Editorial Column

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Go ahead and tell all of those golf affecionados that they can keep their Masters, British Opens, and Player's Championships, because on Saturday, Yampa Valley Golf Course played host to one of the best tournaments in the history of golf.

Well, maybe not the best tournament in the history of golf, but the Taylor rippy white (TRW) Invitational was definitely one of the best types of tournaments in the history of golf.

In this hacker's opinion, I truly believe there has never been a greater tournament invented, in either amateur or professional golf, than the five-person scramble.

The scramble format, more commonly known as best ball or preferred ball, incorporates everything that is good about golf (long drives, great putts, beverage carts and low scores), while also creating an instant team feeling among four or five people who most likely have never met before.

The scramble format has become a tradition of sorts; bachelor parties, high school booster clubs, and Father's Day tournaments have spread like wildfire throughout our nation's golf courses.

What makes this type of tournament so great is that you don't have to be a very good golfer to have a very good time.

Granted, at most scrambles there is a team or two entered that has been specifically coordinated to include a former Nike tour member, a current collegiate standout, the local club pro and a duffer much like myself.

After all, as the old saying goes, "If you're not cheating, you're not trying."

And most of the time, it's safe to say that a team of that caliber hasn't been organized by any of the first three in the bunch. It's usually the hack in the back that makes the recruiting phone calls necessary in creating a squad of this quality.

Saturday's TRW tourney was a blind-draw, though, meaning that none of the groups were preset or loaded up, and that anything could happen.

More often than not, and forgive me if I go a little Twainish here (that's Mark, not Shania, kids), but for this hopeless linkster, a round of golf is rarely more than "a good walk ruined."

With the invention of the scramble, though, all of the unnecessary aspects of the game seem to magically disappear.

You hit a ball into the drink, no problem, there's still four people left that can save your sorry butt. That's not going to happen on a regular, Mulligan-filled round. Once the team aspect is introduced, though, golf can once again become fun.

And, if only some of these golfer's children could see how their parents behave on the course.

This point was illustrated no better than on one of our final holes Saturday afternoon. Our team was made up of Steamboat City Councilman Ken Brenner, House of Representatives Seargant-at-Arms, Tom Wills, his friend, Pioreno Benallo, Greeley Gas Company's Rob Mosher, and myself.

As he had been doing all day, Wills was in the midst of pulling us out of yet another jam, and once again did so by holing a remarkable eagle chip from 55 yards out.

I, being the "youngster" of the group, proceeded to jump around in a circle, clapping my hands and cheering. However, after coming full-circle, what I saw stopped me dead in my tracks.

In the middle of the fairway, in plain sight of the clubhouse, was Brenner, Wills and Mosher jumping around in circles and waving their arms like a group of third-graders rooting for their friends at a Field Day potato sack race.

Amazing.

It isn't everyday that you're giving high-fives and fist bumps to someone who works at the Capitol.

And even though a member or two of our squad may have given a little thought to breaching, bending, or slightly manipulating the rules, once again, Wills was there to keep us in line, and who would have thunk that?

Never in a million years would I have guessed that in order to keep things on the straight and narrow, we would have to leave it to a politician to keep the rest of us honest.

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