Home Forums The World Am Bulletin Board 25 years…my story

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  • #51655
    Louie Phipps
    Participant

    This might get a little long, but hopefully most of you will find this interesting, ESPECIALLY BOB NEWMAN, I really look forward to your comments…

    I played in my first World Am 25 years ago (1998). I was in the Senior Men’s division and playing courses that ranged around 6200-6400 yards. Four years ago, I graduated to the SEASONED Seniors division (80 years old and older) and last year we played courses between 5300-4700 yards. Let me assure you that when you reach your 80’s you will understand why we play such short courses…!! I never had to use my World Am index in any of those 25 tournaments because I never had a 4-round total that was under my handicap. I never placed in the money in those 25 years. The best I could do was a 6th, 7th twice and an 8th (this was all after we went to 50 players per flight and paying 5 places). The only thing I ever won was a few low net for the day prizes. BUT I kept coming back time after time because I KNEW that I could play to my handicap. I just needed to do it during World Am week.

    Last year I did 2 things different, hoping I could somehow gain an advantage AND play a little better. First, I invested the extra dollars and came down one week early. I played all 4 of my tournament courses, playing one every other day and in reverse order so that I would play my first course (Myrtlewood) on Sunday and then again the very next day on Monday. I didn’t worry about my scores. I was just making notes about where NOT to hit the ball and recording club selections in my yardage books. The second thing I did was to closely check my travel time to each course so that I would arrive at least 1 hour early. That way, I could make sure I was driving the cart, relax, get everything organized, hit a few practice putts and be ready to tee off when I got to the first tee box. My low index for last year was 17.6. The previous 3 years, my low index for the year was 15.5, 18.0 and 15.7.

    After the practice rounds and the early arrival, I felt I was ready for Myrtlewood on Monday. We played lift, clean and place because of all the rain over the previous few days. I started out bogey, par, par, par for the first 4 holes and I was feeling really comfortable with myself, THEN it started raining on the 5th hole and over the next 9 holes I had a quadruple bogey, a triple and 2 doubles, winding up with a gross score of 92, net 82. (Bob Newman – slope 110.0, rating 64.9, differential -27.8) My reaction…here we go again!! I just blew myself out of the World Am on the very first day!!

    BUT the Seasoned Senior division is very different from the other divisions. There are not many of us trying to play tournament golf when we’re 80+ years old, so we only had 65 total entries in the division, too many for one flight, and so we only had 32 players in my flight (53) and 33 players in flight 54. When I looked up the flight results on my phone (in case you weren’t there, the WA staff decided to NOT print flight standing sheets last year), I was in 16th place and only 7 shots out of 3rd place. I went to bed with a good attitude, got a good night’s sleep and arrived at Thistle early, put my bag on the driver’s side, relaxed and went out and shot a nifty little gross 84, net 72. (Bob – slope 112.0, rating 66.7, differential -17.5). Suddenly I had moved into 3rd place, just one shot out of the lead. Got another good night’s sleep and arrived at Tigers Eye the next day to hear the pro announce that once again we were playing lift, clean and place because of conditions on the course. Today, I finally did what I KNEW I was capable of. I shot a nice gross 78, net 68. (Bob – slope 109.0, rating 65.2, differential -12.2) My current GHIN index was 18.9 after the previous 2 rounds were posted and the 78 reduced me to a 17.8.

    The strong differential resulted in a 1-stroke “exceptional score reduction” when I posted my score. I didn’t know what that would mean to the WA people, but felt that I might be looking at a 1 shot/per day reduction in my handicap. I was a little surprised late that afternoon when I saw that I had moved into 1st place and had an 8-shot lead, with no adjustment. I couldn’t help but let the thought of “maybe this is finally my year” enter into my mind. I didn’t sleep all that well, thinking about how I could blow this opportunity. When I arrived at MBN SouthCreek on Thursday I was thrilled to find us playing lift, clean and place again, but was really disappointed that the WA staff had decided to abandon placing the top 8 players together on the first tee box. I was fortunate to have one of the second-place guys in my group so I could have something to gauge my play on. Well, I held it together, went out and shot a gross 80, net 71. (Bob – slope 110.0, rating 63.2, differential -18.3). I finished the 4 days NET 5 OVER PAR.

