124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

The Loop

Unbroken (by the stupid weather)

December 23, 2014

My home course has been closed since shortly before Thanksgiving, so we've been playing around. I was traveling (without golf clubs) two Sundays ago, but everyone else played at Tunxis Plantation, which is about an hour from where we live, and last Sunday we went back. I rode with Other Gene. Snow was falling when we left home, and it continued to fall as we drove, and when we were maybe 15 minutes from Tunxis I realized that it was probably going to keep falling and not suddenly melt by the time we got there.


And that's what happened. So we held a conference in the parking lot:


We called every golf course we could think of, and discovered that Stanley and Goodwin, in Hartford, were both closed, but that Fairchild Wheeler, in Fairfield, was not only open but "with greens." The Wheel is just an hour from Tunxis, so that's where we went. Tim showed up as we were pulling out, but he decided to be a good husband by returning home and giving his wife holiday-related opportunities to be angry at him. When the rest of us arrived at the Wheel, a maintenance guy with a leaf blower was removing snow from a putting surface:


We played the Black. The young woman at the desk in the golf shop let us go out as a fivesome after Hacker (real name) assured her that we would play faster than any threesome on the course. And he was telling the truth, because there was a threesome directly ahead of us and we waited on pretty much every shot, including this one, on a long par 3:


Hacker and I took on Gene, Gary, and Kevin (who was visiting from law school). We beat them by three shots, but rather than pocketing our winnings we used them to pay for most of everybody's lunch.


During the cheeseburger course, Gene suggested that we adopt some kind of ongoing off-season competition, analogous to the FedEx Cup, and we all agreed that that was a good idea. Recently, I wrote about some guys in Massachusetts who call themselves the Winter Tour because they play all winter. Borrowing that name seemed easier than making up a new one, so that's what we decided to do. Hacker, as always, will devise the format and the scoring system; my assignment is to talk to the people who make Jagermeister -- the official cold-weather intoxicant of the Sunday Morning Group -- and persuade them to become the Winter Tour's lead sponsor.


If they give us just hats, say, we'll agree to call ourselves something like "the Winter Tour of the Sunday Morning Group (in association with Jagermeister)."


But if they give us shirts in addition to hats, plus maybe some actual Jagermeister, we'd be willing to go as far as "the Jagermeister Tour (in association with the Sunday Morning Group)." Their choice. And if they're really accommodating we'll add their logo to all our other branded merchandise, including our regular hats and our bumper stickers.


The company's headquarters are closed till after the New Year (when the Winter Tour will be playing at Shennecossett, in Groton ) so the actual negotiations won't begin until then. I'm assuming there won't be a problem. I'll post an update as soon as I have the details.