Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Rubber Match: Stucko/Giuliano III

You may remember last July when I joined my friends Sam Lamont (the Rory McIlroy of golfing in Western New York) and Collin Stucko (the Ray Charles of golfing in Western New York) for a day of golf at Stafford Country Club. We played in a torrential downpour, we saw a snake, a tree fell down, I almost lost my left big toe and a once-in-a-generation rivalry had begun. Collin and I had now played two rounds of 18 holes against each other. In 2007, Collin won by 4 strokes at Terry Hills (our 2011 venue) and in 2010, I won by 1 stroke at Stafford. The rivalry needed to continue in 2011. Just like Ali v. Frazier, Celtics v. Lakers, Yankees v. Red Sox and Duke v. North Carolina, Stucko v. Giuliano is a monumental rivalry that will never be forgotten. Here are the events that transpired on almost three weeks ago on June 24th during Stucko/Giuliano III.

9:20- “Baby I like it, the way you move on the floor. Baby I like it, come on and give me some more. Oh yes I like it, screaming like never before. Baby I like it…” Yes, that’s the same song I awoke to last year. Normally when I hear I Like It, I am overjoyed and ready to fist pump while being surrounded by dozens of hot girls. But it’s 9:20 a.m., an awesome dream had just been interrupted, and I’m about to participate in a sport that I play once a year just so I can do a running diary chronicling how bad I am at it. Why am I not still sleeping? Collin slept over at my Grandmas house with me and he looks excited to be awake too. Hey, when you could wake up 3 hours earlier than usual to do something you suck at, you have to do it right? I think I understand why some kids are high school dropouts now.

9:22- Collin and I walk into the kitchen to see my Grandmas dog Luigi pooped and peed all over the kitchen floor. He is walking around his masterpiece proudly. What a moment!

9:30- I just pulled a Luigi in the toilet.

9:35- I come out of bathroom, and Collin yells “You ready for some galf?” I don’t have the slightest idea as to why he is pronouncing golf with an A instead of an O or how he managed to gain so much energy in a 15 minute time period. He must be juicing.

9:40- Our pre game meal is Special K Cinnamon Pecan cereal. Thanks to Aunt Mary for being our cook.

9:45- Sam arrives right on time. To no one’s surprise it starts raining just like last year. He asks if we like his Ricky Fowler hat. I actually know who Ricky Fowler is. Kind of.

9:48- As Sam is spouting off rules for today’s game, I’m dozing off in the back seat. He’s beyond giddy. I don’t completely understand why Sam is so excited to golf with us again. I thought we scarred him so bad last year he wouldn’t even want to mini golf with us, but apparently he is a glutton for punishment.

9:52- I still have eye boogers. They now belong to the back of the passenger seat in Sam’s car.

10:01- When we get to Terry Hills, Collin asks if there is a snack shop. Clearly his head is in the right place. Sam looks like he just found a treasure at the end of a rainbow.

10:10- Eddie, a man in some type of power position at Terry Hills is bombarding us with questions like we are potential terrorists. How many people are in your group? What’s the last name? Are you going to use a golf cart? Are you two really sharing clubs? You guys suck don’t you? It’s idiots like you that make me hate my job! Okay the last two sentences were made up, but they were implied by his body language and over-exaggerated sighs.

10:12- Sam puts his white golf glove on. He must’ve developed amnesia after last years’ excursion.

10:33- Some key rules for the golf outing: Sam allows us each 5 mulligans in the front nine, and on holes 10 thru 15. Mulligans mean we get the shot over or place the ball wherever Sam’s shot landed. 16-18 no mulligans are allowed, and any whiffs count as a stroke. With that said, after Hole 1 the scores are Sam 4, Sonny 10, Collin 11 (plus his 1st of five mulligans). Collin has already been forced to fix five divots.

10:35- Collin decides to MJ it (tee in his mouth as if it were a cigar). It was hokey last year. Nothing has changed since then.

10:40- On my 2nd shot on Hole 2 my ball deflects off a tree right in the middle of the fairway. That’s how good I am. I’m taking tough bank shots when I don’t even need to.

10:46- Hole 2 scores: Sam 4, Sonny 10, and Collin 8. Yes sir, that’s 20 after two holes. Meanwhile, I just heard the thunder for the first time today. It’s not too late to quit right? Could I go back inside the dream I was having if I go to sleep within a half an hour?

11:05- I just had a serious drive to start Hole 4 after a nice double bogey on the par three Hole 3. Am I in a groove right now? As Marv Albert would say, “YES!!!!”

11:07- Collin says he has a left nostril gem, aka a snot rocket (Nobody in the world provides a more entertaining snot rocket than Collin.) Sam is much more animated and goofy than last year when he was in stone cold killer mode. He just took the glove off. He finally snapped back into reality.

11:10- We just saw a much bigger snake than the snake we saw last year. I feel like Ice Cube in Anaconda. Wait a second, did it get J-Lo already?

11:17- Collin’s 5th shot on Hole 4 is a bomb. “Welcome to the F****** show” he shouts. There is no way he should be as excited as he is, but I don’t want to take this moment from him.

11:35- The best hole for us so far is Hole 5, which is a par 3. Sam 4, Sonny 4, Collin 5. No mulligans for either of us. I just tied Crosby Lamont on a hole. For my next act, I’m going to hit a Mariano Rivera slider.

