It’s Draft Day

I’ve been known to be a little liberal with my hyperboles when it comes to the Kendallville Open, but that will not be the case in this post. It’s Draft Day. While the Bixler Blazer is still, and will always, reign supreme, the tKO Team Championship is gaining momentum. Not only will you find out who will be responsible for your limp body on the last few holes of the scramble, but you’ll get a good idea of who you’ll be playing with on Friday. Your team draw will 100% set the tone for your tournament. You’ll have to be on Instagram to watch the draft live, so make sure you’re following @TheKendallvilleOpen. Gonna shoot for 6PM CT, but it wouldn’t surprise me if these are a little postponed.


Last year’s champs, Nine* (now Eleven*) Pints and a Blazer, were a huge favorite out of the gates, you can go back and check the receipts. And they did not disappoint. The scoring is a little fuzzy, so I’ll need someone from E*P&aB to jump in the comments for the recap, but when it was all said and done, they boat-raced the field, winning by 3 points over their closest competitor. I’m sure they’ll be a heavy favorite for the repeat, but there have been some interesting developments in the offseason. As of today, they don’t have a single PGA Tour level player on the roster. They are like one of those basketball teams with all white guys in the NCAA tournament! Not doing it with talent, folks! It’s all grit, want to, and golf IQ!

Your handicaps for tKOXII won’t lock until a few weeks before the tournament, but here are the pods will be using for tonight’s team draft.


Andre | White James | Nate | Cahill | Rich | Robinson


Ben | Brendan | Wally | Lloyd | Marty | Trey


Austin | Ian | Shane | Kevin | Aschman | Mat


Bryce | Caravello | Pete | Sutton | Danny | Keith

Some thoughts:

  • Ben made a valiant effort to overtake Robinson in the PGA pod with a few scotching rounds out in Arizona, but fell just short. Any team that gets Ben as their LPGA player is an immediate favorite, as long as they don’t let him drink liquor all weekend and he doesn’t try to fight his teammates again.
  • Even if we threw 11* Pints back in the selection pool, they still wouldn’t have a top 7 player. Tall James has slipped back to 8th and Asian James had the biggest fall of everyone in the field, going from 7th last year to 10th. Might not want to print those Back2Back shirts up quite yet.
  • Marty overtakes Austin to move into the LPGA flight. This is particularly heartbreaking for me, because I wanted Marty on my team and I want us to all wear throwback Brad Miller jerseys from different teams. It’ll have to wait until one of us gets much better (or worse) and we get out of the same flight.
  • How about those powerhouses in the Recycle Flight?! Three Bixler Champs, last year’s runner up ….. and Mat.

Alright boys, for those of you who can make it, try to make it to Parlor on Division tonight as close to 5:30 as you can. I know a couple of the boys are talking about getting their earlier to watch the end of Tiger’s round (and some stupid basketball tournament), so feel free to head over whenever.

63 Days until The Kendallville Open XII

53 Days until the 10 day forecast for tKOXII


Ask your wives how to watch a post on IG Live.

After the last few weeks of massive tKO drops, we’re scaling things back today. Nothing new to announce, but if you could jump in the comments or text me with whether or not you’ll be attending the draft in person, that would be greatly appreciated. I’m firmly in the camp of not holding seats for people in bars, so if you aren’t going to make it, let me know so I can adjust the reservation accordingly. We’re meeting at 5:30pm, and going to stream the whole thing live on the Kendallville Open’s Instagram account. Going out on a major limb here by assuming that most of you can figure that out.

Quick note about this year’s practice round, due to popular demand, we’ll be moving it over to Cobblestone. The only issue is that we’ll need to tee off earlier, because we need to be off the course by the time they start league play. So we’ll teeing off no later than 12:30pm. That’ll give us plenty of time to get settled in at the world famous Best Western before heading over to the presumably still open Applebees for the Champion’s Dinner, hosted by White James and Kevin. Like always, we’ll set up some kind of game that should limit the number of swings you take. We aren’t the physical specimens we once were, so saving some energy for gametime is major key. Don’t need a firm yes/no right now, but would like to have the numbers nailed down by the end of the month. So keep that in mind when looking at flights and rides.

