THE HEMISPHERE CUP
16th Hemisphere Cup – Cruden Bay, Scotland
May 14th/15th, 2015
Not since 2005 when the Hemisphere Cup visited Royal Dornoch has the match been held at such a northerly location ( 57.4181° to be precise). There was much hope within the Northern team that this return to the North would bring a much needed change in fortune over the events of 2014 when they lost narrowly to the South 6.5 to 5.5. Cruden Bay had long been on my list of venues for the Hemisphere Cup, having played it once before with Hemisphere Cup legend Julian Solecki in 1996 whilst I was working in Aberdeen. Therefore, it was a delight to return and the course and location did not disappoint. It was also a delight to see David Whiteing return for his 16th, unbroken, Hemisphere Cup appearance. David Burns did not make this year’s tournament claiming some self inflicted injury from building a zip line in the garden (you would not see Rory Mcilroy playing football and risking injury ahead of a Major.....now I come to think of it...........).
The result, however, was not a delight for the North. The score was identical to the previous year (6.5 to 5.5) with the opening Fourballs proving the difference as every other session was shared.
The match very nearly did not start as the Southern team was slow to arrive due to some car hire shenanigans at Aberdeen Airport. Some shuffling around with the starter was negotiated, and despite desperate claims by the North to have points deducted, the match kicked off about 60 minutes late.
The Match Summary
Round 1 – Fourballs (Thursday PM)
The draw was made at lunch and it is not often that golf pairings make you smile. Charles Bronson did.
The course was in great condition and Sarge and Alex were first into bat against Andy and Brandon and they never looked in danger as the North won 5&4. Next up was Ollie and Mike who lost to Jan and David 2&1. Last out were Charles and Pete who never got going and were comfortably beaten by Bronson and Magnus 6&5. At the end of the day it was two points to the South and one point to the North.
Round 2 – Fourballs (Friday AM)
A big set of Fourballs was required form the North to get back into contention and quickly they fell behind in two of the three games. Only Sarge (who was playing top matchplay golf) and Mike (who was keeping Sarge company) looked like delivering the result and went on to win 5&4 againt Jan and Andy. Charles and Ollie were always behind and despite clinging on hard they eventually went down 4&3 to David and Magnus. Bronson and Brandon quickly went 4 up against Alex and Pete but could not shake them off. Alex and Pete fought back hard and were one down playing the 17th when Pete holed a monster putt (Pete does not chip when he can putt) from miles left of the green for a four, net birdie. What followed were the most disgraceful scenes seen on a golf course since Jason Leonard holed a monster against Jose Maria Olazabal at the 1999 Ryder Cup at Brookline. The North celebrated wildly and Bronson missed his own putt. The match went down the 18th all square, Pete drove into the burn on the right (something he did on every round) but Alex managed to half the hole with Brandon in fours. One of the great Hemisphere Cup matches had been halved.
The session had been shared and in the end the South would go into the singles 3.5 points to 2.5 points in the lead.
Round 3 – Singles (Friday PM)
The wind was picking up and the weather was looking decidedly rough when the single games kicked off in the afternoon.
Charles likes to play quick and so he was sent out to lead the Northern fight back from the front against Andy. The fight back did not last long and Charles was beaten into submission 5&4 and he was last seen considering if it was time for his old trusty 4 wood to be retired from active service.
Alex followed up his morning half by restoring some pride in the North with a 5&4 victory over Brandon. However the odds swung heavily back in the direction of the South when Ollie was seen off 7&5 by Bronson to give the South a 5.5 to 3.5 lead.
Briefly the match was back in the balance as Sarge and Pete put the match level on 5.5 points each with hard fought victories over David (2&1) and Magnus (1 up) respectively. The South though held firm and Jan brought home the cup with a 5&4 victory over Mike in the battle of the long handled putters.
So it was all over and the South had won by 6.5 to 5.5.
David remains the competitions highest points scorer with 27.5 points. He also retains the Airmile Award for distance travelled to attend an event. Mike and Andy have both won 23.5 points.
The Captains Cup
The Captains Cup was awarded to Ian Elliott due to some strange clerical error.