11:42- Either Sam is actually impressed by us or clapping out of pity. I feel like it’s choice B. In other news, Collin just tickled the tips for the first time today. Amazing that it took a whopping six holes for him to completely whiff on a shot.

11:50- I hit a tree on 3 of my first 6 shots on Hole 6. I think the deadline for me quitting has been surpassed. I’m glad I’m here.

12:02- After two hours and seven holes, I have a one stroke lead on Collin. We are forced to take a break in order to let a group pass us because of our current tortoise pace. We are looking to get done at around midnight tonight.

12:05- 12:15- In our break Collin not only looks for a tree to climb, but we also ponder how eating a golf ball would affect his insides. I personally thought both climbing the tree and eating the golf ball would be a poor decision on his part. However, doing either of those activities would increase the chances that Collin would have to forfeit and thus give me the win early. Go for it Collin! I’ve always believe in you!

12:32- Collin and I both have par puts ahead of us. This is beyond exciting.

12:35- Collin bogeys it and I double bogey it. Nobody was really surprised. We are tied after Hole 8. In other news, my left big toe is about to fall off again. It’s simple, my size 14 feet aren’t made for golf.

12:45- Collin and I decide to eliminate the mulligan rule after the 9th hole in order to maintain the high competitive level of this mockery of a golf match. Sam is now hitting with his eyes closed. I have a two stroke lead after nine holes.

12:55- Eddie (we actually find out his name may or may not be Nick) gives us a carrying cart to help us move along faster. Apparently our tortoise pace was no longer acceptable at Terry Hills.

1:18- We finish up Hole 10, and I’m now up one on Collin. Meanwhile, we are close to getting passed up again. Me and Collin decide it’s time for Power Galf.

Definition- Golfing without measuring any shots, taking any practice swings and power walking to each of our balls after every hit.

1:30- Collin unleashes 3 bombs on Hole 11 and follows up each one with a Sammy Sosa-esque Home Run Skip. Chris Berman would be in Home Run Derby form right now watching these powerful swings. Back, Back, Back, GONE!!!!! By the way, Chris Berman makes the Home Run Derby at least ten times more watchable than it should be. He’s the Gus Johnson of baseball.

1:35- Collin is in a zone right now. He is so excited he is making crowd noises. He is also yelling Shoo Doggy! I wish I could tell you what the logic behind this was, but I can’t.

1:40- Power Galfing is such a success we have caught up to the group who passed up. Who’s playing at the tortoise pace now!

1:47- I think Sam is terrified of our fast paced Power Galfing. He looks like the witness of a murder who can’t deal with talking to the cops anymore. I think I see his bottom lip quivering. I just want to give him a hug and tell him it’s almost over.

2:00- Collin loses his ball in the water on Hole 14. He’s currently ball-less going onto Hole 15. This presents a major problem since you need a ball to be able to play golf. Especially power galf.

2:05- Me and Collin skip Hole 15 because of the lack of balls between the two of us. Wait a second; I paid $23 to play less than 18 holes of golf??? Someone is busting my chops.

2:15- We come to the decision that I will play the par 4 Hole 16, Collin will play the par 4 Hole 17 and Sam will sit out Hole 18 so we can both play. I don’t think Sam has ever been so discouraged playing golf.

2:20- I get an 8 on Hole 16 with Collin as my caddy. Now it’s time for me to play Steve Williams.

2:25- Sam leaves his self-induced coma and yells “He’s fixing a divot!” after Collin’s poor tee shot. It’s good to see he’s still alive. In a shocking turn of events, I’m actually advising Collin on what club he should use for each shot. Not that I have any clue what club is best. I think he just hit it out of the rough with a putter.

2:35- Collin answers on Hole 17 with an 8 of his own. I have a one stroke lead going onto Hole 18. Suddenly, demons from 2007 are creeping into my psyche. Let me explain: Back in 2007, Collin and I were tied going onto Hole 18 at Terry Hills. What ensued was me choking hard and losing by 4 strokes on the hole and game. 3 years later Collin had a lead going into Hole 18 and ended up blowing it. The lesson learned: Absolutely no lead is safe when you have players as bad as Collin and I fighting it out.

2:50- I couldn’t even jot down details during the final hole because I was in the middle of a Bill Buckner/Scott Norwood level choke-job. Collin ends up beating me on Hole 18 by 8 strokes. Nope, that wasn’t a misprint. Eight strokes. And he shot a triple bogey. He wins by 7 overall. Words cannot describe my frustration right now. Actually they can, because I just verbally abused Sam on the way back to the car. I’m not sure if he is giving me a ride home.

Collin is awarded his trophy after winning our annual event
Final Scores: Sam +6, Collin +43, Sonny +50

Our day ends with a delicious lunch at Burger King. It was highlighted by Sam sitting there with a look of relief on his face similar to Andy Dufresne’s after he broke out of Shawshank Prison, and Collin trading one of his onion rings for eight of my French fries. Like last year, we are wet and my feet are sore because of the lack of golf cart and abundance of puddles on the course. Some closing thoughts:

We still went way too early even though we started roughly an hour and a half later than we did last year. And again, I would prefer to go on a day when Batavia wasn’t giving its best Seattle impersonation. One could say this is an end of a rivalry since Collin has now won 2 of 3 games. As far as I’m concerned, the Stucko/Giuliano rivalry has just begun. I could see this being something Collin, Sam and I do every year even when we are old men. Sam will still be awesome, and Collin and I will still suck. But it’s tradition. If I have it my way, we’ll be back next year for more Power Galf.