I know, a fairly negligible post, but the content should start coming in hot and heavy once we get the teams draw. Reminder, we’ll lock in the handicaps for the team pods next week, once the AZ boys drop their scores into Fairway Files. Yes, there has been update to Fairway Files. And yes, it is horrible. I have no idea who is out here clamoring for updates to an already perfect(ly shitty) website, but hopefully they straighten things out by tKO SZN. If not, we might be on the lookout for a new scoring app for the 50th time.

I’ve heard rumors of a potential tKONN reunion this weekend and maybe their most controversial production yet. Please do this, boys.

In other news, as of posting, Tiger is currently T4 and two strokes off the lead. There will be a watch party if he’s in the hunt this weekend. Pants optional.


70 Days until The Kendallville Open XII

60 Days until the 10 day forecast for tKOXII

Drive, Chip, Putt

You guys, I’m still beaming off the response from the last post. Not only did the championship round reshuffling go over like gangbusters (the only hater was White James, big surprise there), but some of you guys even managed to enter your scores from tKOXI into Fairway Files. So proud. From what I can tell, the only person who hasn’t entered their scores from the last tKO is Shane. I know a few of you guys have a little golf trip out to Arizona planned the weekend before the draft, so I’ll wait for you guys to drop those scores in before we lock up the pods. Also looking back at last week’s post, I’ve decided that all Flight Champion pints moving forward with the new format will feature the new tKO logo, so Asian James will always and forever be the only one with a complete Dinner Party set of the original logos. Congrats, AJ.

So I’m sure you guys have seen the promos for the Drive, Chip, & Putt competition for kids the PGA tour does before the Masters. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s basically the Pass, Punt, Kick competition, but with golf. Shoutout Andy Ried.

Well we’re going to try to bring that into this year’s tKO as one of our primary fundraisers. This is Robinson’s brain child, so he’ll be running the show. There will be a putting challenge set up on the putting green at Cobblestone, where you’ll have to try to make a putt from two varying distances. Since we are doing everything at Cobblestone on Friday, we should have plenty of time to knock this out either between or after the rounds. For the “drive” portion of the challenge, we’ll be using #6 and #11 at Glendarin on Saturday morning’s round. Using the carts GPS, you’ll need to measure your drive and mark your scorecard accordingly. Only drives that land in the fairway will count. This will also replace the long drive competitions over the weekend, now all the par 3s will be Closest To The Pin challenges. And per tradition, the “chip” will take place from the patio at Glendarin after the scramble wraps up, when we are extremely sober and able to concentrate. There will be a shot clocks and a scoring methodology that I’ll let him explain at a later date, with cash prizes for first, second, and third place.

This obviously favors the stronger players, so we’ve decided to even out the odds for the other component of the fundraising/cash prizes. If you’ve played in a Fall Swing or last year’s practice round, you should be familiar with this variation of skins. Please tell me that you all at least know what skins are. Please. So Keith/Danny/maybe Bryce?, a skin is when you have the lowest score on the hole. For the sake of this game, we’ll be using your handicapped score and skins have to be won outright, meaning no ties/carry overs. The value of the skin is based on how many skins are won outright over the course of the tournament. The kicker here is that you are playing against everyone in the field, not just your foursome, so outright skins will be few and far between. Remember the par on Noble Hawk #15 I saw Keith make? With his handicap of roughly 60 strokes, that was actually a net zero. No one was tying or beating a net zero. I ran the numbers and last year 24 skins were won outright, most of which were won by some of our, let’s say, “trashier” competitors.

The pot for both of these games will be baked into the tournament cost, with half of the pot going to our beloved East Noble High Knights Golf Team.  Speaking of the tournament cost, it should be cheaper than last year’s if everything goes according to plan. I’m waiting to lock up a few things, but I should have that figure in the next couple weeks then will start accepting payment.

