Whenever rain is in the forecast, even if it’s only a 20 percent chance of showers, play at my club goes way down. Seeing a thunderstorm icon in their web browser apparently causes many members to make non-golf plans for the day. On Sunday, twenty guys showed up for our regular game—a good turnout—but we had the course to ourselves until noon, I think because the Weather Channel icon that morning had lightning bolts in it. There was enough drizzle at one point to make me put on rain gloves, but there was never any lightning or even real rain, and the sun was shining by the time we finished. Our club’s website has a weather app. Maybe someone could modify it to show lightning bolts all the time.
In honor of the Ryder Cup, we used scorecards from Medinah, which Hacker (real name) had downloaded from the club’s website. (We did the same thing during the PGA Championship with scorecards from the Ocean Course at Kiawah.) The only real effect was to shuffle the holes where the handicap strokes fell, but using the scorecard of a major venue is a respectful way to acknowledge the efforts of the big boys, and, besides, variety is interesting.
We also randomly divided into Ryder Cup teams—ten guys representing the United States and ten representing Europe—and played five four-ball matches, for one point each. I was on the U.S. team, which won, 4½ points to ½. We all assumed that the real U.S. team would win, too, by annihilating the Europeans in the singles matches, in the afternoon. Imagine our surprise. The Sunday Morning Group’s record in using golf to predict important events is now 2-1-0; matches of ours correctly called the outcome of the 2008 presidential election and the 2012 Super Bowl.
We’ll play our Presidential Special game again on Election Day. It was created by Tim, who is the inventor of several core concepts, including negative skins, “shooting your pants,” and the mathematical formula by which we predict the winning team score in our regular Sunday games (13 minus the lowest handicap in the field, times -1). Half the field will represent Obama and half Romney, and each hole will have an Electoral College value equal to the sum of its number and its handicap stroke index.(Our 16th hole has a stroke index of 17, so it’s worth 33 electoral votes—16 plus 17.) An entire golf course adds up to 342 electoral votes—172 needed to win.
Future trivia question: Who made the winning putt in the 2012 Ryder Cup Matches? Answer: It wasn’t Martin Kaymer, whose 1-up victory over Steve Stricker guaranteed only a 14-14 tie (and thus a European “retention” of the trophy). The winning putt was the short par putt that Tiger Woods conceded to Francesco Molinari on the eighteenth hole, because their halved match gave Europe a 14½ -13½ victory. If Tiger had made his putt, 2012 would have been the third tie in Ryder Cup history.