By Robert Bicknell

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July 1, 2007

So many tournaments, so little time…

While I always enjoy this time of year, it certainly isn’t because of the extreme heat of Hanoi in Summer,. Nope, I enjoy it because of the amount of great events crammed into a small time frame.

Summer brings us all the major golf tournaments, which includes the two events which cause "The Best Players In The World" to go screaming into the night, namely the US Open and the British Open ("The Open" to anyone who isn’t American) as well as the Women’s Opens as well, which also provides some great golf.

Summer also brings two other things which I enjoy, namely girls wearing skimpy clothing and the July 4th celebration. Regarding my enjoyment at seeing skimpy clad females, I am married not dead, but sadly, it is like giving corn-on-the-cob to someone with no teeth.

Speaking of corn on the cob, the US Independence Day July 4th celebration this year in Hanoi will be held on July 8th at the American Club and, as usual, I am looking forward to it with great anticipation because, not only is it my country’s birthday, it is MY birthday as well.

While the celebration here in Vietnam cannot compare to the ones in the US for obvious reasons, the American community does their best to make sure everyone has a great time and in years past, that in itself was a major challenge as the tribe kept getting smaller.

However, today Vietnam is thriving and many American businessmen are exploring more and more opportunities here, which is a good thing as it makes for better July 4th celebrations.

Sadly, though there still aren’t enough Americans to hold a decent golf tournament like the ones back home on July 4th.

One club used to hold "The Ginty" which was the most ridiculous event ever conceived by man. Imagine a four-man team scramble with the rules written by Jerry Lewis on LSD and you’d be close to what it was like.

Every hole had a different set of rules, such as the A player tees off with the shortest club in his bag, the B player hits next with the longest club in his bag, the C player hits with the second shortest club in the bag and the D player uses a putter. I learned how to escape a greenside bunker with a driver that year.

The very short 9th hole had a "reverse mulligan" where the group in front of you selected which shot had to be played. As you can imagine, the guy who hit a career shot next to the flag would scream in anguish because the other team would pick the shot that landed in the parking lot as the one to be played.

As ridiculous as this event sounds, it sold out two months in advance and even took reservations for the next year.

The key was that it was a great time.

Unlike most scramble tournaments which have winning team scores of 10 – 15 under par, whereas The Ginty’s winning score was around 150.

Afterwards, you and your family would have all barbequed steaks and lobster you could eat, unlimited free beer, fireworks display and prizes, which, as you can imagine, also bordered on the ridiculous.

It’s highly doubtful that you could ever get club members here in Vietnam to play such an event simply because they take the game, and themselves, too seriously. They’d also be afraid it would interfere with the betting.

Yes, there were always side bets going on between the players and teams in The Ginty. In fact, one of the most common phrases was: "Oh yeah? Ten bucks says I can. Hold my beer and watch this!"

Of course, the ball would end up in the parking lot or someplace equally hideous while players on both teams would be falling down with laughter. No worries, the guy would probably get his ten dollars back later in a "chip into the trash can" contest while waiting to tee off.

Hopefully, one year there will be enough players to hold such an event here.

So, as another US Independence Day arrives, and I get another year older, the moral of this week’s column is simple…

No matter what you do, remember to have fun!

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