Phil Slocum had just finished chairing the Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce’s (CRIC) Ryder Cup, a unique 27-hole golf tournament played in 35-mile-per-hour wind gusts Monday at Warwick Country Club.
It was approximately 5:45 p.m. and the Jim Irving-captained “Americans” were basking in their glory after scoring a 47-37 triumph over the “Europeans” and claiming their second straight win that evened their four-year record at two wins and two losses.
The entire field of 80 golfers had enjoyed a day of golf, camaraderie, fantastic food and above all a classy event with major sponsors Greenwood Credit Union and Gilligan & Bianco, LLC leading the way.
“Did everyone have a great time?” Slocum asked afterward. “Where can you go and play 27 holes in less than six hours, enjoy great food at the absolute best place to hold the annual Ryder Cup?”
Instantly, the sounds of handclapping and cheers filled the spacious dining room inside Warwick Country Club in a show of support for what Slocum and his all-volunteer committee – that consisted of co-chairman Dr. David Ferris, Scott Seaback, John Smith, Nick Slocum and Lauren Slocum – had produced for the fourth annual Ryder Cup.
There were even more cheers when Slocum, who owns and operates Slocum Realty & Insurance in Warwick, added, “We think we’ve worked most of the kinks out; next year should be an even better Ryder Cup.”
Mike Roy, the assistant professional at Warwick Country Club, best described the Central Rhode Island Chamber’s golf tournament, which is patterned after professional golf’s exciting Ryder Cup that pits the PGA’s top American players against a team of European pros every other year.
“This is one of the most unique events we’ve run here!” said Roy. “Everybody here is into this tournament. We certainly hope you enjoyed the day and we look forward to having you back again next year.”
If Phil Slocum’s next statement served as any measuring stick, the Central Rhode Island Chamber’s Ryder Cup may have found a permanent home.
“You just can’t find a finer facility to do this event than Warwick Country Club,” Slocum said amid more cheers. “I just can’t say enough about the great treatment we received from Mike and his entire staff. This is without question the best place to hold our Ryder Cup.”
What makes the CRIC’s Ryder Cup unique?
“This is the end of the [golf] year. Everyone has had their chance at other benefit and charity tournaments. This is different; you play outside the box,” said Nick Slocum, who is credited with coming up with the CRIC Ryder Cup format and idea four years ago.
The 80-golfer field is divided into two 40-golfer teams (the Americans vs. Europeans) to determine the final score after two players from each side have played nine holes of alternating shots, nine holes Best Ball and nine holes individual match.
It’s also sponsors like Greenwood Credit Union, led by President/CEO James M. “Jim” Irving and Galligan & Bianco, LLC, headed by Jason D. Bianco, CPA, who captained this year’s European team, that make the local Ryder Cup a classic.
When Phil Slocum announced the wining number for the 50/50 raffle, Bianco raised his hand then walked to wear Slocum was sitting to claim the prize. Instead, he announced, “I’m donating my half back to the tournament. It doesn’t get any better than this and we’ll be back again next year.”
Although a stiff, gusty wind raised some havoc during the 27-hole event, the players agreed the Warwick course was in “great shape.”
Added Nick Slocum while chatting with Roy, “The greens were fast and even though it rained last night, conditions today were perfect. This course is in phenomenal shape.”
In addition to the usual hamburgers and hotdogs, the day’s food menu also included a unique, four-station buffet-like dinner that featured a wide variety of crackers and cheeses with veggie dip, heavy hors d’oeuvres, barbecue and buffalo wings, grilled pizza buffet, grilled chicken, meatballs, and Italian sausage with either Alfredo or marinara sauce.
“No wonder there’s a waiting list to play in this tournament,” said John Lovgren, who has his own photography studio in Warwick and took in Monday’s tournament. “This is really a first-class event.”
This year’s event had three two-man teams on the waiting list.
It’s also a great social event in high demand, one that features an 80-percent-plus rate of the golfers who return each year. And because of that figure, Phil Slocum explained, “We try to keep the same golfers on their respective teams; either the Americans or Europeans,” who are now tied at two wins each.
All of which should help the Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce card another ace when the fifth annual Ryder Cup rolls around.