It looked like the world was coming to an end yesterday at the Rhode Island Country Club in Barrington, where the sky and ocean turned a dozen different shades between blasts of sunshine and whirling dervish clouds whipping through like the Tasmanian Devil. Splintered rays turned the fairways leprechaun green until thunderstorms flooded them to the point where you needed an oar, not a pitching wedge. Lightning came from seemingly everywhere, flung like party favors from Norse Gods on a bender. Black clouds pounded the course with golf ball-sized hail. Then it was done, and the site of the CVS Caremark Charity Classic - known to all Rhode Islanders as "Brad and Billy's tourney" for its founders, childhood friends and PGA pros Brad Faxon and Billy Andrade - shimmered in streaks of blue, green and gold.
Left Coast golfer Paul Goydos, inexperienced with New England weather, looked shaken, saying, "We don't have that in California." (True. You only have earthquakes, mudslides and wildfires the size of Rhode Island.) But the weather was an afterthought for the decade-old event that has brought the likes of Arnold Palmer and Gary Player to the bandbox Donald Ross course in Barrington. The tournament has raised more than $10 million for children's charities in Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts.
Andrade, from Bristol, and Faxon, from Barrington, have been around the world, but they've never really left. They're with us, whether walking outside to pick up the morning ProJo, cheering for the Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots and Bruins, complaining about the road construction on I-95, or ending a long, hot day on the course with a cold 'Gansett. As global ambassadors for Little Rhody, they have no peer. (Apologies to James Woods, G.I. Joe, the Farrelly brothers and Mr. Potato Head.)