Mga News

Tales Of MGAWC17

MGAWC17 WAS HELD NOVEMBER 10th & 11th, 2017. A RECORD FIELD OF 216 MEDIOS TOOK PART IN THE CHALLENGING 36 HOLE COMPETITION. THIS STORY TELLS THE TALE OF THE MEDIOS WHO SUCCEEDED IN KINDA HOLDING IT TOGETHER FOR TWO ENTIRE DAYS.

LAS VEGAS, NV – As the sun continued to slip further behind the distant mountains, taking its warmth and precious golf enabling light with it, a hush began to fall over the Revere Golf Club. From the far corners of the property, drink carts and the girls who drive them were making their way back towards the clubhouse, ending another lucrative day of transferring every available ounce of alcohol over to the field of thirsty medios.

The now lightweight carts were nimbly taking the turns and charging up the hills towards home. All of them that is, except the lonely and abandoned cart that had gotten stuck in a ditch mid-day, creating a dry zone on a quarter of the property that shall be forever known as the “Prohibition 9”.

Back near the clubhouse, a rapidly expanding crowd of “golfers” was accumulating. The departing sun had left its mark on many of the medios. Scorched skin could be seen on any exposed body part, while the smell of B.O. and flat beers filled the air. The full spectrum of emotions were on display as well, from disappointment and resignation to excitement and satisfaction.

Rumors of a playoff could be heard filtering through the murmuring crowd.

El Presidente was wading through the masses with a sense of calm. He had opted not to play round two and as a result felt fully prepared when the throng of medios began pouring in. He stopped for a moment to chat with Jeremy Pilkerton, an MGAWC rookie and the Chapter Leader of the rookie West Chester PA chapter.

An 18 handicapper, Pilkerton is a model medio. He carries 0 penalty strokes and shot consistently in the low to mid 90’s this season on his way to the West Chester “Money” Title. He only broke 90 once and it was by the skin of his teeth when he shot an 89 to win The MGA Championship in August.

Pilkerton told El Presidente that he and Round 1 leader Matt Ittner were tied at 185. El Presidente was thrilled to hear there may be a playoff, as there is nothing more exciting for a medio than to have 214 drunks watch you attempt to hit a ball, in fading light, in a pressure-packed situation, after already having spent 6.99999 hours out on the golf course. Before allowing himself to get too excited though, Morley told Pilkerton to double check his math to make sure he and Ittner were truly tied.

Ittner was also an MGAWC rookie from the first-year Spokane MGA chapter. He had opened with a strong 87 on day one, making him one of only 3 players to go sub-90 that day.

After round one, Ittner cemented his status as a Top Medio by making an appearance at the Winchester Bar -and likely a few others before it-, where he bonded with fellow medios as his Chapter Leader Andy Gardner anxiously watched from the distance of precisely one DT (drunken tumble). By making that appearance, Ittner showed he would rather risk losing his laurels -and probably his phone, wallet and room key- than rest on them.

“I'm not going to lie, I was nervous once I found out I was leading,” Ittner would later reveal. “But I was already several drinks in when I found out. So I couldn't let the fun end at that point.”

It may never be known if the choices he made that night led to his second round 98, but one thing is certain, it absolutely led to this outstanding interview with El Presidente.

It turned out Pilkerton, while pretty damn alright at golf, wasn’t so hot at the math. After checking his addition, a deflated Pilkerton found he had actually missed the playoff by a single stroke. His playing partners were apparently shit at math as well, having initially added to the same incorrect total as him. This meant that Matt Ittner, the same man you just watched struggling to stand up less than 24 hours earlier, the man who had carded a second-round score two strokes shy of triple digits, would be the 2017 MGA World Champion. No playoff required.

To preserve the drama, this news was not shared with the crowd of medios now streaming into the clubhouse in search of warmth, toilets and more alcohol. Fortunately, Rob Kristie had discovered the clubhouse bar was closed earlier in the day and took it upon himself to politely request that they open it up for our group. The manager was deeply moved by Kristie’s manners, grace and decorum and as a result, the bar was now open and serving alcohol.

