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Coveted Roll Call Cup Up for Grabs Monday as Members Square Off in Charity Golf Tournament

Reps. Mike Oxley (R-Ohio) and Chris John (D-La.) plan to spend most of the weekend furiously preparing for a major clash of Congressional titans scheduled for Monday.

But they’re not gearing up for a big hearing or a House floor confrontation over an appropriations bill. The respective captains of the Republican and Democratic golf teams are pulling out all of the stops to get ready for Roll Call’s Second Annual First Tee Congressional Challenge.

The coveted Roll Call cup will be on the line as 10 Democrats square off with 10 Republicans in Monday’s Ryder Cup-style grudge match, which benefits the First Tee charity.

“All of our guys are ginned up,” said John, whose squad barely lost last year and is thus ready for a bit of trash-talking.

“The sour taste of losing by one point hung around for a long time. We may not be as talented as our Republican colleagues, but we are more competitive than them.”

Oxley, the GOP captain, said he’s not going to take the bait as he tried to downplay expectations for his squad.

“We’re just struggling to win [by one point] again,” he said, declining to make any bold prediction. “I don’t want any of those things they can hang on the locker room wall.”

Pride will also be on the line, so both teams are trying to one-up each other in the final preparations. John is playing Sunday at Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Md. — site of the tournament — to get a feel for the course with Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.) and lobbyist Fred Graefe.

But Oxley is going a wee bit further. He’s flying back home to Ohio this weekend to play the swank Muirfield Village Golf Club, home course of the legendary Jack Nicklaus and site of the PGA’s annual Memorial Tournament.

“Not bad,” Oxley said proudly. “Just a quick tuneup.”

And the gamesmanship will continue on Sunday night, when the players on both sides gather for a bipartisan dinner and then head their separate ways. Last year, Oxley outfoxed John a little bit by having the GOP bunk together the night before the match to build some camaraderie.

John failed to think of that last time, so he’s stolen a page from Oxley for this year’s match. “We’re going to be staying at an undisclosed location the night before,” John said.

“They’re going to sit around a campfire and sing ‘Kumbaya,’” Oxley fired back with a laugh.

The tournament will feature two-on-two matchups in the morning followed by one-on-one competition in the afternoon. Last year’s event went down to the wire right, when Rep. Jim McCrery (La.) sunk a long putt on the 18th green to seal the GOP’s victory in dramatic fashion.

Here are the foursomes for Monday morning: Oxley and Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) will square off with Democratic Reps. Xavier Becerra (Calif.) and James Clyburn (S.C.); GOP Reps. Steve Buyer (Ind.) and McCrery will do battle with Democratic Reps. Mark Udall (Colo.) and Bart Stupak (Mich.); and GOP Reps. John Boehner (Ohio) and Ander Crenshaw (Fla.) will take on John and Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Texas).

GOP Reps. Mike Ferguson (N.J.) and Mike Simpson (Idaho) will challenge Tanner and Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), while GOP Reps. Chris Chocola (Ind.) and Jim Ryun (Kan.) will face off against Democratic Reps. Joe Baca (Calif.) and Stephen Lynch (Mass.).

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