    I went in the clubhouse for some lunch and sat with several of the guys that I had played with during the week. They all felt that I had won my flight. I shot a gross 80 to the 2nd place player’s 82, so I knew I had beaten him. After finishing lunch, I went to my car, got in and turned the A/C on. My cell phone rang. I didn’t answer it because there was no name with the number, so I let it go to voice mail. The caller left a message and said he was with the World Am. He asked me to call him back. I felt it was probably about informing me of my tee time tomorrow in the flight winners playoff. We finally connected and he told me that “there were some questions about my handicap and my scores and that I had become ineligible for any prizes or to play in the flight winners playoff tomorrow”. He said something about my scores being “suspicious” (or something to that effect). He also said that my scores and my handicap “just don’t match.” I asked him who could I appeal this to and he told me there was no appeal route. He said that I could come to room 101 that night and discuss it but the decision would not change. Essentially, he told me that he could not overrule the decision. Before I hung up, I told him that I would visit him in room 101 that evening. However, when I returned to my condo, I went to the World Am web site to access some details on the handicap process. After quite a bit of searching, I found a section titled “The Committee”. It was there that I read a statement that there was no route for appeal. And then, one of my friends called to tell me they had looked at the flight standings for the previous day and my name had disappeared and was nowhere to be found…I had been officially VAPORIZED. No one would ever know that I had played in this event, the World Am would be keeping my $599 entry fee and my $600 gift card and my spot in the flight winners play-off would be given to the second place guy that shot 17 over par for the 4 days. So, I decided to just make me a strong drink and sit in my beach chair beside the ocean and let the proceedings of the past couple of hours sink in.

    Several days later I wrote a long 8-page letter to WA to vent and explain my issues. One of the issues I raised was that I felt that I have been branded a “cheater” to the world. Their response was “Nobody has branded you a cheater. Far from it. When we make these difficult decisions, it can be perceived as wrongdoing. However, it more often than not is a ‘lightning in a bottle’ scenario. Unfortunately, in an event where you are paired with a group of your peers there should not be major outliers (IE: leading by 17 strokes).” At the very end of the letter, they closed by saying “You simply caught lightning in a bottle which you should be very proud of”. What….!!! Since when is “lightning in a bottle” not rewarded…??

    In the days that followed, I have come to grips with this whole situation. The World Am has every right to disqualify players for practically any reason. I believe that in the registration materials there is a disclaimer of some kind that we have to sign and then we have no recourse.

    I’m at peace knowing that I played fair and square and finally came up with 3 days of the kind of golf that I knew I was capable of. I didn’t win a trophy, but 2 of my golfing buddies that have played in the World Am for many years actually bought me a “World Am” trophy and had it engraved as the winner of flight 53. I also have the scorecards that attest to my play. The one thing that I still regret is not having the chance to play in the flight winners playoff. Considering the zone that I was in, I think I would have had a decent chance to win the whole thing at 83 years old. What kind of story would that have been……???

    #51656
    Les Robison
    Participant

    I really enjoyed your story Louie. I think that it is the worry many of us players have.
    Luckily(or unluckily) I haven’t had your problem of having played 3 very good rounds, but I too would be upset also.
    Wishing you the best.

    #51659
    Tony Robison
    Participant

    An 18 handicapper is not going to shoot 78/80……ever

    No matter playing the courses early. You haven’t done it on your home course in perfect weather (unless you didn’t post). So the fact is your handicap didn’t represent your true potential shows in fact you did cheat. Which is evidenced by your own statement “doing what you were capable of doing”

    #51661
    Bill Eslick
    Participant

    For Tony…
    I cannot, totally, agree with your statement…I have been golfing for over 40 years…I seem to be a perpetual (near) 18 handicap and have once shot a 79 (a few decades back) and just a few years ago I shot a career best 78…I am fairly consistent off the tee and approach shots…sadly my Parkinson’s affects my putting…very rarely do I have fewer than 40 putts a round…for my 78 I only had 27 putts… it can, and does, happen…as for happening a number of rounds in a row…that might be a different story.. jus my opinion…btw I am the very proud shooter of 6 hole-in-ones…another very rare feat…

