The Keepers 12th Season was celebrated with a festive evening of Hot Shoppes Fare and a fascinating presentation by Michael Cumberpatch, the head guy at the Mid-Atlantic Golf Association and the Metropolitan Washington Golf Association. Besides enthusiastic consumption of the Hamburger Buffet, Teen Twists, Mac n’ Cheese, Root Beer Floats, and Hot Fudge Ice Cream Cakes, the 50 people attending got to hear Michael spin tales about his 20 years of overseeing the USGA Regional Qualifier at Woodmont, the long list of U.S. Opens and Senior Opens on which he has worked as a USGA volunteer, and his charitable work with the U.S. Armed Forces.
Cumberpatch had great slides and stories about his interactions with known and unknown pros during his years working the USGA events. My favorite was the video he had of Tom Lehman’s fateful shot down the 17th hole at Congressional in 1997.
For the third year in a row Lehman had the 54-hole lead in our national championship. As he stood on the top of the hill at the difficult Par 4 staring down at a green hanging perilously over the water he had to have thoughts that a par-par finish would finally deliver him his first Major Championship. Even without the accompanying Japanese commentating the agony on his face told it all as his soft draw turned into a petulant hook and the ball would not hold the bank sealing his watery fate. The last image is Tom standing face-in-hat likely reciting Psalm 23 followed by the Mourners Kaddish.
Michael had lots of recollections to share of his times running the USGA Regional Qualifier at our place. He had only the highest accolades for the golf and green staff at Woodmont and their ability to host these prestigious events.
We also managed to squeeze in handing hand out the hardware to the deserving winners of this year’s Keepers Kup, Kup Finale, Lead Dog, Alternate Shot Series, and Match Play. A good bit of needling accompanied the presentation ceremonies.
The biggest haul went to Howie “The Quiet Assassin” Stein who won the Keepers Kup, the Finale Flag, the Lead Dog Trophy, and a Match Play Plaque for winning the Augusta Division in the Keepers Match Play. But alas Howie could not join us to kollect the loot. Based on his net 62 performance in the Finale, Howie decided to test his game today with the tour pros playing with Artie and Susie Aronoff in the Pro-Am of the RSM Classic down at Sea Island, Georgia. Not losing his touch Howie shot a tidy 75 to trail his pro Denny McCarthy by 5. For those who care we will make sure this gets posted as a tournament score.
Artie “The Sundance Kid” Aronoff you may recall shot the round of his life in the Finale to tie Howie’s Net 62 and grab one of these handsome embroidered flags.
A former Kup Champion and Runner-up, Rich “Kojak” Greenberg took second in this year’s Keepers Kup with Jon “Majors Only” Bortz taking the third prize.
The Keepers Alt-Shot Series Final Fore went down to the wire once again this year. Howard “Stogie I” Wollner and Marc “Fine Grind” Birnbaum needed all 27 holes to prevail by a half a point over three pairs of kualified applicants. These super kool vintage trophies will now fill a spot in their trophy kollections.
Now associated with Joe Namath, Mike Eurozine, and Buster Douglas for most momentous sports accomplishments, Barry “Mr. Klutch” Minkoff accepted the near Wedgewood Vase as the Keepers Match Play Champion for 2019. For the five of us who witnessed it live it was a gritty performance that we will not soon forget. Howie Stein and Paul “Pablo” Cohen earned their plaques as the Augusta and Bethpage Black Flight Champions respectively.
Ten years of holding our mentor outing with the kids of The First Tee of Greater Washington has helped form a tight relationship between Woodmont and The First Tee. The Keepers were designated for the First Tee Spirit Award for 2019 an honor they bestow each year on an individual or group that embraces the principles of The First Tee Organization. A group of us attended their Core Values Event in October to accept this kool plaque and once again witness the amazing grace and poise of the participant recipients of their annual awards. The top award for the kids went to someone we know well, Sabrina Stecklein, a recent graduate of WJ and a freshman at the University of Maryland. Sabrina has attended every one of the Keepers-First Tee Mentoring Outings since 2010.
All-in-all it was a fun evening of celebration. Congratulations to all the big winners and special thanks to Konnor Farrell and his staff for their excellent stewardship of The Keepers 12th Season.