While the medios reminisced about the bad breaks they had gotten and their universal hatred for hole 10 on Lexington, El Presidente and his volunteers were working hard in a back room trying to get all the scores in. With 216 players, the simple process of score entry can easily take half an hour. And that’s assuming all the cards have been turned in and are legible. As one might imagine, when the act of standing upright becomes challenging enough to require the majority of one's focus, penmanship often takes a hit.

Back in the main room, the medios were enjoying a well-appointed assortment of southern BBQ, but the clock was ticking. The beautiful sunset was a distant memory, the buzz in the room was starting to die down and the medios were getting restless.

One medio though, and perhaps only one, made good use of the extra time. While sitting around, contemplating how much his life was going to suck once he awarded The Belt to the new Champ, 2016 World Champ Nick Hinton came up with the idea to form a Champions table.

After getting the stamp of approval from a distracted El Presidente, -“yea, do whatever you want, I’m busy”- Hinton went about gathering the other five attending Champs and placed them at a table at the front of the room. It was an inspired move that will likely be repeated year after year, at least until we can’t fit any more Champs at the table.

Eventually, the numbers were all entered, the math was double-checked and the awards ceremony could finally begin.

El Presidente and MGA Co-Founder “Straight” Willie Dills took their spots at the front of the room and the lights were dimmed. El Presidente wanted to get the crowd on his side, so he started by thanking the Volunteers and the Chapter Leaders. The crowd responded with an appropriately large roar of approval for these two important groups and things got underway.

16th place was a four-way tie at 194 between Rich Zinicola (CIN), Dan Nelson (PITT), Jerry Nuelle (SLC) and “He who shall not be named or photographed”. These kinda fine players beat the majority of the field by averaging 97 strokes over the two days, which should serve as a beacon of hope for most of the MGA.

Next up, all by his lonesome, was crowd favorite and 2011 World Champ David Armstrong (SF). A first round 100 meant he would need to go low on day two to compete for The Belt. He didn’t quite go low, but his kinda low 93 turned out to be good enough for solo 15th and another Tiny Big Check for his collection.

El Presidente was almost ready to announce a big nasty 4-way… tie for 11th when suddenly

Once the shirts had been mediocrely kinda launched into the crowd, El Presidente got back to work and called up Derek Deffner (AZ), AJ Hicks (SLC), Jason Bowers (KNOX) and Jeff Kenny (DFW). Somewhere during their 13.99999999 hours on the course, these sorta talented medios managed to sink one more putt than David Armstrong. As a result, they all shot 192’s, took home a cool $0.12 and recorded an almost-top-ten finish in a World Championship.

With a record field of 216, there were a few prizes that would carry more significance than ever before. One of those prizes is the Most Mediocre award. This award is given to a player in the middle of the field. Sometimes it’s an easy choice, like when they finish all alone in 10th in a field of 20.

But when the easy choice is not an option, like say when there’s a seven-way tie in the middle of a massive field, a judgment call must be made.

To pick a winner from the big nasty seven-way… tie, El Presidente decided to see who in that tie had melted down the most from round 1 to round 2. The winner was J Scavo (LA). He shot an even 100 in round 1, putting him in a respectable 46th place overnight. Seemingly the respectability stayed at the course that night and he forgot to pick it back up before heading out for round 2. His 111 in the second round dropped him into that big tie for 87th. But at least it got him a major award...

While the Most Mediocre award is a popular and well-respected award, nothing gets the crowd going quite like the Meltdown Award. Perhaps more than any other award out there, the Meltdown Award is indiscriminating. It doesn’t care if you’re a 13 or 30, right or lefty, drunk or sober. It can come for any player on any day. This year in Vegas, it came for Truett Rogers (OKC) and IT CAME HARD.

