June 18, 2008

Battle of the O'Toole brothers

Back row, left to right: Gus Franzetta, Bob Reed, Dana Male, Jerry Novak Jr., Williams Getchell, Mike O'Toole, Matt Ginella, Bryan O'Toole, Aaron Smigelski, Tom Smigelski, David Allen. Front row, left to right: Jim Snyder, Frank Zawislak, Richard Allen, Scott Battaglia, Shannon Coble, Steve Pasley.

Back row, left to right: Gus Franzetta, Bob Reed, Dana Male, Jerry Novak Jr., Williams Getchell, Mike O'Toole, Matt Ginella, Bryan O'Toole, Aaron Smigelski, Tom Smigelski, David Allen. Front row, left to right: Jim Snyder, Frank Zawislak, Richard Allen, Scott Battaglia, Shannon Coble, Steve Pasley.

Bryan O'Toole was hitting last in the afternoon scramble of the 12th annual O'Toole Invitational. His foursome's best approach shot on the par-4 seventh at Hunters Creek in Orlando was in a greenside bunker. One after another, O'Toole's partners sent line drives screaming over the green. Then, just before O'Toole dug his spikes into the sand, I couldn't help but state the obvious: "Bryan, this is a pressure situation."

O'Toole replied under his breath, "I get 'em all the time." Then two hops and a drop -- he canned it. "When's the last time you did that?" asked Bob Reed. "Never," said O'Toole. "I was due."

I ambushed the O'Toole Invitational in Orlando with a dozen golf balls, mini-kegs of beer, two lunches and a dinner. "We've never come up with an official name," said O'Toole. "We've always said that if someone dies, we'd memorialize them. So far no one's died -- that's a good thing I guess," he said, laughing.

Sixteen family, friends and co-workers from Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida have been getting together for an annual golf trip ever since O'Toole's wife, Sue, started the tradition as a gift for her husband's 30th birthday.

I've learned that behind every good buddies trip is a great woman, or great women. They support it, take care of the kids at home, help plan it, or all of the above. I've also learned, in some cases, it's the women who can bring a trip to a stop.

Jerry Novak Sr. is on a buddies-trip timeout. Last year he phoned home for a total of 58 seconds. "Ma didn't appreciate that," said Jerry Novak Jr. "So Pops had to skip this year."

Seven years ago O'Toole and his younger brother, Mike, decided on a Ryder Cup format in the morning and scrambles for cash in the afternoon. Team O'Toole vs. Team O'Toole. This year it was eight on eight. "In years past we've had as many as 32 guys -- which was miserable," said Mike. "It was way too many."

Byran O'Toole had never won a scramble or the Cup. He was 0 for 6 against his little brother. This year Bryan's team won the scramble, due in large part to the sandy-birdie at Hunters Creek. Dana Male scored the winning point for Bryan's team in his singles match on the final day of competition.

Hey, Bryan O'Toole was due.



TRIP REPORT

COORDINATORS: Bryan & Mike O'Toole

LODGING: Two houses, Florida Fantasy Homes

GOLF: 7½ rounds in five days

COURSES: Remington G.C.(18);

Eagle Creek G.C.(36);

Orange County National (27);

Hunters Creek G.C. (36);

Orange Lake C.C. (18)

TOTAL COST PER MAN (AIRFARE NOT INCLUDED): $660