That’s about it for major changes we have in store for the Kendallville Open XII, at least changes that we’ve thought of so far. That and, oh yeah, we’re taking a fucking school bus to Glendarin this year!!

Put your questions, comments, concerns and recommendations in the comment section below, where they will most likely go ignored!

77 Days until The Kendallville Open XII

67 Days until the 10 day forecast for tKOXII

Changes in store for tKOXII…

This post might only be interesting to the deepest of tKO heads (what up, Dre!), but the weather at tKO-HQ showed some signs of turning early this week and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I thought it might be a good idea to get the big changes out in the open now, so you can voice any concerns you have at the draft, at which I’m expecting 100% acceptance. Speaking of the draft, we’re going to do it at Parlor on Division on Friday, March 16th at 5:30. That’s somewhat close to the Clybourn metra stop for you Palatine boys and significantly closer to my house for me.

So we’ve already released the major news about Noble Hawk (and, depending on if you are Kevin, Kevin’s kid), but I think today’s drop might even be more of a game changer. Using tKOXII as a test run, we are going to try something a little different for the championship round. On Saturday morning, you’ll be flighted based on your Bixler leaderboard standing after round 2 with the exception of the top four players on the RDGC leaderboard. The RDGC leaders will still go off as a foursome, with the flight pint going to the low gross round. However, for the rest of us (or should I say the rest of you? (I shouldn’t say that)), flights will be based on the Bixler leaderboard and flight winner will be based on their final round net score. So if we would’ve put this into effect last year, it would have been Shane vs Kevin head to head in the final round, along with Hart and Mustang Mark. Tall James (3rd), Robinson (4th) and White James (6th) all could’ve been in the Bixler final four, but if someone happens to be in both the top four on the Bixler and RDGC leaderboard, we’re giving the priority to the RDGC. Also, fuck those people.

There were a number of different factors that went into this decision. For one, we are always looking to mix up the foursomes, so you guys can play with as many different players as possible. While it seems so obvious that we should’ve done this years ago, it was important that we kept with tradition until someone actually won the Dinner Party. So when Asian James completed the task last year, we figured it was time to turn the page on this chapter in tKO history. Jeremy, you will no longer be able to count on lording over the Trash Flight to collect your pint glasses, time to step it up if you ever want to complete that theoretical set.


Photo Courtesy of Asian James. This is goddamn beautiful.

Perhaps the most influential aspect of this change is what will now take place at the bottom of the leaderboard. The Trash Flight (© 2014) is now, more than ever before, truly the TRASH flight. For example, at tKOXI, the Trash Flight would have been Pete, Lloyd, Sutton, and Jeremy based on the Round 2 leaderboard. Danny and Keith, Trash Flight stalwarts, would have been in the 3rd and 6th flights respectively. Now Keith still would’ve won the DFL with that final round net-98 where he stormed from 11 strokes back going into the final round, but he at least wouldn’t been stuck in a cart with Danny, who was clearly out to sabotage Keith. Keith showing the final round closing speed that prime-Tiger Woods could never even muster up. Bravo, Keith!

In case you were wondering, here’s what last year’s final rounds would’ve looked like:

  • RDGC Final:  Robinson (flight winner), Dre, White James, Tall James
  • Bixler Final:  Mustang Mark (flight winner), Hart, Kevin, Shane
  • 2nd:  Greg, Eddie (flight winner), Ian, Austin
  • 3rd:  me, Asian James, Wally (flight winner), Marty
  • 4th:  Cahill, Bryce (flight winner), Nate, Danny
  • 5th:  Keith, Rich, Aschman, Ben (flight winner)
  • Trash:  Sutton (flight winner), Pete, Lloyd, Jeremy

We are locking up draft team pods in about 2 weeks, so if anyone is sitting on a bunch of scores, go ahead and pop those into See you boys at the draft. BE THERE, BE THERE, BE THERE.

Also, Tall James, what the hell is your shirt size?!?!

