Northwest Heats Up in Epic Hickory Battle

   Twenty-eight players participated in the first annual Pacific Hickory Cup over the historic Gearhart Golf Links (1892) in Gearhart, Ore. Hickory players from Washington and Oregon, representing the Northwest Hickory Players, were matched against players from California, representing the Pacific Coast Hickory Golfers and NorCal Hickory Golf. Matches were played straight up – with no handicaps given.

   After the dust, or fog, had settled following morning fourball matches on day one, Washington/Oregon had taken a 4 to 3 lead. Afternoon foursomes matches, however, brought out a more competitive California side, which posted 4 1/2 points. As the far Northwest team could manage only 2 1/2, the first day went to the Golden Bear State team – 7 1/2 to 6 1/2. Though no report was forthcoming, likely squelched by local authorities, it can be assumed that celebrations accompanied by good natured ribbing went far into the night.

   On the morning of the singles matches, the California team took the field emboldened by the lead they had built on day one. Momentum seemed to be on their side. Would this cocksure attitude hold up to the stern looks and game faces on the W&O squad?

   California quickly built a 3-point lead – 12 1/2 to 9 1/2 – after the early going. Their victory seemed in hand. But Washington/Oregon were not to be beaten on their home turf. A late surge of five consecutive victories overwhelmed the Pacific southerners who, dazed, found themselves gazing at a scoreboard that bore the news of 8 to 6 in favor of the Northwest. The final tally was Washington/Oregon 14 1/2 and California 13 1/2.

Following victorious chants and cheers, the gracious victors shook hands with their worthy competitors who vowed that in 2015 the Cup would come south. Such is born a modern hickory golf rivalry that may come to be as important in its own way as the rivalry between the rowing clubs of Washington and California. Perhaps the PAC-10 will add modern hickory golf to the menu of athletics on its annual schedule. This will be a rivalry to watch.