One thing I did miss out on at AMOA was the Golden Tee World Championship that took place on Friday and Saturday there. It would have been fun to watch and participate – I know that personally I wouldn’t have made it very far against the professional players but sometimes it’s just fun to compete. I did get a chance to play the new Golden Tee and it was fun – it has nice graphics and is easy to learn. When all was said and done, Andy Haas of Stow Ohio was crowned as the GT champion where he also got to walk away with a $20,000 cash prize. They also set records with the scope of the competition, IT reports that over a million GT games were played during the world championship online qualifying period. There were a few teams who came together to compete, including one international team which was made up of people from several different countries but in the end Team USA won again. For the full rundown, check out the press release by IT after the jump or discuss it on the forums.
History Made at Golden Tee World Championship
as U.S. Squad Captures Cup and Ohioan Wins Crown
Largest Field Ever for Video Golf Tournament
(September 22, 2008 – Arlington Heights, IL) The Las Vegas Hilton – home to some of the most exciting entertainers and momentous sporting events ever held – never saw anything like this:
50 brand new Golden Tee machines
10,000 square-foot gaming paradise
$20,000 top prize
The 2008 Golden Tee World Championship held the weekend of September 12-13 was the largest live video golf tournament ever conducted, and when the smoke cleared Team USA retained the World Championship Cup, and Andy Haas of Stow Ohio was crowned the new world champion.
Team USA seals the deal!
This year’s Ryder Cup win by the U.S. was surprising – especially since Tiger wasn’t competing, but when it comes to the Golden Tee Worlds, Team USA has been the dominant force with the Americans holding a 3-1-1 edge entering the competition.
The World Team was comprised of players from around the globe: one Brit, three Aussies and two South Africans joined six Canadians. Last year’s tournament ended in a draw and hopes were high that the international squad would win the Cup outright.
But the 12 Americans had something else in mind and when the dust settled it was a bona fide blow out with the Yanks winning the Cup 32-16.
“All our guys played great and I think we overwhelmed them a bit in the alternating-hole first round match when we swept them,” said Graig Kinzler, captain of Team USA. “This team was by far one of our strongest ever. We played well.”
GTWC Recap – page two…
Bruce Colbourne of Amusement Machine Distributors in Sydney Australia made the long trip to Las Vegas to cheer Team Australia on.
“Our boys are getting better and better at this game and we know they can play with the Americans. It was a great tournament. We’re looking forward to next year already.”
Kevin Weir of Electrocoin in London also praised the event.
“Incredible Technologies did a smashing job again this year,” he said. “Our players in the U.K. love this tournament and look forward to it. Vegas is a huge draw.”
Gary Walters of Starburst Coin Machines in Toronto echoed those sentiments.
“This is the biggest and best video game tournament held every year. Las Vegas is a huge incentive for our players and they love mixing it up with the Americans,” he said.
Kimon Augoustatos of K & W Amusements in Port Elizabeth South Africa, though he was unable to attend the event in person, said that his players look to participating in the Golden Tee Worlds as the ultimate prize.
New to the tournament this year were Steve Reyes and Steve Ward of Seoul South Korea. The Steves are bringing Golden Tee to their golf-crazy country and expect to be back next year with their own team.
“Our players aren’t ready yet, but hopefully they will be next year,” Steve Reyes said. “This event is just overwhelming. It’s unbelievable.”
Pros and Joes
Friday was all about international pride and glory. Saturday was all about the money. Over $100,000 was on the line with the champ earning the largest single cash prize in video golf history – $20,000.
The Golden Tee Worlds is an open championship, and as usual the professional players dominated the leaderboards with Chris Litzinger of Cincinnati topping the field in the 5-course
GTWC Recap – page three…
qualifier. Litzinger, who finished 5-0 a day earlier as a Team USA member, smoked the field by an incredible 5 strokes in the qualifier.
“I was feeling it,” he said after Saturday’s preliminary rounds had concluded. “Everything I hit was burning the cup.”
Other pros who challenged Litzinger during the qualifier were Ryan McCook of Jacksonville Florida, Andy Haas of Stow Ohio and Chris Thorbrogger of Minneapolis. Defending champion Graig Kinzler of Chicago was also lurking.
The final four consisted of Litzinger, Thorbrogger and Haas along with Ramsey Thomas of Minneapolis. Thomas, though an accomplished player, had never made it this far in a major tournament before and found himself in a tough foursome.
“I don’t know how I got here playing with these guys,” he exclaimed loudly. “But I’m just free-swinging tonight and who knows what could happen!”
In the first round, Haas shattered Thomas’ Cinderella dreams and Thorbrogger derailed the Litzinger express. In the final, the veteran Haas dispatched the up-and-comer Thorbrogger in two straight games in the best-of-three format.
“I can’t believe that I’ve finally won this championship,” Haas said. “This is my fifth attempt and I started thinking I’d never win it. It’s a great feeling!”
Haas donned the Golden Tee Society leather bomber jacket, the Golden Tee version of the Masters’ green jacket, and was handed his trophy and big check for $20,000.
“This is just incredible. I knew this day would come sometime, but I still can’t believe it!”
Impact on the Industry
After the smoke cleared, Scott Morrison VP of marketing at Incredible Technologies, took a hard look at the numbers.
“Over one million games were played during the world championship online qualifying period,”
GTWC Recap – page four…
he said. “We know how important this additional play is and it’s a huge shot-in-the-arm for our operators and locations. This is Golden Tee’s 20th year and we want our operators to benefit from all of the publicity and promotion that’s associated with this incredible milestone.”
Morrison went on to say that the Las Vegas Hilton was the logical location for the tournament.
“We wanted to make it easy for the industry to see first-hand the power of Golden Tee,” he said. “With the AMOA Expo going on right next door everyone had a chance to pop in and see the action. We surprised a lot of operators with how vibrant and alive the Golden Tee franchise is.”
Operators can order the 2009 Golden Tee LIVE update now. For sales information call your distributor or the IT sales hotline at 847.870.7027 x 106.
For more information on the Golden Tee World Championship visit the official tournament website at www.goldentee.com.