Gray day for golf

Rain can‘t dampen chamber’s Ryder Cup, American victory


There were nearly three dozen rain apparel-clad men sitting under the canopy-covered patio enjoying a cigar while watching other golfers finish their 27-hole play in Tuesday’s Third Annual Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce Ryder Cup.

At approximately 5:22 p.m., with the afternoon’s rain still beating down on the well-manicured Potowomut Country Club layout, Cup co-chairman Phil Slocum shouted, “Americans 43½, Euros 36½ ... the Americans win the Ryder Cup!”

A far different chant than Sunday’s surprise silence at Medinah Country Club in Illinois where the Europeans erased a seemingly insurmountable 10-4 deficit and stormed back for their record setting 14½ to 13½ triumph over the Americans to win professional golf’s prestigious Ryder Cup.

Almost as soon as Slocum made his announcement, chants of “USA, USA” filled the damp air and people immediately began congratulating each other as well as Jim Irving, who captained the Americans team in Tuesday’s tournament.

But the 32-player Americans weren’t the only success story in this year’s Ryder Cup, which is the Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce’s single largest fundraiser of the year.

First and foremost, proceeds from the tournament enable the chamber to continue its support and improve its services for the local business community.

Perhaps that is why Irving, who is president of Greenwood Credit Union, only needed a second to say “done” when Slocum and a small group of Ryder Cup officials asked him to sponsor this year’s Ryder Cup.

Slocum and a few committee people, including his wife Lauren E.I. Slocum, who is the Chamber’s president and CEO, took Irving to lunch in hopes of securing Greenwood Credit Union’s sponsorship. Almost as soon as Irving asked Slocum what he wanted, the Americans captain didn’t hedge and said, “Done!”

“I didn’t have to think twice,” Irving told the entire 72-player field and Ryder Cup officials during Tuesday’s post-tourney awards ceremony. “I simply said ‘Done.’ This is an important event for the Chamber, our local business community and the golf community.”

Almost as quickly as Irving agreed to his sponsorship, the sound of cheers, whistles and a thunderous roar of handclapping filled the banquet room that overlooks the 18th green at the ageless Warwick-based country club.

Yet another success in Tuesday’s Ryder Cup was that Peregrine Property Management signed on as the Europeans team sponsor.

BankRI sponsored the Americans team gifts and PuroClean did likewise for the Europeans. Slocum Realty-Insurance and SMT Capital, LLC paid for the lunch. Lynch’s was the beverage sponsor.

Bentley Wealth Advisors, LLC and Dr. Stephen Montaquila of West Bay Associates sponsored the Ryder Cup’s 19th hole.

Rhode Island automobile dealer Ed Tarbox teamed with Slocum Insurance to offer a new 2013 Toyota Rav4 for a golfer who sank a hole-in-one. Unfortunately, no one won the vehicle.

To further enhance the Central RI Chamber’s reputation for hosting a well organized and professional-like golf tournament, a total of 31 local businesses placed their names on tee signs.

Even the post-Ryder Cup awards ceremony featured the camaraderie that went on during the 27-hole event, during which golfers were divided into two teams and a golfer and his partner played a match against another pair from the opposite side.

“This was another great Ryder Cup,” said Brandon Kane, who captained the Europeans, as he presented the nearly four-foot high trophy to Irving. “We don’t like giving up this Cup, but we want you to enjoy it ... we’ll be taking it back next year.”

If Tuesday’s third annual Ryder Cup offers any measuring stick, the Chamber may have to look for new ways to make the 2013 tourney better.

“What a great day and great event,” said David E. Revens, lawyer and partner with Revens, Revens & St. Pierre of Warwick, while enjoying the post-Ryder Cup buffet. “No one seemed to mind the rain, either.”

Irving and his partner Joe Lajoie matched skills against the Kane-Mick Hogan duo.

“The competition was so much fun,” Irving said, after drying off from his late afternoon finish in a downpour. “We at Greenwood Credit Union are proud to sponsor such a great, great event.”

For other area businessmen like Peter Stevens, who owns and operates Peter’s Coney Island Restaurant on West Shore Road, the Ryder Cup provided an opportunity to spend a day on the golf course and in a competition setting with his son Bernie Stevens to test their mettle against the Morgans, John and Tim.

For Dean Canning and his partner Oliver Brady, it was indeed a real international competition. Brady, who teamed with Canning on the Euros side, is from Ireland. The Canning-Brady team was paired against Dr. David Ferris, the tourney co-chairman, and former Warwick Mayor Joseph Walsh.

From the time golfers registered yesterday morning at 9 until early last evening around 6:15, the sold out event upheld the tradition, honor and networking that have been featured in the two other local Ryder Cups.

Whether it was celebrating a winning 15-foot putt or scoring two points against an opponent, each player concurred that the Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce has been linked to par excellence when it comes to hosting a golf tournament.

And in keeping with tradition, members of the winning Americans team received specially designed championship mugs that people like Ken Wild of Congressman Jim Langevin’s office or Food Broker Executive David Meyer wasted little time in using to toast the Ryder Cup committee and the sponsor who made the entire event possible.


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