Although it may not actually be”The Hiller” that you would have expected
One of the more memorable moments each year during the gathering of Wuerffel Trophy recipients and guests is the presentation of the annual “Smith Cup.” The award, named after 2007 Wuerffel Trophy recipient Paul Smith of the University of Tulsa, is a time-honored tradition presented at the annual Welcome Dinner. The identity of the recipient is kept under tight wraps, as nobody is even remotely aware of who the recipient is until announced that evening by Danny Wuerffel.
Actually, nobody is even remotely aware of what it takes to capture the Smith Cup. Such is the case with Paul Smith. We don’t know when he will show up for a gathering, what he’s thinking or what will be the next one-liner that will come from him. But, because of his outstanding golf game combined with his quick wit, the idea of the trophy was birthed four years ago and has become a time-honored tradition.
This year’s recipient was Daniel Hiller, the five-year-old son of the 2009 Wuerffel Trophy recipient, Tim Hiller. Daniel joined Danny Wuerffel, James Gadsby, and his dad this year as a spectator during their round on Sandestin’s Baytowne course, but quickly made an impact. After getting in a few warm-up shots, the young Hiller confidently cleared the creek on his first attempt ever at hitting over a water hazard.
Later in the evening at the family Bonfire (no dinner this year due to CoVid restrictions) and after woofing down a couple of Smores, Daniel was surprised to learn that he had been named the trophy’s fourth recipient.
“Wow, this is really cool,” said the soft-spoken Daniel. “Can I put some hot chocolate in here and drink out of it like they do the Stanley Cup?”
Smith, the trophy’s namesake, was once again absent from the event. However, he offered congratulations to the multi-sport athlete (flag football quarterback and shooting guard for the Hawkeyes in Kalamazoo, Michigan), but as usual, was not short for words.
“Congratulations to Daniel on this fantastic achievement. While it is obvious that he has the athletic genes of Michelle (Daniel’s mom, a former basketball star at Western Michigan University), his ceiling as far as an athlete goes way surpasses that of his dad,” quipped Smith. “Him winning the Smith Cup has really got my juices going to compete again. I think it’s time that I return to Northwest Florida and claim the trophy that is rightfully mine. Jack Nicklaus founded the Memorial Tournament in 1976 and then won it in the next year in 1977. I have an award named after me and I’ve yet to even try to win it.”
Past Smith Cup Winners and Their Accomplishments
- 2018 – Marc Hill – University of Kentucky Assistant Athletic Director – During his round, hit a shot that was rumored to have hit a residence, and resident or both
- 2019 – Joel Penton – 2006 Wuerffel Trophy Recipient from Ohio State University – Was the captain of the team finishing in last place in the golf outing
- 2020 – Tom Brassell – Wuerffel Trophy Executive Director – Accomplishments unknown
- 2021 – Daniel Hiller – Son of 2009 Wuerffel Trophy Recipient Tim Hiller – Precision shotmaking during his first time on a golf course in Florida
Daniel promises a return to Northwest Florida to hopefully be the first ever to successfully defend and win the trophy in back-to-back years.