This GCCGL moment was and still is one of GCCGL’s most infamous ones. It inspired the GCCGL creed, “Never question an 8!’
** Footnote – the original post was lost in a 10 alarm fire and despite all attempts, could not be found in the wreckage. Therefore the following is a recreation based on recollection…
It should be noted that before the nick name of Donnie Golf Game was given to Moore, his alias was Sandbagger. This was not his fault, he just benefited from “the system” and when I state “the system” of course I mean the Handicap system. Don’s HC was very high in those days (around 17-18 for nine holes) but he kept improving week in and week out. However his HC wasn’t adjusting down quick enough for some. Consequently this led to many impossible-to-beat matches against the one they call Donnie Golf Game. I played Cletus the week before in another classic match. I can’t remember who won or if we tied but what I do remember is Cletus trying to play head games in order to get any edge he could. So during the days before the Moore/Bloomhuff match I advised Moore to not go for any Cletus nonsense. Don’t take any of his bets, block out any and all trash talk and make Cletus putt every putt. Don’t give him anything! It was some honest advice to try and turn things around on the old man and give him some of his own medicine. Never did I think it would blow up like it did. The rest is GCCGL history.
It was a very hot Spring day, unseasonably hot. Cletus and Donnie Golf Game were matched up and prepared to battle it out. Although Cletus was giving Don a bunch of strokes, he felt he could get in Don’s head and steal some holes. The foursome included Bloomhuff, Moore, Combs and Almeida. As the round progressed, it was evident that it was not to be Cletus’ night. We played the back nine of the Pioneer that day which is a hillier course than the front and we were all walking. Did I mention that it was really hot that day? Anyway, Cletus was in the middle of a first class beat-down by the hand of Donnie Golf Game by the time we got to the Par 5 (#17) hole on the back nine of the Pioneer. Don was striking the ball very well all night long and this hole was no exception. He was on the green in regulation putting for birdie. Me and Combs had putted out first. Meanwhile Cletus was still laboring to get on the green. Back and forth he went, left to right, up and down until he finally makes a chip from down in the right rough approximately a couple of club lengths or so away from the hole. A pretty decent shot considering it was his 7th. On the green in 7. It happens to the best of us. Keep in mind now that Donnie has been eyeing down his birdie shot for several minutes while all this is going on. So here comes Cletus, dragging his old, sweaty, decrepit body up over the ridge onto the green. He spots his ball laying there a few feet away from the hole and yells out, “I’m picking this up for an 8!”. He knew Don won the hole already, I mean he’s putting for birdie and Cletus is laying 7. At this point Moore decides he going to take my advice of not giving ANY putts literally. Even if he’s winning a hole by 4 strokes. So he objects to Cletus and says, “What! You can’t pick that up! I didn’t give it to you!”. Then came the fireworks. Cletus yells out, “It’s for an EIGHT! You’re putting for bird! I’m taking it!” Then as quickly as he said that he changes his mind and says, “F*** it! I’m putting it!” Then we tee off on number 18, and when we reach the green Cletus has another put that is only 2-3 feet out. Now Donnie feels bad and realizes maybe he took it a little too far (the mind games) and he tries to give Cletus the putt and starts walking to his ball to knock it away. Cletus would have none of that, so Cletus runs to his ball and now they are both at the ball pushing and shoving each other away from the ball! Combs and I are quietly watching this all unfold, the only thing missing was some popcorn. I don’t remember for sure but I believe Cletus putted the ball while leaning up again Moore to keep him away from the ball and he sinks it! The ball goes in the hole. He picks up the ball, turns to Don and points in his direction with the ball in hand and yells, “Never question an 8!”.
Once again, I can’t help but feel responsible for what took place that day. I admit, I’m the one who planted the seed in Don’s head. I’m the one who warned Don not to fall for Cletus’ tactics and to turn it around on Cletus by making him putt out everything. Of course I never imagined the ridiculously funny scenario that unfolded. Do I regret it? Hell no! It was one of the funniest moments I’ve experienced on the golf course. I’m not sure what the final score of the Cletus/Moore match was but it was a lopsided victory for Don. For the record, if my memory serves me, Don missed the birdie but tapped in for par. Nice par Don.
George Almeida, GCCGL Co-Commissioner