Friday night the group got together for dinner one last time. Actually, Mike L. and Sal got together a little earlier at the bar with their Uber driver, who by the time he left needed to call himself an Uber driver. And the Uber driver is playing golf Saturday with three folks in our party, but that’s another story. Columbus sure is a friendly place.
Anyhoo, we had a really nice dinner at a fancy steakhouse where they name their meat after local sports legends and former Gator coaches who will rot in hell:
And then we toasted Mike, and also made fun of his horrible short game and various double and triple bogeys, and laughed a lot.
And then they brought Mike a cake, and his caddie handed him a knife to cut it. (Anything but a wedge.)
At one point Mike got a text from the USGA informing him that Saturday tee times had been posted. Someone replied for Mike:
No disrespect to Scioto Country Club, or the USGA, or anybody at all in the whole wide world, but Mike Finster’s first words coming off the last hole today were: “I’m glad I don’t have to play this course two more days.” And he won’t. Unlike last year, Mike won’t play the weekend. Sophomore jinx got him, along with rough, rough, trees and tough greens. And a bit of wind.
Here’s a great example of how tough it was. Mike made several sandy pars–his sand game was great, combined with some timely putting. But this was a side hill lie, short sided, no green to work with.
This led to a double or a triple– don’t remember. Mike’s scorecard today was, uh, colorful:
Made 3 birdies on the front (which was his back-he started on 10 remember) and had this good look at eagle on 6 that barely missed.
Mike’s fans in the stands. We did the wave. Once. Frowned upon at USGA event.
Big thrill at the end. 9th green (Mike’s last hole) was abutting 1 tee and legend Vijay Singh was teeing off to start his round (Mike’s playing partner nearly killed someone in his large crowd with his shot into 9). Got to see big Veej hit his opening shot before Mike got up and down for par. But everybody watches when Vijay hits (he sliced into the trees).
At the end everybody hugged and shook hands and said “Whew. I need a beer.”
And so do I. See everybody next year.
My boy John . . . . Proudly patronizing his new employer.
It was a tough day at Scioto. Mike shot 79, and really from a spectator’s point of view it looked like every hole was hard. Narrow, deep rough, tough greens. Windy most of the day. But all had a good time, and Mike’s group–which was combined 40 over par–was all smiles leaving the 18th green. It was hard golf–but it was golf, and it was fun.
Mike had 2 great partners this day–MB, who cheered him on . . . .
And his trusted caddie English Mike, who pointed the way all day “No no it’s this way Mike.”
Mikes hit some great shots.
Made a couple birdies . . .
Hit a couple into his crowd of adoring fans . . .
Speaking of which, we endured near Batann Death March conditions–miles of lush grass, water that was sometimes a little tepid, purple Gatorade (prefer a primary color) and AC in the hospitality tent that was way too cold after the 90 degree heat. But we fought through it.
So tomorrow is a new day–9:15 a.m. Tee time. Will check in then.
According to Marybeth, had some fun today getting ready for the real deal. Mike signed at least one autograph, let a kid from the gallery hit a shot from the rough, and rolled a ball to a delighted little one.
Day started with spying on former champ and multiple major winner Bernhard Langer at breakfast.
Then some time on range with legend Tom Watson. “Hey Mike how can I hit it as far as you do?” “Well Tom, first you have to grow a bigger belly.” Tom is far left–Mike is on the right. Not sure who guy in pink in middle is.
Then lunch with, oh I don’t know, major champion and Tiger buddy Mark O’Meara.
Check back tomorrow for real time scores from the course!