    #51662
    Mike Sigmon
    Participant

    Great Story Louie,
    As to Tony I agree with Bill It can happen for a 18 handicap to shoot a 78/80 We have a guy at one of the courses we play at that runs a tournament every year it is flighted after the first round with a bust out number that’s drawn and posted in a envelope after play starts on Sundays for each flight he had a guy with a 12 handicap come in on the first day of the tournament a few years ago with a 66 -6 so this 12 handicap guy was leading the championship flight by 1 shot. He came back the next day with a 70 -2 and finished 2nd in the championship flight This guy has played in this tournament for 10 years and is always in the 3rd or 4th flight so yes people do have days when they play great for a few rounds. And by the way the past 3 year this 12 Handicapper has not come close to par in this tournament..lol Anyway it sucks to be DQ after playing for 25 years with all those scores to go back and look at and clearly see there is no pattern of a sand bagger in his scores. ( You can look on the home page under about and past results )And just because he put together 3 good rounds after 25 years of faithfully playing in the tournament you are welcomed by a phone call telling you that your scores or suspicious or something like that I think he said. If he had only played here for 1 or 2 years and this happen yea I agree that you need to look at a person that has a score like that but not after playing 25 years and finally you put together 3 good rounds NO I don’t think a DQ was in order for this Louie. You pay you hard earned $ to come have fun and hopefully win your flight NOT to be DQ because you just happen to play well for one week after 25 years!!!
    As I said above if you have people who have came and played in the W/AM for 10 or more years you have a history of their scores and if they are playing to a wrong handicap or not…People do have good rounds that’s much better than their handicap. And should not be penalized because they just happen to have a great week after 25 years..
    On the other hand if this had been Louie’s first or 2nd year then yep the DQ would have more than likely been in order !!!

    #51663
    Louie Phipps
    Participant

    I need to correct something. Tony and Mike are thinking that I am an 18 handicap. My INDEX last year was 17.6, but my COURSE HANDICAP was much lower because of the forward tees that the seasoned seniors were playing. I had a handicap of 10 at Myrtlewood, 12 at Thistle, 10 at Tiger’s Eye and 9 at MBN Southcreek.

    #51665
    john dickie
    Participant

    Tony, you do realize that you made a
    mistake by saying a 18 hcp can’t ever shoot a 78-80.

    #51666
    Christopher Smith
    Participant

    I think what most people don’t realize is a couple of things.

    Whatever your handicap is, you are supposed to shoot that score once on average every 10 to 20 rounds. I’ve heard so many times, I’m not putting that round in because it lowers my handicap. That is the point. A handicap is not to be manipulated in any way at all. Put in EVERy score and prove that you can shoot what you shoot. That’s why people are DQ’d when they come in shooting scores they are actually capable of but never put them in due to how they want to compete outside of a tournament like this one.

    Tournament golf is not easy, so you have two camps. Athletes that know how to compete and can get in the right state of mind to shoot consistent scores or cheaters that fall into the above category that I explained. While you aren’t likely nefarious in your “cheating”, it is disingenuous to not enter every single score regardless of how high or how low. You have to have a proper history to indicate you can do this type of scoring.

    I hate seeing people DQ’d but we have to be 100% honest all the time.

    #51667
    Keith Stephens
    Participant

    Chris,

    You wrote, “Whatever your handicap is, you are supposed to shoot that score once on average every 10 to 20 rounds.”

    If you shot your handicap only once every 10-20 rounds, it wouldn’t be your handicap….not even close. Look at the USGA or GHIN websites….or Google “How often should you shoot your handicap?” You will see that ALL sources are in agreement. You should shoot your handicap approximately 25% of the time….or once every 4-5 rounds. NOT once every 10-20 rounds.

    But I do agree with you. No one likes a sandbagger. Post your scores….all of them. It’s that simple. Some golfers rise to the occassion and play some of their best golf in tournaments. Others get nervous and choke.

    There’s no perfect method for the WA Staff to hold every golfer accountable for their scores. One of my closest friends that I’ve met playing golf in MYR was DQ’d several years ago in the WA. No way is he a cheater or a sandbagger. The WA Staff got it wrong with him. Conversely, I have played with someone at the WA who, let’s just say, made some very questionable “rulings” during the round. No DQ for him. It’s not a perfect system, but trying to keep up with 3200+ golfers over 4 days is kind of like herding cats…some will “get away” no matter what you do.

    #51671
    david tiano
    Participant

    All,
    This will be my 17th year so I have seen a lot of Adjustments and Disqualified players over the years.