84 Days until The Kendallville Open XII

74 Days until the 10 day forecast for tKOXII

Noble Hawk Golf Links – A Eulogy

Due to Kevin being an attention whore and stealing the spotlight during the tKOXII invitation with his baby reveal, you might have missed the massive news that Noble Hawk is being retired from the Kendallville Open rota. I just wanted to provide a little insight behind that decision and give everyone the space to mourn this loss appropriately.

The decision to drop Noble Hawk from the rotation was based purely on logistics. As we waited out the storms at Glendarin Hills during lunch last year, it became clear that basically taking over a course for the entire day gives us the best chance to take shelter if we run into inclement weather again or just to relax between rounds. Not only does Cobblestone’s banquet hall allow for us to spread out more, but the proximity of the putting green and driving range to the clubhouse makes herding you cats a little easier.  And not that the good folks at Noble Hawk haven’t been hospitable, but no one rolls out the red carpet for us quite like Allan and Kathy do over at Cobblestone. In fact, Kathy seemed disappointed in our alcohol consumption last year, something I’m sure we will remedy this May. All I need to do is confirm that Councilman Dasey will join us this year at Cobblestone, as he is a diehard Noble Hawk fan, but I have faith that Pete will be able to convince him.

Losing Noble Hawk also means losing what I consider the finest stretch of closing holes in all of golf. Not just hyper-elite northeast Indiana golf, but all of golf, period, full stop. Some of the Kendallville Open’s most cherished memories took place on the second nine at Noble Hawk, specifically starting on the par 5 #13. Traditionally the hardest hole of the entire weekend, #13 separates the contenders from the pretenders.  Followed up by a short but deceptively tough par 4 (like Danny), before you get Kendallville’s Blue Monster, the par 3 #15.  I shit you not, I actually witnessed Keith par this last year (NET ZERO!), in what had to be the most impressive hole every played at any Kendallville Open. The Par 5 16th hole is where Austin first showed that he had the killer instinct that would one day lead to a championship.  He did so by decapitating a mole in the fairway bunker. And while #17 is relatively straight forward, it also allows for competitors to go pin seeking, from both the 17th and the 2nd tee, as Pete proved possible.

All of this sets the table the legendary 18th hole at Noble Hawk, or as I like to call it Robinson’s Playground. Five of 6 RDGC Championships came down to this hole. At tKOII, the first year we played Noble Hawk, Robinson out battled* yours truly on the final hole to win his first championship (skip to 11:30). Perhaps the only time in tKO history the entire field was a united front, at tKOIII we rooted on Robinson as he dropped an absolute hydrogen bomb of a putt on Brett to win. White James has a bit of a checkered past with Noble Hawk, having boat raced the field there in tKOV and setting the tKO course record in route to another title last year, but he’s also had his fair share of heartbreak. tKOIV would be the first case, as he had a front seat (after collapsing on the second nine) to the epic showdown between defending champion Robinson and fan favorite Rich. With nuts the size of inflatable whales, the boys made back to back nailbiters to force a playoff that Robinson would eventually when on #1 (skip to 8:30). After having his revenge at tKOV, White James’ nerves would strike again at tKOVI as he missed a shorty for par (skip to 4:10), handing the RDGC over to Robinson, who made birdie on 18. Robinson won his last RDGC  championship at tKOVII after fighting off a valiant charge from then rookie Nate. If anyone is sad to see Noble Hawk go, it’s Robinson.

But as much as all these memories contribute to the legacy of Noble Hawk, there is one moment that outshines all the rest.

We saw flashes of his brilliance with that final round 78 at tKOVII, but by the end of tKOVIII a true star was born.

Keith, I except you to play Amazing Grace at this year’s championship dinner in honor of our lost loved one.

Please join me in memorializing Noble Hawk with your best memories in the comments.

RIP In Peace, Noble Hawk. You will truly be missed.

