Ed performed admirably. Playing poorly going into the event, Ed took his lumps in a 5 &4 drumming in the opening match paired with Eric Maya. After teaming nicely with the unbeatable Kenny Caldwell in alternate shot, Ed earned his stripes by halving his match with the seasoned veteran, Pete Fitsik (see also Kenny Roger’s “The Gambler”).
Maite Cupp B
Maite, another captain’s pick, finished with a very pedestrian looking 1-1-1 record. The record might be a tad misleading as she took on the likes of Steates, 2009 RCC Club Champ Eamon Dempsey, Mark Lloyd and the 2008 All-Everything, Jerry Closinski, who put up an eerily quiet 3-0 effort. The always ultra competitive Maite was seen kicking 33rd alternate Morgan Bishop’s beloved dog, Kieta, after her singles defeat on Sunday. Josh, an uber-competitive soul himself, upon witnessing the inappropriate abuse of the hapless canine, merely critiqued her technique.
John Dave Fay B+
The tragic figure from the ’08 Cupp Cup fought back with a vengeance in ’09, putting together another 1-1-1 record. After halving his morning match on Saturday with Maite, Fay was handed a loss in alternate shot with Jeff Potter. While waiting out the lengthy rain delay on Sunday, Dave’s new wooden hip and metal plate in his head both began acting up on him. Instead of complaining Dave simply reversed the fortunes of his match with Eamon Dempsey and secured a very important point that perhaps proved a crushing blow to Team Wes and thwarted any chance of a late Sunday afternoon comeback.
Paul Katchmar D+
Another newcomer to the Cupp Cup mix, Paul seemed quite often a deer in headlights. Unable to get much going for the first two and a half matches, Paul did give the formidable Spank all he could handle in the singles match. Spank took a commanding lead into the rain delay, up five with six to play. Watching Spank consume eleven Budweiser drafts in an hour and forty-seven minutes, Paul plotted behind his club soda and nearly executed the biggest comeback in modern golf history, falling on #18 to an amazing bunker shot by a propped up Spanky (propping up courtesy of Artigiani Propping Unlimited).
Eric Maya C+
Eric, forever known as #188, had a sleepy ’09 Cupp Cup until his dismantling of Ms. Steates in the singles. It is rumored that Lauren had to show Maya where the blue tee boxes were on several holes, as he normally plays the reds in the Coalyard’s League and the occasional noon balloon. A relative disappointment through the Saturday matches, Maya’s point in the singles match was a welcome surprise to Captain Josh, who stated the win was about as likely as “Eric not wearing a hot pink wind jacket in the team celebration photo.”
Ken Caldwell A++
Kenneth was a horse all week. Showing up promptly for all practice sessions, Kenny was ready to get everything he could out of his rookie Cupp Cup experience. A sexy 3-0 record coupled with sporting amazing fashion glasses at the Friday night social had Team Josh members wondering what else Kenny could do for his team. Then the rains came. Mr. Caldwell quickly volunteered to help squeegee greens for the singles matches (Caldwell’s availability to squeegee courtesy of ARTIchoked.com).
Mike Smith A+
The undefeated one, Mike, is everything a captain could hope for. He hits fairways, peppers flags, and holes putts. The intimidation factor might be creeping in for his opponents as Sutton was overheard asking for an I.V. bag full of morphine before his singles match Sunday morning. Kids, if you want to grow up to be the model Cupp Cup golfer, study the mental make-up and sturdy golf game of one Mr. Michael Smith.
Nick Calicchia A
Nick, a relative last moment replacement for an injured Ted Cupp, played with a confident swagger that was later identified to be simply a product of a squatting injury suffered at the 1989 World Weightlifting Championships in Prague. Facing the likes of Artigiani and Gifford twice, critics could say Nick’s record 3-0 record was slightly inflated, but Captain Josh enjoyed marking Nick’s name in brown marker on the board all weekend long.
John Domagal B+
Mr. Domagal was a welcomed addition to Team Josh. A more than adequate 2-1-0 tally helped push his squad toward fame and fortune. Nick Facciolo was happy to see the Cupp Cup finish as John not only took a point from him in the four ball, but Nick was lambasted 5 & 4 at JD’s hands in singles. John’s blood red tie Friday night may well have struck fear in the hearts of Team Wes before the competition began (see team photo).
Gene Gehman C+
Gene’s original grade was a C-, but upon writing this review I remembered how good Patti’s homefries were Saturday morning. Vivalldi’s Four Seasons’ tranquil melodies couldn’t get Geno going as his record sank to 1-2-0. Perhaps Gene’s thoughts were elsewhere with hunting season rapidly approaching. There are several conspiracy theories that Geno hit several tee shots in the woods simply to study deer prints.
Jeff Potter C-
A measly 1-2-0 record didn’t prohibit Mr. Potter from drinking the lion’s share of bubbly at the awards ceremony. Said Mike Smith of his partner, Jeff, in their first round best ball match, “Jeff was great, he drove the cart well and only stepped in my line twice…it was a solid performance.” Like Paul Katchmar, Jeff will know better in years to come exactly the kind of intestinal fortitude it takes to be successful in the pressure cooker that is the Cupp Cup.
Captain Wes C
This was a tough weekend for Wes. While Josh’s captain’s picks performed better than average (11-8-1), Wes’s picks for the event put up a stinky 6-10-2 record – and that includes Fitsik’s 2-0-1. In addition, his inability to talk Gifford into faking an injury over the weekend just might have been the clincher for the loss.
