THE GEMS NEWTON CUP 2007

JUNE 22 - 24, 2006

THE RADIUM RESORT, RADIUM, BRITISH COLUMBIA

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TNT Team Preview - By Captain Loren Brown

Loren Brown: Captain: 10-11-4

Jamie Newton: Alternate Captain: 12-14-4

Matthew Armour: 16-8-1

Andrew Prior: 10-9-1

Rick Behl: 9-6-0

Richard Fontaine: 8-11-1

What else can be said about TNT in 2006? The most electrifying team in GNC history, some have deemed them.  Dealing with departures, last minute changes to the line up, the team gets off to a slow start. So what do they do?

In the words of fellow team captain TD Zeck’s boyhood hero, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, TNT collectively said, ”Just watch me”.

A fateful and hastily arranged team meeting after round three on Saturday June 24, 2006, while watching LPGA golf in the background, provided the fulcrum needed to turn the weekend around.

With Paula Creamer and Natalie Gulbis out of contention and not on TV, the necessary "hot or not" chatter trailed off quickly when word came down that once again, TNT would be paired with Club Z in the afternoon round.

The Tournament Director handed out the sheets, grim news on the scoreboard. Yet the spirits rose…if nothing else, then the opportunity to be paired with a team who can match each other drink for drink was exciting in itself (the word “team” is key there..Mr. Lockhart would be formidable against most teams on his own).  Matty Armour proclaimed that we all do shots on every third hole, and he’d still win that afternoon, and get blasted at the same time. Andrew Prior was confident he could carry his skill through from previous rounds.

A pause as Paula Creamer appeared on TV. Testosterone increased tenfold, and within a few minutes, the “Lets have fun and drink a lot” mindset turned into “If we can win 5 matches we have a great chance to get to the final….” Rick Behl then made the ultimate sacrifice proclaiming his avoidance of any drop of alcohol in the name of self, and team pride. The inspiration flowed freely and the run was on.  Within another 2 minutes, TNT had turned around the collective team mindset in a way that Anthony Robbins charges $100,000 per day to do. There was no longer a goal, there was a guarantee… “We’re winning 5, baby”.

With that determination and fire, TNT comfortably manages an incredible 5 out of 6 wins in the afternoon...the only loss coming at the hands of the only one not in attendance at the meeting, Cameron Urquhart.

A disconsolate Urquhart, unwilling to speak to teammates or  the team captain, ended up as a potential player in the playoff against Club Z. Words cannot do justice to the drama that unfolded in the next 15 minutes. What followed was a string of 4 out of the 5 greatest shots in a sequence one will see anywhere in golf, capped off by the infamous “Miracle on the Mountain” snaking putt as the shadows became longer.

No matter, TNT showed its incredible honor, courage, and will, to be able to do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done. The team was brought together by those fateful events, and any doubt in each of the members abilities as a single or as a unified whole, evaporated on that #1 green during that playoff.

The bar has been raised.

The belief is real.

As for this year’s lineup, Loren Brown was a busy man this off season. 

First off, he has shaved 32 pounds off of his frame, and is coming to this year’s event fit and fancy free.  The loss in bulk, although may translate in less power and less precious fat to absorb the requisite increase in alcohol, will be made up through a better swing technique, due to a straighter posture and arms and hands that don’t have to avoid the guttural girth.

He was also busy retooling his team ever so slightly, by acquiring through free agency, former child prodigy, and Team Newton Captain Jamie Newton.  Unlike his Captain, Newton has added 4 pounds on to his frame, and is hitting the ball further than ever (direction is anyone’s guess).  With a milestone 30 career matches under his belt, Newton represents the most seasoned member of the “New TNT”.  (The team) is hoping that Newton’s veteran savvy can prove to be a difference maker in 2007, ideally by slanting any possible tournament rule disputes in TNT’s favor.

In a surprising late move, former Club Z member Travis Rowden agrees to sign a last minute deal with TNT. It took an elaborate scheme and web of lies over the past 6 months for TNT to land Rowden, a player coveted by TNT for many moons. First, stories were mysteriously floated about his imminent departure to the Middle East, thus ensuring his inability to come back to Club Z. Next, a “pregnancy” by his wife allowed him to be available to play again, conveniently after Club Z had already filled their roster. For insurance, stories of Rich Fontaine’s returning to TNT were also floated….but the bomb was dropped June 13th…not Mike Keenan’s move, Travis Rowden’s.  He also takes the place of his replacement last year, Tyler McRae, who joins the ranks of almost-forgotten Neil Korchinski as former TNT members who can’t cut it at the GNC due to lackluster play and acute femininity.

Rowdy is eager to get out from under the shadow of some at Club Z.

“I call some of those guys good friends, and Ellers and I are really close….but they’re holding me back from my true potential at the GNC”.

Rowdy does promise to withhold a certain tradition of TNT.

"Any runner up medals will be thrown out the window on Sunday afternoon…the guys that I’ve preceded like Fontaine and Urqs Baby would’ve wanted it that way”.  

That’s just the tonic that personifies that “me first, you never” team mantra of TNT.

Also rounding out this years edition are TNT mainstays Matthew Amour & Andrew Prior.

Sporting the best record on TNT, Armour has been slow to start 2007 but is gradually bringing his game back.  This guy has got more hooks than a tackle box, but he’s got more moxie than Shawn Eltom at a local Ladies Night. Like Eltom, though, this doesn’t come as naturally as he remembers that it once did, so he has been putting in some long practice sessions at range to get his condition fixed, and is confident that his performance will rival previous years.  His move to rural High River since the last GNC adds that touch of small town attitude and anger that his fellow teammate Fontaine has in abundance, and may give Matty the edge he needs.

Prior, a lawyer from Vancouver BC, has been working the kinks out on the local driving range in preparation for GNC 2007.  But unfortunately his focus on golf has taken away from his focus on his law practice, as he hasn’t won a case in 2007.  At the GNC in June, however, he will set precedence.

In a heartfelt storyline ripped off the scripts of “The Wonder Years” (Cue Daniel Stern) Paul Pfeiffer (aka Andy) looks forward to competing for the first time alongside his long time friend, Kevin Arnold (Jamie Newton).  As younger lads, they were both highly ranked amateur baseball players in the Continental East league.  Andy regards Jamie to be a major influence on him during those formative years, and looks forward to competing side by side with him at this year’s event.

The final member of TNT, Rick Behl, will be playing in back to back GNC’s for the first time since 2002, where he smashed his personal best by shooting 73 in the opening round.  He is very anxious to get going this year, and can always be counted on to draw a couple bullets in clutch situations when the chips are short stacked.  The only caveat at this point is that he’s getting married on July 22nd.  History dictates that anyone getting married just after the GNC (Urquhart and the missing Fontaine in 2006; Newton in 2003; Brown in 2003) usually shits the bed at the big event (the golf tourney, that is).  This is an obstacle that he hopes Brown and Newton can coach him through.  Brown had very little luck in doing so last year, as Cam Urquhart’s greenside tantrums and hissy fits proved to be too much for him or any other man to handle.  To that end, Newton has quietly prepared pictures, cleverly photo shopped with Rick and several Vietnamese poker players from the Elbow River Casino engaged in lewd acts.  If his game starts to slip, those will be threatened to be released to his fiancé.

Brown’s TNT squad has under achieved dramatically in years past.  Is this his year?  Odds makers don’t think so.  They have set them at 10:1 to win; the highest odds out of any team.

“F**k ‘em” Brown says.

Like previous years, come rain or shine, the team’s pride and commitment to excellence and entertainment, will once again ensure that the weekend’s most memorable stories begin, and end, with the words TNT.

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