House cleaning:

  • If you were ever a Tall Boy or tore your Achilles playing co-ed rec volleyball, then DFL-ed, and then choked away a Bixler Blazer, could you please kindly let me know your shirt size? I hoping to wrap up the quotes and get you guys a price for this year’s tournament ASAP.
  • Last thing, I’m leaning towards reserving some space at Parlor on Division for the draft on Friday, March 16th. You are not going to want to miss this. Did the roster of special guests just expand? I don’t know, maybe?

* Robinson 100% threw my ball in a yard and I was forced to take a drop, thereby ending any chance I had to win an RDGC. He denies that this, but it’s true.

89 Days until The Kendallville Open XII

79 Days until the 10 day forecast for tKOXII

Happy tKO Founders Day…

As any true tKO historian can tell you, today marks the official 10 year anniversary of the Kendallville Open. It was on February 4, 2008 that I first reached out to our beloved Rainelle, who we’d later go on to name our trophy after. I managed to dig up the original email correspondence and you know it’s old as hell because Hotmail (shoutout to Jeremy!).


With all due respect to Robinson and Brooks, but as the only two OGs with perfect attendance, I’d like to take a moment to recognize Mike C. and myself for ten years of club throwing, vomiting, and mostly mediocre golf. We truly are inspirations, Mike C. (not to be confused with Mike R., who bailed on tKOVII and hasn’t seen the winners circle since).

If you haven’t already, throw your shit size in the comments below. I’m still missing a few.

Stay warm out there, golf season will get here soon enough. Unless you are in Hawaii right now, in that case, you should be fine. STUNT.

103 Days until the Kendallville Open XII

9 Days until the 10 day forecast for the Kendallville Open XII

tKOXII Invitation

The field for the Kendallville Open XII is officially set and for the first time in quite awhile, it will feature a completely veteran line up.

  • Brendan – tKOX Bixler Champ
  • Mike C.
  • Robinson – 6 time RDGC Champ
  • Marty – tKOVI Bixler Champ
  • Shane
  • Ian
  • Austin – tKOIX Bixler Champ
  • Asian James – Dinner Party Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient
  • Greg
  • Jeremy – tKOVII Bixler Champ
  • Keith
  • Mustang Mark
  • Rich
  • White James – 2 time RDGC Champ
  • Ben
  • Bryce
  • Danny
  • Kevin – tKOXI Bixler Champ
  • Sutton
  • Hart
  • Nate – 3 time RDGC Champ
  • Wally
  • Chris – tKOVIII Bixler Champ
  • Pete
  • Tall James
  • Lloyd
  • Andre
  • Trey

We lost Curt and Eddie this year, meaning Trey has officially moved ahead of them in the tKO World Rankings, and has the inside track on the 28th spot, as long as he doesn’t miss anymore Kendallville Opens.

It looked like were going to expand to 32 this year, but bringing in an entire foursome of rookies seemed a little aggressive. However, we’ll revisit expansion again next year, but with another change in format this year, it felt like we needed one more year at 28 to make sure we have all the kinks ironed out.

In other news, we’ll be doing the draft this year on Friday, March 16th. Location is to be determined, but we’ll be switching up the venue this year, so keep an ear out for that. This is the first Friday of March Madness and the day before St. Paddy’s so things might be very LIT, as the kids say. Most importantly, there’s going to be some special guests at this year’s draft, so make sure you get this date on your calendar and if you live within a couple hours of the city, it might be worth a trip to Chicago.

In case you missed it, here was the interview with Kevin that accompanied the official invitation.

I also dug up the original Bixler Talk video after Marty’s win. While the production value has gone up by leaps and bounds, the on-air talent has taken a big dip since tKOVI.


Hoping to ramp up the posts between now and tKO. Once again, we have some massive, MASSIVE things already in the works for this year’s event. Speaking of which, throw your shirt size down in the comments. NO FAT SHAMING, GUYS!

