by Bob Sparrow
The Cheater Cup slogan: ‘A family that competes together, cheats together”
Actually, it’s the first known Cheater’s Cup event, because of a little detail during the first one – like no one even knew there was a contest going on! For those who have followed us here for the last few years, you may remember a story written by Suzanne last July entitled, JOCKO’S AND THE GREAT CHEAT-OFF (link: https://fromabirdseyeview.com/?p=2002). During last year’s Nipomo family gathering, our brother Jack and his wife Sharon, Suzanne and Al and Linda and I decided to play golf at the funky, 12-hole executive course called Monarch Dunes. It was just for fun and no one really kept score, or so we thought, but after the round, while having an adult beverage at the 19th hole, or I guess on this course it was the 13th hole, Suzanne, the self-appointed score keeper, pulls out a score card and announces that the women had won the match. “What match?” the men shouted incredulously and demanded to see the card. As suspected it was filled with cross outs, eraser marks and one hole that had been eliminated all together. Thus the ‘Cheater’s Cup’ was born. To add status to this year’s event, we’ve adopted Barry Bonds, who hit a lot of ‘fake home runs’, as our Cheater Cup spokesperson, and have named the trophy going to the annual winners, the Lance Armstrong Cheater’s Cup, so that we never forget the contributions to cheating made by this cycling dope . . . er. I think both famous cheaters would be proud to be part of our short, albeit nefarious history.
This year’s event was held on a ‘real’ golf course, Santa Maria Country Club, Jack and Sharon’s home course, although Sharon, who had spent the last three weeks in France, was ‘trapped’ in Paris due to a pilot’s strike; we think she’ll be home for Christmas. In true cheater style, the ladies tried to have Natalie Gulbis fill in for her – the men were conflicted, but finally didn’t allow it.
It was no surprise that everyone kept score this year and it was also no surprise that none of the scorecards matched at the end of the round. The round was played as a ‘best ball’ between the ladies and the guys, but because the ladies had one less player, the guys agreed that they would eliminate their best ball on each hole and take the best ball from the other two. It seem fair to the ladies . . . at first, but as the match started to slip away from them, they lodged a complaint and played the rest of the round ‘under protest’.
I could elaborate on some of the creative golf cheating techniques that were used during the match, like Suzanne’s clandestine foot mashie to improve her lie, or Linda’s way of improving her lie by always carrying a pack of green Life Savers with her and casually placing one under her ball when no one was looking. Brother-in-law, Al would always turn heads when we finished each hole as he uttered his standard phrase, “Give me a par”. Brother Jack wore the pants with a hole in the pocket, just big enough for a golf ball to fit through, so that when we’re looking for his lost ball in the rough, he would surreptitiously slide his hand, with a new ball in it, into his pocket and push it through the hole; it would slide down his pant leg and land in a place that miraculously had an open shot to the green, and shout, “I found it!” With my long putter, I would regularly take ‘gimme’ putts that were ‘inside the leather’, of course the leather on a long putter assured me that I never had to putt anything that was within 6 feet.
As I said, I could elaborate on these cheating techniques, but the match, the day, the weekend was really all about getting together and having some fun with a great family – and that we did. We all feel very lucky to not only call each other family, but also call each other friends, even though on the golf course we might call each other things that would suggest otherwise.
“You’re such a cheater; the best wood in your bag is a pencil”