    Louie, I feel for you. I believe in your prep work prior to last years event as I do that every year and usually find my self “competing” or playing well.

    Chris, You are correct that a handicap “REQUIRES” all scores to be recorded nothing else. I joined a club that uses Golf Genius and our Pro Shop Staff post our scores after each round. If I play anywhere else I post it correctly by not posting anything over a NET Double Bogie.

    The WA staff has said over and over it is statistically impossible to have a have a player score 3 OF our 4 tournament rounds at or below your correct index. They have posted and emailed us all links and stories on how this cannot happen and if someone does, it’s a disqualification as it is there job to protect the field and the tournament.

    I don’t remember when this current group of WA management took over running the event but they do the best job over the last two groups of management.
    In 2006 (my first year) the event was nicknamed “The sandbagger open” and one of the players told me that if you came in with a correct handicap you were 2-4 shots per day behind on the field.
    I had fun and encouraged friends to come with me and they said that didn’t want to play in that tournament because of all the cheating.

    I am thankful that this has been corrected and we have moved on to better management of this event.

    #51673
    Tony Robison
    Participant

    So your story about being an 18 wasn’t true. You failed in your initial story to tell people you were playing the forward/executive tees.

    I would still say if you’re playing the forward tees at home (which I suspect you do otherwise why play the in a tournament) and still are an 18 then you’re not posting all your scores.

    You’re a sandbagger and you got caught. No way you’re going to shoot consecutive best days ever during a tournament is total BS

    What was your differential for those two days? To find that just look at your handicap record, if you posted

    #51674
    Tony Robison
    Participant

    From the Pope of Slope

    What are the odds of that 16-handicapper breaking 80?
    Knuth: The odds of someone beating their handicap — if it’s an honest handicap — by eight strokes are 1,138 to 1. For most players that represents about 54 years of golf — a lifetime for many. The odds of beating your number by eight strokes twice are 14,912 to 1, or 710 years of golf.

    #51676
    Christopher Smith
    Participant

    Sorry, Keith, you are correct, every 4 to 5. Not sure why I got it wrong, but hey, got it wrong. But still, tournament golf is hard let alone regular golf. To shoot at or below your handicap is ridiculous for amateurs four days in a row in a tournament. Just put all of your scores folks! Show you can be consistent or you’ll find the door.

    #51701
    Charles Mines
    Participant

    Great story Louie….

    Like you (and many of us) I also worry about “catching lighting in a bottle”. This coming year will the 9th one for me. I will be 59 at Tee Time this year and I thoroughly enjoy the entire week I’m in MB (it’s MY VACATION 4 ME!!!). During the year I play in two different nationwide Amateur Leagues. I have always had at least 20 tournament rounds played before my handicap is due, so my scores are out there and very true. Plus, the scores from the World AM.

    I have the capability to shoot a low score here and there…. and that’s what scares me the most when playing in the WA. My goal every time I tee up is the break 80. I have been lucky enough to do it once this year to win a tournament (79 & 80). I am a long hitter (especially for my age, won the longest drive the past 2 years and 5 times out of the past 8 years). The tournaments I play, we play around 6200-6400 yards. At the WA I’m playing 200 – 400 yards less, for me every Par 5 at the WA is basically a long Par 4 (and that’s my advantage). If I can keep that ONE bad round at bay, I think I could win my flight and by 5-6 strokes. I would very upset if I was disqualified for “Playing 4 days to my potential or a bit better”. I’d rather for “The Committee” to adjust my handicap for that day (make it much lower, make me play and concentrate even more). I just think that’s more a fair way ESPECIALLY for those who have been at the WA for several years and their handicap scores are out there for everyone to see.

    I just think getting penalized for having a couple of good rounds is just BAD and WRONG. For some people they wouldn’t come back anymore and then they would tell their friends about it (more potential participants lost). And not to mention what would then be posted on Social Media. As much as I love coming the MB and playing in this… I could easily play some EXTREMELY nice courses in FL, AZ, CA or even Hilton Head (for about the same cost I pay for travel and lodging in MB). Hopefully “The Committee” will take some of these responses to heart….

    @Louie, you should get a shirt that says “I to DQ’d for being TOO GOOD at the WA” (then post your scores on the back). 😀

    #51705
    Mike Sterner
    Participant

    I remember my first year in 1986….winning score at WA net 54-52-56-53. Those were interesting days

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