114 Days until the Kendallville Open XII

104 Days until the 10 day forecast for the Kendallville Open XII

tKOXII Save The Date

I believe it is customary to send your wedding Save The Dates six months in advance, and seeing how the Kendallville Open is just as important, it’s about that time. So as you settle in with your loved ones this Thanksgiving, make sure you take a moment while you have the whole family together to confirm the fact that you will not be available May 18th and 19th, 2018. (I’m staring daggers at you, Asian James.) While this is not your formal invitation, those won’t be ready for a few weeks (or months (most likely months)), you don’t want to fall victim to a mismanaged calendar. If you already know those dates are going to be a problem, like someone is pregnant or your stupid friend planned his/her wedding on that weekend, let me know sooner rather than later so we can start working on your replacement.

As always, Mike and I have been working on some big things this year, the biggest being a human sacrifice to appease the golf gods and grant us better weather. More news about tKOXII developments to come at a much later date. But in the meantime, please roast these Limp Bizkit super fans in the comments.

Ian – “You sure this is the line?” Mike – “You just gotta have ….. FFFFFFFFFAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIITTTTTTHHHHHHHH.”

Team Champs & Flight Winners


9 Pints* & A Blazer dethroned RWTW to win this year’s Kendallville Open Team Championship and they will remain together next year to defend their title. There wasn’t much of a competition, as 9P*AAB steam rolled their flights on Saturday morning. Given the miserable scoring conditions during the scramble, no one was able to make a charge at them. With Asian James & Greg both winning their flights (2nd and 4th respectively), this brings the juggernaut’s new total up to 11 pints*, but still only one blazer, despite a valiant effort from Tall James. Immediately after the draft, Team 9 Pints* was the early favorite and they certainly talked the talk and walked the walk. Even though not a single team picture of them exists, they donned new swag for every single round, sponsored by FreshFin. Living up to the mantra “look good, feel good. Feel good, play good.” With RWTW breaking up for tKOXII, it will be interesting to see if anyone can compete with 9 Pints*, they have a Golden State Warriors kind of feel to them.

Even though they finished a bit further down the leaderboard, the Kendallville Open Team Spirit award easily goes to Wally & The Whales. While they weren’t best dressed (that obviously goes to the Marlboro Men ), you only needed to take a look around the course to see their impact on the tournament.  Legends.

On to the flight winners…

Championship Flight Champ – Robinson


After going 9 years without a flight championship, Robinson has now gone back to back in the championship flight (and back to back backdoor 2nd place RDGC finishes). However, neither flight wins were enroute to an RDGC title, which will be 5 years ago (?!??!) at tKOXII.

1st Flight Champ – Nathan


We’re all assuming that is a styrofoam cup that was once full of brown liquor here, right? Not hard to tell what’s going with Nate in this picture. Sure a flight win is nice, but when you are used to hoisting the RDGC Cup over your head, it’s probably not quite as fulfilling, not to mention when your 3rd flight pint is from the first time you didn’t play in the championship flight. I think we’ll see a renewed Nate at tKOXII.

2nd Flight Champ – Asian James


In an all-time tKO stunt, Asian James had a custom Flight Pint case built before tKOXI in expectation of winning his fourth flight and being the first to achieve the Dinner Party (aka the lifetime achievement award). Not only did this complete the set, it’s the third year in a row he’s won the 2nd flight. It’s only a matter of time before AJ knocks down the 2nd round wall and wins a blazer.

3rd Flight Champ – Ben


If you don’t remember, RWTW was really big on the team concept, as you can see here. While they most likely won’t be together next year, the bonds formed here won’t be going away anytime soon. Somehow, this is the first pint Ben has ever won. Big things were expected of Ben at this year’s tournament, but the weather seemed to stall any momentum he could get going until the final round.

4th Flight Champ – Greg


Another win for team 9 Pints*, as Greg took home not only the 4th flight pint, but also won the cherished Dunlop bag for highest point winner at tKOXI. Shocking what not having to sleep under a tree between rounds can do for one’s game. I can only imagine the things Greg will fill that bag with at next year’s tournament. This brings Greg’s career total up to 3 pints, joining Nate and Jeremy as next in line for the Dinner Party.

