Augusta, Georgia - Of course Steve Spurrier wasn't happy, but in the end he got the win he wanted. Spurrier survived the early push, then collapse, followed by a slight resurgence and one last collapse by Houston Nutt to win the first annual SEC Coaches Green Jacket Money Maker held at the Augusta National Golf Club. The event, designed to raise money to help raise awareness as to just how awesome the Southeastern Conference is, was created by SEC Commissioner Mike Slive.
"We couldn't be more thrilled with how successful this event was," Slive said. "We helped raise a lot of money and gave the fans something to be interested in while waiting for football season to start. And with the money we made today, even more of the country will know of our commitment to domination, including those who don't care about sports. I can't wait for next year, and I know Steve can't either."
Spurrier lead from start to finish despite changing his caddy every three holes. "I just thought I wasn't getting the reads and yardage I needed in order to win this thing, so I made some changes. I felt like I had to do it. There can't be any guessing in this sport. Either you know it or I'll find someone else who does," he said. When asked if he thought he held an advantage over the other coaches because of his membership at Augusta, he said, "Nah, I don't get to come out and hit it around as much as I'd like. I've been to busy figuring out who's going to start at quarterback in the fall. Lots of choices, none of them that great."
Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt seemed poised to give the heavily favored Spurrier a good challenge with an outstanding front nine. He went through the first six holes with three eagles and three birdies, but after making the turn things began to fall apart. Five straight double bogeys nearly ended his chances until back-to-back birdies on 16 and 17 gave him a chance heading into 18. Unfortunately for Nutt, he exploded for with 12 on the final hole, earning a second place finish.
"Tough day out there. Had a great start, but didn't finish. Got to find a way to sustain," Nutt said. "All about maximum effort all the time. Just didn't have it at the end. Loved the course though. So much green. Beautiful. Flowers everywhere. Can't wait to be back."
The day wasn't completely void of drama as Nick Saban and some Augusta officials had a disagreement over the coach's language and belittlement of staff members. Saban was asked to leave the course for "general abrasiveness" according to one official. The official would not comment further and anyone associated with Alabama was too afraid to comment on the situation.
Outside of the Saban incident, everyone who played enjoyed themselves. "I can't wait to do it again," Dan Mullen said. "Even though I always wear a visor, it does nothing to help my golf game. Last time I checked a 132 isn't very good. But I just hope I'm here next year to take advantage of this opportunity."
"The pace was a little slow for my taste," Auburn coach Gene Chizik said. "I generally like to get in a round of 18 in about 47 minutes. All of this standing around probably hurt my score (129), but I'm all for helping promote the SEC. I mean, this is the same conference that gave me a head coaching job when I only had five career wins in 24 games, so I'll do anything for the SEC and Auburn."
Part of the slow play issue can be attributed to Vanderbilt's Bobby Johnson, who averaged only 29 yards per drive and hit two consecutive airborne shots just once during 18 holes on his way to a 214 and a last place finish. "It's tough playing with wooden irons and woods, no putter and only seven clubs, but you've got to make do with what you have," he said.
"I heard about Gene's complaint that we were playing too slow and some of that could be my fault," Derek Dooley of Tennessee admitted. "I had a problem choosing a caddy with any skill and experience. There just weren't any left in the clubhouse, so I had to go with a guy who had never done this before or was any good."
"I really, really hope I'm around next year for this," Georgia's Mark Richt said. "I mean really, really, really hope so. Make sure you write down all of those 'reallys.' I need this."
Nick Saban wasn't the only coach who didn't finish all 18 holes. Les Miles started the round, but between holes 11 and 12 he fell in Rae's Creek and later disappeared before reaching the 13th tee box. He is still missing (please contact the LSU Athletic Department if you have any information on his whereabouts). Urban Meyer began play, but stopped after seven holes to rest and recharge. He then tried to restart play on number 11, but was told by an official he needed to return to the eighth hole. Meyer began shouting that the official was a "bad guy" and that if this was his home course, they'd "go at it right now." He was last seen walking off the course with his daughter.
Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino did not tee off at his scheduled time or at all. After Lou Holtz was found milling around the 1st tee, it was discovered that Petrino had sold his coach's pass to Holtz for $6.18 and four pieces of gum. And Kentucky's Joker Phillips never made it on the course either. He was stopped at the coach's gate and told he could not enter. Not because he is black, but because no one knows what the hell Joker Phillips looks like.
Mike Slive, already planning for the next visit to Augusta to be even better, cracked one last smile and said, "Next year I hope we can get 100% participation. We've got some kinks to work out, but for the first year I thought things went really well. We'll eventually get to a point where the cursing, excessive celebration and cheating are completely stamped out."