Rogers is relatively new medio and he’s been known to put up a few scores in the 120 range. So when he shot a 112 on the challenge layout at Revere during round 1, the storm clouds could be seen forming on the horizon.

via GIPHY

In round 2, Rogers was nothing more than a passenger, helplessly being hurled to and fro by the unrelenting challenges of Revere. The merciful bounces he had experienced on day 1, gone. The putts that had lipped in, now lipped out. The beer cart girl who had been there supporting him every three holes, broken down in a ditch.

One hundred and forty-nine strokes later, his battered and bruised ego retreated back into the safety of the clubhouse bar. Sometimes the best thing to experience when you’re feeling down is a standing ovation from 215 of your peers. When his name and meltdown was announced, that is exactly what Rogers got.

Once Rogers had been properly celebrated for his achievement, it was time to get back to recognizing the mediocre golfers who actually managed to hold their shit together for two days in a row.

In solo tenth place, was perennial SF Money List contender Jesse Marty. Marty shot a 191 and continues his climb towards relevance on a Global scale after entering the MGA as pretty shitty golfer back in 2011.

The newly formed Champions Table had already sent one former Champ up to collect a Tiny Big Check and now it was time for another to make the short walk to the podium.

2012 Champ Bobby Giosso was able to overcome truly horrific touch on the greens during round 1 (when he was grouped with the author) to shoot two very respectable scores in the mid-90’s and grab solo 9th.

Giosso is also in another very elite club, as he is one of only eight medios to have attended all 9 MGAWC’s.

No sooner had Bobby G sat down, the Champions Table produced yet again, sending 2013 Champ Jason Smith up to accept his Gross Award.

Smitty is real fucking good at golf and comes to the WC every year with the goal of DQing and taking home the Gross Award. This year, with the greens running at a 38 on the stimp meter, neither he nor anyone else was able to DQ.

Smitty dominated the Gross Award though, shooting 163 and taking the award by 8 full strokes over Dan Anderson (NOCO).

Smitty’s well deserved 13 penalty strokes (per round) meant that his “real” total was 189, placing him in a tie with Fred Smilow (LA) and Scott Kleinbaum (RENO) for 6th place. 

The tie for 6th was a respectable conclusion to the promise Smilow had shown leading up to the WC. Kleinbaum on the other hand, was all over the map this season in terms of scores, so putting two rounds together back to back must have come as something of a surprise to him. While he was no doubt pleased with his strong finish, it appears his win in the Kinda Long Drive contest on Friday might have meant even more to him.

While Keinbaum and Smitty's performances alone would have assured Reno another year of relevance and notoriety in the MGA, Reno wasn't willing to take that risk. So they showed up in this thing...

Aside from the Kinda Long Drive contest, Friday had also featured the Kinda Close contest, where medios who had lucked into a Kinda Close award during the regular season had a chance to see if their luck still held, with a single shot from 150 yards. Incredibly, more than one medio hit the green during the contest, shocking onlookers.

At the end of the day though, only one medio got it kinda closest. Brett Fuller (TPA) put his ball a remarkable one Subway foot long (10”) away from the pin for the title of Kinda Closest In The World. The award offered some consolation to Fuller, having missed out on taking home a Tiny Big Check by only three strokes.

Back in the banquet hall, the three medios who tied for sixth took their seats and the room started to quiet down. There seemed to be a collective understanding amongst the masses that things were getting real. The next medio to make the coveted walk to the podium would forever have a top 5 finish in a World Championship on his resume.

El Presidente announced there was a two-way tie for fourth at 187 between Dan Anderson (NOCO) and Rob Koth (SF). Koth jumped out of his chair and deftly maneuvered his way to the front of the room, bobbing and weaving through the crowd with the grace of a snow leopard on the hunt.

Meanwhile, Anderson simply sat in his chair, staring into space like a befuddled sloth who had just been snatched from his tree and turned right side up for the first time.

