The novel idea of combining the excitement and skill of two great games – poker and golf – worked out well for a Michigan car salesman this week when he beat the pros to win the inaugural World Series of Golf.
 
Andrew Johnson won the $10 000 buy-in event against 80 entrants that included some formidable poker and golf playing celebrities such as second-placed Erick Lindgren, Phil Ivey, Gavin Smith, Ray Romano, John Daly, Phil PokerStarsGordon, Tom Schneider, Daniel Negreanu, Rhett Butler, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson and Dusty Allen.
 
Lindgren had some consolation in his second place finish, also winning a $340 000 side bet with several poker pros led by Gavin Smith that saw him play 72 holes in a day, in hot and dry conditions without a caddy…and with an under-100 score condition on every round.
 
The World Series of Golf concept combined the wagering style of Texas Hold'em with golfing skills and a high stakes betting game on each hole. Players were required to ante up on each tee and were then able to bet, raise, call, check or fold on each subsequent shot. Shooting the lowest score was less important than making the right bet and being able to claim the pot on each hole. And, as in a game of poker, players who ran out of chips were eliminated.
 
Early reports suggest that Ray Romano of "Everyone Loves Raymond" television fame was the top non-poker pro celebrity. Playing for charity the actor comedian went from the lowest chip count to the leader with an all-in bet on a tricky putt, but was eliminated on the 17th hole of Day 2.
 
The final round of the WSOG was played in a survivor five handed competition that included Andrew Johnson, Allen Cunningham, Erick Lindgren, Dee Tiller and Bill Spencer. Johnson successfully knocked out Cunningham, Lindgren and Tiller to truimph on the 163-yard, par three hole starting off the playoff round.
 
A delighted Johnson has already paid the buy-in for next year's event, saying the WSOG had been a "once-in-a-lifetime" experience.
 
The World Series of Golf will be aired on CBS in the United States on June 28.