5th Flight Champ – Bryce


This man was born to intimidate like this. Just look at him. Wear this gear all weekend, instead of just during the scramble, and he’s probably winning the second flight instead of the fifth. Bryce went directly from tKO to his kid’s christening on Sunday. If the holy water wasn’t poured onto Emory directly from this flight glass, then I’m pretty sure that blessing is null and void.

Trash Flight Champ – Pete

I think I figured out why Pete struggled so much during day one of tKOXI. This picture is from the Champion’s Dinner on Thursday night. Pete hitting that “clutch my pearls” look when Nate’s belly button made an appearance. Probably struggled to focus on golf a mere 12 hours later. I know Pete was pretty disappointed with his performance at this year’s tournament, but that’s the mark of  true champion. Tiger Woods often would say the difference between him and the rest of the field is that he could grind out wins when he didn’t have his A+ game. Not sure he was referring to winning the Trash Flight, but a win is a win is a win.

That just about wraps up all the highlights from this year’s Kendallville Open. I’ve updated both the Player Bio’s and History pages. Don’t forget to get your sponsorships on the Wait List. Just like every year, I’ll push the Board on expansion to 68 once the embargo on tKOXII talk has expired. There are already a few things in the cooker for next year (and they are huge), but as always, I’m all ears to your suggestions, so if you have any, shoot me a message.

Until then, I’ll see you guys on Fairway Files.

tKOXI Championship Round Recap…


FYI: This picture should be currently hanging proudly in our Applebee’s. Might schedule another outing this year just to confirm.

Friday night was a relatively quiet evening by tKO standards, the miserable conditions had taken their toll on most of the field by then. Perhaps a blessing in disguise, because there was a lot on the line for a lot of people and everyone needed to be a full strength for Championship Saturday.

White James had slept on leads many times before and only had one RDGC to show for it. Adding a second star to his cardigan would forever end the talk of a one hit wonder and firmly place him among tKO’s elite. Ever since tearing his Achilles before tKOVIII and winning the DFL at tKOIX, Shane has been on a mission. I hate to take credit for this, but I wore my Bixler Blazer to Kevin’s wedding (reception only, because my wife shut me down) and I could see it was going to inspire great things from Kevin. Now was the time to turn dreams into reality.

On the other end of the spectrum, Sutton admitted slept horribly, was the fear of having to introduce his new daughter to a new tetanus infested toy too much? I was terrified to see Pete, the most influential tKO-er in years, on Saturday morning. No one has brought more to tKO than Pete, and to be paid back with the DFL? Too much for one soul to bear. Thankfully when I saw him in the breakfast bar, he confidently said “I’m winning my fucking flight”.

You could cut the tension with a knife as the vans pulled into the Best Western on Saturday morning. The Board was hopefully optimistic looking at the forecast, the chance of rain had dropped slightly, but so had the temps. It was going to be another battle out there. But winning rings isn’t for the faint of heart.

For White James, this was his victory lap. A front nine 44 was more than enough to lock up his second RDGC Cup. He’d follow that up with a back nine 48, but by then the championship was mere semantics. His seven stroke victory would have been a tKO record if not for his vengeance filled fifteen stroke win back in tKOV. While it’s only his second title, this is just proof that when White James is on his game, he’s in a class of his own. Unless he tears an Achilles, from here on out White James is your RDGC favorite. Another six year gap between championships will only be seen as apathy and disrespect for the ring, White James. You’ve raised the bar, now it’s time to go higher. I’m looking forward to your speech at Applebee’s next year.