In reality, Anderson’s inability to stand up straight after the round should have been a tiebreaker. To shoot 90 at Revere sober is one thing, but to shoot one with a BAC of 0.90% is something else entirely.

Once El Presidente had hugged Anderson back into his chair, the time had come to announce the top 3 mediocre golfers in the World.

It turned out Pilkerton was not alone in finishing one shot behind Ittner. He was joined at 186 by Rob Nguyen (SF), who impressively made it back to back top 10 WC finishes after taking 9th at MGAWC16.

This tie for second presented both a dilemma and an opportunity. Prior to the event, El Presidente was given a bag of fine leather goods from Patrick Gibbons (AZ). Gibbons is best known for losing in a playoff to Mike McMorrow at the 2015 MGAWC, but he is also known outside the MGA for his top quality Patrick Gibbons Handmade brand.

Gibbons had given El Presidente a luxurious headcover that said "Reserve Champion" on it and had asked that it be given to the first runner-up with the idea that this reserve champion could fulfill the duties of MGA World Champ should tragedy befall the reigning Champion. Tragedies such as a plane crash, a bear attack or a boring person winning The Belt. El Presidente liked the idea, but immediately saw a problem. What would happen in the event of a tie?

Without missing a beat, suggesting that perhaps this thought had already crossed his mind -but more likely revealing his innate reaction to any tied situation- Gibbons shouted, “Shotgunning competition!!”

And so it was.

In the end, it wasn’t even close, which did not come as much of a surprise. That's because while El Presidente was explaining that there would be a tie-breaking competition of some sort, Nguyen was shouting “Shotgunning competition!” over and over. And so, with a dominant victory, Nguyen took the headcover and the title of 2017 Reserve Champion.

Once the stage was clear and all the spilled beer cleaned up -a.k.a. soaked into the carpet- departing Champ Nick Hinton was brought up to say a few words before handing the Belt over to the new Champ.

His inspirational speech was mostly drowned out by the sloshed peanut gallery sitting near the stage. But in spite of those assholes, Hinton ended his Championship year with the same class with which he reigned, by recognizing all the Champs who came before him.

Following Hinton’s speech, El Presidente shared some statistics about the new Champ. He announced that Ittner had won his last four MGA events before coming to Vegas and was 16th on the Kinda Hot list. He had two 88’s and two 86’s in the regular season and never finished worse than 2nd.

And just like that, after 8 months of build-up, it was time to announce the score that would take home the World Championship Belt.

“With a first round score of 87 and second round score of…” El Presidente’s heart stopped. Surely he had made a mistake. There’s no way the World Champ had just shot a 98 to win The Belt. Even in the MGA, a 98 is a long way off a tournament winning score.

El Presidente paused, for what to him felt like an eternity, as hundreds of expectant eyes bared down on him. He fumbled with his computer and clumsily attempted to double check the database hidden on some distant Chrome tab before deciding, "Fuck it. It’s probably right."

“...98 today to take The Belt by one. Your new World Champion from Spokane. Matthew Ittner!!”

The score was right. A Champion was belted.

For the next 12 months -well... 10.5 months at the time of publishing- the MGA's tin-standard will be Matt Ittner up in Spokane. Medios from around the World will follow every move of this once normal golfer, now immortalized with a World Championship title.

El Presidente was fortunate to catch up with the new Champ and captured another classic Ittnerview moments before he boarded the bus back to Sam's Town.

World Headquarters has handed Ittner the keys to the Official MGA World Champ Instagram account. What he chooses to do with it is up to him, but as always, hopes are high that we have witnessed the birth of a new MGA legend...

Have a great off-season and mark your calendars for #MGAWC18! It's the 10th anniversary of the World Championship and is going to be the biggest and best one yet. The course is booked for November 9th & 10th with the usual two days of practice available beforehand. Hope to see all the OG's there!!

