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2010's eagerly anticipated ROGS tour took us back to Portugal after last year successful trip. This year however the venue was Vilamoura where the ROGS were last seen cutting up the fairways some 3 years. A party of over 20 ventured including 14 so called golfers. Graeme ‘Honest’ Price could not wait for the trip because as you will be aware anywhere the “honest” goes, so does his bookmakers board!! Although word on the street was there was a influx of money waged at some rather high prices anti post on Mr Price himself…………would this come back to haunt him we all asked?!
The flight was smooth, and even I had a safe trip snuggled between the window seat and “Tiny” Merritt…….could life get any better I asked myself?
The first morning, we made our way to Pinhal to play for “The Bantry Bay Tray”, somewhat bleary eyed, however full of high spirit.
The starter looking more tanned then than David Dickinson could hardly believe his eyes as the first four ball all hit their tee shots straight down the middle..…..of the neighbouring gardens, driveways and verandas!! The course a challenging test of golf with the majority of golfers coming in between 25 and 30 points. In third position John 'The Bull' Pitts with 32 points, in second was myself on a more than respectable 33 points, however the winner was ‘Tiny’ Merritt on 34 points having shown no signs of fatigue after a long, arduous, hot, sweaty day driving his buggy around the course!!
We then had 2 days R & R where you could catch up on the local culture, take a walk around the beautiful marina with its plethora of cafes, shops and bars, not to mention copious amounts of £1million pound super yachts, or alternatively do what a few members of the super ROGS did, lay round the pool, play cards and carry on getting ‘Super Boked’!!
After another early start, or a late night for me we travelled to Villa Sol to play for “The French Open”, another beautiful tree lined course where your truly was in the prizes again coming third with 31 points, second was ‘Tiny’ Merritt with 32 points, however in first was ‘Tich’ White, also with 32 points winning on count back.
The third course was the best of the lot, a course that we played last time we were here, and everybody was eager to play again, it was The Old Course, playing for “The Middleton Cup”. We were led away by “The Nurrish” who was looking resplendent in his sky blue knee length Harare Golf Club socks and with the aroma of freshly smoked shag from his pipe wafting into the Portuguese air the day could not of started better !! The wildlife was abundant, although the only birdies to be recorded by the ROGS was the sound of woodpeckers and the stray Titleist were bouncing from tree to tree, in particular from John ‘The Bull’ Pitts driver!! Again this proved to be a testing course with “Tiny” Merritt coming third with 29 points, ‘Two Tones’ in second with 32 points; however this proved to be a moving day for ‘Honest’, who won with a magnificent 42 points which is a truly magnificent score round that course!!
The same weekend as the ROGS were in Vilamoura, the European Tour was also there playing, I am pleased to say that Darren Clarke, one of the Ryder Cup vice captains also become an honorary member of the ROGS without even knowing it when after downing 9 pints of Guinness in the same bar as the ROGS the night before he three putted from 2 feet!!
We then had a thrilling climax set up to the tour, where the final round was at Laguna for ‘The Foto Island Pint’. The day seemed to live up the hype surrounding it when the final four ball stood on the 17th tee with only 2 points separating pre tournament favourite ‘Honest’ & ‘Tiny’ the pressure of winning the ‘Tourist Trophy’ getting to both of them who failed to score a single point on the final two holes!! In third position on the day was ‘Tiny’ Merritt on 26 points, in second on count back with Martin ‘I had to win a medal on tour’ Debenham, and the winner with 28 points was ‘Two Tones’ Jarred.
As previously mention, congratulations goes to Graeme ‘Honest’ Price who won the ‘Tourist Trophy’ with a combined score over the four days of 123 points, in second was ‘Tiny’ Merritt with 121, and in third was Ian ‘Two Tones’ Jarred with 118.
Other winners from the week were “Two Tones” and your truly who romped to victory in the pairs competition.
I can honestly say a memorable tour for all of us, and in particular from me, however another huge success. A special presentation was made to “The Spy” who had yet again organised us all superbly, and quite simply without him, there would not be a tour!!
Shaun “Brumastiff” Brady