Assistant Captain Bob Pawlak A
How could Bobby not get an “A?” He was out during the pouring rain on Sunday and he brought mudslides! Forget about Jerry Closinski and his three points, Bobby was this week’s Team MVP. Bobby, if you really want an “A+” next year, bring two bottles!
Jerry Closinski A-
Jerry was the first ever to post a perfect record for the week for Team Wes in Cupp Cup history. So why the “A-” and not the “A?” This had to be done because Jerry loved misusing the phrase “tall cotton” all week. Being in tall cotton is a good thing… it means you are wealthy and life is easy pickings you fool!
Mark Lloyd B-
Mark fought valiantly all weekend, grabbing a point and a half for his team. His Sunday singles loss to buddy Tom Peters, however, has got to leave him frustrated and wanting revenge in 2010. Watch out, Tom, the Mark Lloyd train is coming and he ain’t afraid to run anyone over!
Pete Fitsik A
Pete came ready to play both days for Team Wes. His back and forth battle with Ed Evans on Sunday could have been legendary if the Cupp Cup had not been clinched as they walked to the eighteenth tee. This anti-climatic ending to such a great match was a bit unfair, but let it be known that Pete was fighting to the very end for his team. As a side note, Pete was again the only player in the Cupp Cup to carry a ball scoop in his bag. He is eyeing a three-peat in 2010.
Eamon Dempsey D
After a solid rookie performance in ’08, Eamon struggled this weekend and never quite got it going as he only secured a half point in three matches. Everyone, including his captain, was expecting greatness from Eamon as all felt his recent club championship triumph would be the catalyst to confident and great golf in the Cupp Cup. Sadly, the wheels came off a bit after the rain delay on Sunday, and his matched slipped away for a frustrating end to the weekend.
Lauren Steates C+
Lauren’s 2009 record of 1-2-0 is a bit misleading. First, she was partnered with Jeff Gifford during the alternate shot. Tiger couldn’t even had saved that point. Then, on Sunday, she ran into the unlikely buzz saw of Eric Maya who put up a brilliant performance that I am sure we will all hear about, shot by shot, for months to come (make sure not to stand next to him at the bar during the holiday party in December). On the positive side, Lauren’s best ball win with Jerry Closinski has given Captain Wes confidence to pair them together again in the 2010 Cupp Cup.
Mark Powonsky B
Spanky took two points for the team in his rookie effort. Known around the globe as a grinder and a mudder, Wes felt great about Spanky’s chances for success when he saw the weather forecast earlier in the week. Spank tried his best to piss away his point with Katchmar in the singles, but an amazing and underappreciated bunker shot on eighteen saved his full point (and one full letter grade).
John Pollex C+
Like Lauren, being paired with Gifford in the best ball was a bit of a handicap. This being said, JP never played up to his potential all weekend, as even his win over Gene Gehman in the singles wasn’t exactly because of great golf on JP’s part. Maybe it was too many samples of Fonda’s Sweeties candies? On a positive note, JP was seen sharing a headphone bud with Gene during their match. It was a great symbol of sportsmanship for the Cupp Cup.
Ron Artigiani D- (golf) / A+ (chili)
Ronnie had a tough sophomore season in the Cupp Cup. His well publicized thumping in the singles was a tough ending on Sunday. We still love Ronnie even though he got pummeled. So, here’s a bright spot for Ronnie’s weekend… his chili for the Friday night social was very well received by both teams.
Dave French C-
Not much was expected of Frenchy this weekend as no one had seen him in a month leading up to the event. Buried underneath sheet rock and 2x4s all month, DeMatteo’s actually had a betting line on whether Frenchy would whiff on the first tee on Saturday morning. Well, he did make contact, but it was a foul tip. Frenchy did play better on Sunday as he took down Jeff Potter, 2&1. Both he and Jerry, paired together in the first group, took both matches to briefly give Team Wes a one point advantage on Sunday. Unfortunately, their teammates swallowed the bit and Team Josh cruised to victory.
Jeff Gifford F
Sorry, Jeff, but all that talk leading up to the event and the three loses during the week is a great recipe for the big “F.” Maybe Jeff’s large helping of humble pie will inspire him to produce more and talk less next time around. It is always a bad sign when your air drums for “In the Air Tonight” during Friday night’s social event is your weekend highlight.
Jim Sutton C+
Jim was a bit of a wildcard pick for Captain Wes. Wes knew Jimmy had some game, but did not know how enthused he would be to play in this pressure cooker. Jim’s first show of brilliance was his point-clinching putt on #9 green in Saturday afternoon’s best ball. A scary looking forty footer down the hill required an amazing touch and Jimmy produced, nestling the ball to within inches of the cup. Then, on Sunday, Sutton was in tough as he drew Mike Smith in the singles. Smith was such a heavy favorite that DeMatteo’s never opened up betting on this match. However, Sutton grinded it out through the rain and took Mike Smith all the way to #17 green. Jimmy didn’t grab a point, but he sure made a good impression with his captain.
Nick Facciolo C-
One of the six Team Wes players with a 1-2-0 record, Nick had a tough time getting past John Domagal this week. Johnny D. beat him on Saturday morning in the best ball and also on Sunday in the singles. Speaking of this singles match, the car wreck on fourteen that ended it has to leave a bad taste in Nick’s mouth. Down four with five holes to play, Nick was just off of the green on the fourteenth while his opponent, Johnny D, had stuck it six feet from the pin when play was suspended. After the two hour rain delay, Nick returned only to have a slash attack around fourteen green, conceding the hole, and the match, before Johnny D ever had to hit another shot. So, for all you Cupp Cup trivia buffs out there, add John Domagal to the Ken Caldwell and Ron Artigiani list of players who were done playing before the rain delay.