-El Presidente

 

 

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Event Results

#NameScore"Money"
1.Matthew Ittner98$1.82
2.Rob Nguyen89$1.11
2.Jeremy Pilkerton94$1.11
4.Dan Anderson90$0.86
4.Rob Koth92$0.86
6.Jason Smith93$0.61
6.Scott Kleinbaum97$0.61
6.Fred Smilow99$0.61
9.Bob G94$0.40
10.Jesse Marty90$0.30
11.Jeff Kenny95$0.12
11.Derek Deffner95$0.12
11.Jason Bowers98$0.12
11.AJ Hicks99$0.12
15.David Armstrong93$0.05
16.Dan Nelson96$0.03
16.Jerry Nuelle96$0.03
16.Rich Zinicola99$0.03
19.David Duran96$0.00
19.Michael DeSio97$0.00
19.Tony Snow98$0.00
19.Mauricio Gomez103$0.00
23.Kevin "Seattle Spreadsheet" Frank93$0.00
23.Robert Martinez92$0.00
23.Erik "The Chef" Angelo97$0.00
23.Larry Morgan101$0.00
23.Diego Esquibel102$0.00
28.Brian Berry97$0.00
28.Bret Fuller97$0.00
28.Dale Williford99$0.00
28.Tim Grimes101$0.00
32.2nd Place Gibbons93$0.00
32.Ryan Hoberg95$0.00
32.Andy Arnone96$0.00
32.Matt Telles101$0.00
32.John James101$0.00
32.Richard Morgan103$0.00
38.Dennis H.96$0.00
39.Kevin Villarreal94$0.00
39.Ray Gonzalez97$0.00
39.Jacy Jackson100$0.00
39.Joseph Sisco100$0.00
39.Tobb Benoit-Benoit 103$0.00
39.Dan Graves111$0.00
45.Dan Lytle95$0.00
45.Michael Halbach95$0.00
45.Jason Avelar96$0.00
48.Bill Morley98$0.00
48.Nick Hinton103$0.00
48.Bobby Barcelona105$0.00
48.Joey St. Germain108$0.00
48.Chase Windham113$0.00
53.Dan Goudy99$0.00
53.Toby Olsen97$0.00
53.Joseph Mancinelli98$0.00
53.Dave Ratajczak101$0.00
57.Sean Supple94$0.00
57.William Davis97$0.00
57.Troy McNeal99$0.00
57.Kenny Carlson100$0.00
57.Marc Gradillas101$0.00
57.Joe Duffy101$0.00
63.Chris Daggett96$0.00
63.Heather Gorey101$0.00
63.Kevin Dale101$0.00
63.Carlos E. Sagel102$0.00
63.George Heard102$0.00
63.Scott Flanigan103$0.00
63.Nate Gardner106$0.00
70.Sean Fay98$0.00
70.Bob LeClair100$0.00
70.Mike Plemons106$0.00
73.Raymond Pierott98$0.00
73.Peter Ford102$0.00
73.John Morley102$0.00
73.Ron Stoppable106$0.00
73.Dan Cantrell106$0.00
73.Rob Kristie109$0.00
79.Jack Haden103$0.00
79.Steven Hiraga106$0.00
79.Greg Valenzuela106$0.00
82.Kevin Martin99$0.00
82.Donald Kaufman101$0.00
82.Todd Jenkins110$0.00
85.Kevin Williams106$0.00
85.brian saito106$0.00
87.Mr. Carter 100$0.00
87.Jesse Carlson102$0.00
87.Pete Bedell105$0.00
87.Kevin Coons105$0.00
87.Justin Davidson106$0.00
87.Matt Elliott109$0.00
87.J Scavo111$0.00
94.Dan Harold97$0.00
94.Hughie Graham102$0.00
94.Jared Hardt103$0.00
94.Shaun "Moose" Morris 105$0.00
94.Bill Nutt108$0.00
94.Kevin Thompson113$0.00
94.Greg Madrid114$0.00

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2018 New Years Resolution: Start drinking whiskey sours.