Pete’s front nine -1 not only took the DFL red dot off his forehead, it also basically wrapped up his flight (his second), just as he called it, and most importantly gave us a glimpse of the potential I was expecting to see all tournament long. While Sutton’s poor play improved slightly, he was still in last with 9 holes to play. However, he was quickly being joined by a Lloyd and a rudderless Keith who was the midst a Danny-induced freefall. Back to back net birdies on 11 and 12 kept Sutton safe, in his words “those are tough holes and I saw a blood bath all around me”. Truer words have never been spoken. Unfortunately, it was the blood of one man. Keith set some unfortunate records at tKO. Records I can’t see being broken anytime soon. A back nine 80, en route to a 149, are both numbers that will likely stand the test of time. I think it’s safe to say reaching back 20 years to find the strength blast out those opening notes took its toll on Keith, as a final round collapse led to another DFL, but the sacrifice he made was well worth it. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, Keith. In my eyes, you’ll always be first place.

Let’s just say neither Kevin nor Shane were looking to put this thing to bed early. Thru nine holes of the best scoring conditions we’d had all weekend, both were just treading water and tied for the lead coming into the back nine. Only Caravello, who started the day twelve back of the leaders, managed to make a run up the leaderboard. With a front nine net 33, he moved within 8 strokes of the leader with nine to play. In most golf tournaments, I don’t think you’d say being within 8 strokes is in striking distance. Hell, in most basketball games, 8 points isn’t in striking distance. But this is not most golf tournaments. 

As the saying goes, the Masters truly doesn’t start until the second nine on Sunday. The very same can be said for the Bixler, with my blowout victory last year (shout out to me) being an outlier. Kevin opened the back nine with net double bogey, while Shane did the same on the always challenging twelfth. All the sudden, this was anyone’s tournament. As Shane and Kevin Juveniled their way through the back nine, a few more names crept into red numbers, notably Tall James and Robinson. But the real noise was coming from Caravello, who with 2 holes to play was now four under. Caravello was mere inches away from a net albatross that would’ve given him the lead with one to play, tap in net eagle would have to do. -6 with one hole left. Tiger-esque roars through the hallowed pines of Glendarin Hills, I’m sure the echoes could’ve been heard from the club house. In what had been a battle of dumptrucks in reverse all day long, Shane and Kevin finally had company. With three holes left to play, Shane sat at -10, with a three stroke lead over Kevin and a six stroke lead over Caravello. By the 18th tee box, that must have felt like lifetimes ago.

Winning a Bixler Blazer means you need to hit the shots when they count. Winning time, as it were. Caravello’s net eagle on his 17th hole put him in contention. Unfortunately, as the galleries swelled around his 18th hole to see if he could complete the comeback, the magic finally ran out. A net quadruple bogey on 18 would put any chance Mark had to rest.

Now I’ll never say that Shane lost the Bixler and gave it away to Kevin, but deep down inside, Shane knew he needed to step up on his last hole, the par 3 17th, especially after dropping three strokes over the last two holes. Listen, Shane’s come a long way since tKOIX. Tied for the lead two tKO’s later is essentially the same thing as Ben Hogan winning the US Open after getting hit by a bus. We’ve all been witnesses on his journey back and I truly believe there are new heights he’s yet to reach. Unfortunately, tKOXI was not his day. A net triple bogey would be the end of his run.

I know it sounds like I alluded to Kevin backing his way into a Blazer, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. A massively clutch net birdie on 17 had tied Kevin for the lead, leaving 18 to determine his place in history. The tee shot on 18 is far and away the most intimidating part of this hole. OB right (Kevin’s natural miss) and the remains of Cahill’s smashed 5 iron from earlier in the day to the left, the 18th fairway is essentially a minefield. And Kevin Hurt Locker-ed it. Pipe job, down the middle. I have no idea how smoothly he captained that boat into harbor, but he finished with a net par and the title was his. There was a brief moment of panic when he showed up in the gallery to watch Caravello finish. I’m pretty sure Kevin was insta-drunk (been there before!) and had Caravello not made a mess of his last hole, we could’ve seen a drunken playoff for all the marbles. Oh well, a boy can dream.

Kevin made me go to Cedar Point for his bachelor party, he loves roller coasters. Just take a look at how that final round played out hole by hole.

final round

He’s never been on a ride like that before.



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